Spaces and Places
An Inclusive Interdisciplinary Conference
Saturday 13th April 2019 – Sunday 14th April 2019
ABSTRACT AND PAPERS
Power, Cosmopolitanism and Socio-Spatial Division in the Commercial Area in Victorian and Edwardian London
Elisabete Mendes Silva
Polytechnic Institute of Bragança-Portugal
cultural identity, social inclusion, cosmopolitanism, power, gender, commercial arena, metropolis, commodities.
The developments of the English Revolution and of the British Empire expedited commerce and transformed the social and cultural status quo of Britain and the world. More specifically in London, the metropolis of the country, in the eighteenth century, there were already a sheer number of retail shops that would set forth an urban world of commerce and consumerism. Magnificent and wide-ranging shops served householders with commodities that mesmerized consumers, giving way to new traditions within the commercial and social fabric of London. Therefore, going shopping during the Victorian Age became mandatory in the middle and upper classes’ social agendas. Harrod’s Department store opens in 1864, adding new elements to retailing by providing a sole space with a myriad of different commodities. In 1909, Gordon Selfridge opens Selfridge’s, transforming the concept of urban commerce by imposing a more cosmopolitan outlook in the commercial arena.
Within this context, I intend to focus primarily on two of the largest department stores, Harrod’s and Selfridge’s, drawing attention to the way these two spaces were perceived when they first opened to the public and the effect they had in the city of London and in its people. I shall discuss how these department stores rendered space for social inclusion and exclusion, gender and race under the spell of the Victorian ethos, national conservatism and imperialism. I shall also argue that they brought about new social, cultural and work space opportunities, transforming social and cultural dynamics and power, being nowadays considered undeniable heritage icons, as they became popular tourist attractions, of the Londoner culture and of the commercial sphere. Lastly, my research will concurrently provide insight into the social history of the Victorian age and the early decades of the twentieth century.
Place before Form: Shifting Paradigms in Contemporary Architecture
Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture
Architecture, Globalization, Localization, Place, Identity, Homogenization, Diversity
Architecture does not float in a vacuum devoid of human life. It exists within a physical reality that we inhabit and engage with. It is what helps us define place. It helps us understand who we are and where we are. It contributes to our identity and sense of belonging, both individually and collectively, consciously and sub-consciously. The relationship between architecture and place, however, is not merely one-sided. Because architecture has the ability to define place, it is imperative for place to influence architecture as well. If not, architecture can have negative consequences on the built-environment, and the life it entails.
Today in the twenty-first century, one cannot help but notice the homogenization of architecture around the world. When we look around us, we cannot help but notice the repetition of similar buildings, irrespective of which part of the world they stand in. Architecture is defining place, but place has failed to influence architecture. Perhaps, this can be best attributed to the universal ideals of early-twentieth century architects and the birth of globalization as a new world order in mid-twentieth century. Various contemporary architects and theorists have voiced concerns over these developments. French architect Jean Nouvel (b.1945) believes that the repetition of similar buildings around the world has made the world smaller than it actually is. Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas (b.1944) believes that this repetition has created anxiety about identity and sense of place.4 Chinese architect Li Xiaodong (b.1963) is emphasizing the need for respecting the realities of place in the way we think about architecture.
This paper focuses on the relationship between architecture and place in contemporary times. It traces the impact of modernist ideals and globalization on architecture. It questions the homogenization of the global built-environment and emphasizes the need for keeping place before form in quest of embracing local diversity, and maintaining a sense of place and identity, while still acknowledging global connections.
Kuwait Parliment Building: The Holly Assembly
Architecture, Democracy, Kuwait, Middle East, Assembly, Tent, Jørn Utzon, Symbolism, Nationalism, Postcolonialism
The uniqueness of Kuwait’s democracy in the region is primarily due to the establishment of its parliament and constitution, which makes a constitutional monarchy. The development of Kuwait’s democracy relied heavily on the construction of its monumental national assembly building, designed to represent symbols of democracy as understood in Western discourse rather than a universal concept. The building façade include columniation inspired by the Greek Pantheon mixed with facile images inspired by local vernacular elements that allows the building to produce a legitimate image of a Kuwaiti national sovereignty.
The paper discusses the historical development of the Kuwait National Assembly (KNA) building with a focus on its architectural competition and various designs submitted by the invited architects. I will also provide a formal analysis of Jørn Utzon’s winning design, and critically examine its role in the development of democracy and independence that depended on a complex network of consultants who impose a specific definition of modernity which benefits a select group politically or financially.
Utzon’s plan for the national assembly building concept of utilizes his “Additive Architecture,” which allows the building to expand organically to satisfy future needs. But more than this, the plan of the KNA building was intentionally designed to ensure the continuity of democracy in Kuwait in its current form. The Initial design Kuwait’s national assembly complex included a mosque that would have been part of the assembly complex. A prayer hall inside the KNA building later replaced the mosque building, and at the same time a decision to build a state mosque in a different location within the old city of Kuwait was confirmed. The paper also demonstrates another analysis related to politics and religions; the tent-inspired building actually follows the proportions of religious structures as mentioned in ancient texts. The architecture of Kuwait National Assembly ensures the continuity of ancient systems that proved, for better or for worse, to be powerful.
Ancestry Lost, Nationality Found: Paradoxes of Migration between Europe and Latin America
Melissa Martins Casagrande
Universidade Positivo (Curitiba, Brazil)
Migration, nationality, human mobility, citizenship
Hardship in Europe in the 1800s combined with legislation in the New World aimed at attracting a particular group of workers culminated with a massive flow of migrants, from, for example, Northern Italy to Southern Brazil.
Since the Schengen Agreement, the search for official recognition of European citizenship by second, third, fourth and fifth generation relatives of the settlers who arrived in Latin America in the late 1800s and early 1900s has increased exponentially. The opening of such a regular route of migration to Europe motivate many descendants from European settlers to have their dual citizenship officially acknowledged through the jus sanguinis criteria.
High numbers of Latin Americans have migrated to Europe since the 1980s, many of whom as European citizens due to their historical relationship with the territory of origin of their relatives who migrated to Latin America a century earlier. Considering that recognition of nationality through the jus sanguinis criteria is simply ancestry, there is usually no requirement of language fluency, period of residency or knowledge about the country and its culture as is usually the case for naturalization procedures.
This paper proposes the case study of recognition of Italian nationality to persons born in Brazil through the jus sanguinis criteria in order to analyze and address the following paradox: a person born in Brazil to Italian great-grandparents may have the right to Italian citizenship recognized without ever being to Italy or speaking Italian but may, nevertheless, live and work in Europe as an European citizen. A person born in Italy to migrant parents who are citizens of another country, who lives in Italy and may even only speak Italian, may not be an Italian citizen according to current legislation, which does foresee the jus soli criteria to be applied in such cases.
Living In and Out of the “Ghetto”: Between Confinement and Mobility
Lise Paulsen Galal
Roskilde University, Denmark
Louise Lund Liebmann
Roskilde University, Denmark
ghetto, mobility, migration, racialization, place-making, life-space
In Denmark, so-called “ghettos” designate physical spaces where intrusive political interventions occur with reference to the problematized ethnic and social composition of “ghetto” residents. As politicized, racialized and securitized places, “ghettos” are presented as something, if not dangerous, at least beyond Danish space and thus in need of repair. For the ethnographer, “ghettos” may protrude as an obvious field of research yet the field inhabits risks of reiterating the politicized spatial confinement. In this paper, we understand space as relational constituted, with a potential for multiplicity, and “always in the process of being made” (Massey 2005). Hence, we ask how “ghettos” come into being as life-spaces? Rather than looking at what the political discourse holds to be distinct ghetto norms, values and practices that differ from, and sometimes are in opposition to, spaces outside “ghettos”, we explore mobility as movements in, out of, and across ghettos. Whereas the political discourse characterizes “ghettos” as places confining and restricting their residents physically and socially, we ask how “ghettos” become places of living, working and moving about (cf. Creswell 2004). This may occur when people, sometimes reluctantly, move into a new flat; when people commute to work either to or from the “ghetto”; when young people study outside the “ghetto”; when paying visits or running errands; etc. We argue that to understand “ghettos” as life-spaces, we need to explore the particular relationships between mobility and place as residents of and visitors in the “ghetto” experience them.
The paper is based on participant observation and qualitative interviews with residents of two residential areas defined as “ghettos” by the Danish State (Ghettolisten 2017), Vollsmose and Ringparken, and it focuses on the residents’ perceptions and use of their neighbourhood as a space of life.
How Public Participation Leads to Placemaking of Space and Resilience of Place
Nakul Nitin Gote
Technische Universität Dresden
causal loop diagram, flood resilience, governance, placemaking, public participation, social-ecological system, systems approach, systems thinking
Rapid urbanization coupled with the lack of space and resources has led to chaotic growth in many cities the world over. This, in conjugation with climate change has led to increased uncertainty and lower thresholds of urban areas to shocks and thus, greater vulnerability. To reduce vulnerability, of social-ecological systems like urban areas, not just the government but also the public needs to be engaged in their management. In this context, the resilience concept is increasingly being applied, through which public participation is seen as an attribute which increases the resilience of social-ecological systems to shocks.
How public participation leads to resilience and which kind of public participation is conducive when, are some open questions which this paper addresses. To this end, relevant literature on resilience and governance has been studied followed by an instructive study of the events surrounding the flooding of the Ramnadi stream corridor in Pune city. Categorization and meaning interpretation of relevant data has enabled an analysis of the governance structure for the Ramnadi corridor using a causal loop diagram. The nodes, linkages and feedback loops in this diagram have been studied to understand how public participation affects resilience characteristics.
It has emerged that the placemaking of a space that happens when the public participates is what makes public participation a resilience increasing attribute. Public memory, a minimum sustained level of participation throughout the year and presence of institutions which can deploy the required level and type of participation have emerged as the qualities of public participation which lead to placemaking. Based on the presence or absence of these qualities, a new typology, which is a better indicator of whether an instantiation of public participation will lead to placemaking (and hence resilience) has been proposed; namely the binary of continuous public participation versus event based participation.
Exploring Identity, Insideness and Interior Environments
Aileen Strickland McGee
Interior environments, identity, insideness, belonging, phenomenology, interactive engagement, human scale
A majority of our lives are spent indoors. Everyday, we sit, stand, touch, see, and manipulate our interior environments. Yet how often do we consider the ways in which these quotidian spaces interact with our identities?
Questions of identity and physical space + place have been explored within macro scales of nations, states, and cities yet underexamined in the micro, human-scaled interior environments of our everyday lives.
How do our experiences in interior spaces to construct who we want to be or express who we are? How do we process and negotiate elements within interior environments to be congruent or incongruent with ourselves?
The phenomenological-based concept of insideness (Relph, 1976) upholds the essence of place is not in the physical setting but in the experience of being ‘inside’ (identifying with) or ‘outside’. Missing from the theory is the process by which insideness is established, or not, between one’s identities and the physical setting. Adding complexity and new dimensions to how we might establish insideness, are current conceptions of identity’s plural, dynamic and relational nature.
By applying these concepts to interior environments and seeking to understand how this is negotiated with physical interior spaces, my past work has explored how the establishment of insideness is mediated by mediums of various scales within the environment. Interior environments cannot be simply considered a monolithic scale; rather they are a series of connected scales, each of which communicate to various parts of our identities and are imbued with their own meaning by the person experiencing them.
Building from explorations around interior environments, and the processes by which we establish insidedness with our interior spaces, this session will provoke discussion and exploration around the ways in which our interior environments, and the scales within, intersect with our identities by using creative, interactive exercises and prompts.
Framed by Textiles
University for the Creative Arts, United Kingdom
Textiles, spaces, border, boundary, architecture, environment
In this paper I will discuss how the use of textile structures in an architectural context influences our perception of space, our interpretation of boundaries and, ultimately, our memory of things experienced.
What is the place of textiles? On the body? As cultural signifier? As radical intervention in the built environment? The very fluidity of textiles works against a distinct critical or physical location or place, their ambiguity more closely allied to the definition of space which: ‘exists when one takes into consideration vectors of direction, velocities, and time variables … It is in a sense actuated by the ensemble of movements deployed within it.
The relationship between architecture and bodies is more than one of function and use. The textiles with which we cover out body are described as a second skin, while contemporary buildings are described as having a ‘skin’. As the buildings house and protect our bodies, so our bodies house and protect our organs, skeleton and even, if you believe, our soul, and of course the eyes are the window to the soul.
I will discuss how textile structures provide both High and Low Definition ways of directing our looking, providing permeable borders and spaces of sensation. As the narrative flows between the spaces and the structure, we are offered ways in which we may transform space from an absolute framework of activity into more adaptable, relative and relational aspects of social life.
The End of the City, or is it the Entrance? Short-circuiting the Garbage Machine with Embedded Aesthetics
Athabasca University, Canada
Athabasca University, Canada
The production of neoliberal wealth is an assemblage which produces, among other things, encounters with materials categorized as waste. The global production of garbage exceeds 2 billion tonnes annually, a potential environmental crisis that for many in western neoliberal economies remains largely invisible as bags of waste vanish from our curbs. The disconnect between day-to-day order and the trash crisis locates waste management within the aesthetic realm of what Michael Taussig calls ‘public secrets’, knowledge that cannot be explicitly articulated but which is nonetheless widely evident and on which the contradictions of power depend. However, concepts of what constitutes garbage, danger, filth and contamination evolve over time and successive economic regimes. In response to the so-called toxic sublime of the anthropocene, visual artists have resituated what we consider garbage in ways that transform abject detritus into new discursive possibilities, introducing aesthetic frameworks using tools of irrationality and playfulness.
In this paper we argue that the Deleuzian assemblage of erasing the reality of garbage can be short-circuited in a municipal setting by the ontological redistributions of aesthetic experience through an embedded artist in residence at the Edmonton Waste Management Centre (EWMC) in Alberta, Canada. The City has built a reputation as is an internationally recognized leader in waste management, recycling and composting, with an integrated system advancing environmentally and economically progressive management. We examine the embedded residence of artist Leanne Olsen at EWMC, during which she was exposed to the human and mechanical assemblages of waste disposal, allowing her to transform banished detritus into an aesthetic spectacle drawing attention to taboo knowledges of waste and its exclusion. Unique to the embedded residency is the location of artistic practice and limited temporal conditions within the assemblages of host institutions over time, forcing unique encounters and opportunities for new assemblages. The artist in residence challenges the striated spaces of municipal waste procedures producing lines of flight that can reimagine the social machines of community, consumption, citizenship and prosperity.
Wilding a Garden and Other Subversive Activities
Athabasca University, Canada
Garden, gardening, wild, wildlife, community, activism
The garden has long been an important space and place for exploration, creativity, and the creation of relationships with the non-human or natural world. In this photo essay, I explore the garden as a wild space and wild place, and gardening as an activity that can promote wilding. In particular, I explore my ongoing pursuits to create a more wild space in an urban setting, one that attracts birds, bugs, wildlife, and people to my little half acre of Alberta parkland. I also explore how gardening underpins my perhaps more subversive goals to influence my community to wild local spaces through involvement with a flower club and community activism.
The Manipulation of Space as a Means of Establishing Power in Girl Interrupted
Susanna Kaysen, in her 1993 memoir Girl, Interrupted, show how both physical and mental space are manipulated in McLean Hospital. Examining such moments — considering how the text itself is physically organized, the various ways in which the patients are secluded, and how the hospital contains within itself a system of tunnels that mimic the body, the psyche, and the external world — allows us to see how Kaysen exposes a story of the complex power dynamic between the staff and patients in McLean Hospital.
Reading Kaysen in light of Michel Foucault’s ideas of space and power — how space is manipulated in order to ultimately dominate a group of institutionalized individuals — allows for a more nuanced interpretation of the memoir. The role of surveillance is one of many ways in which Foucault argues that power is everywhere. For both Kaysen and Foucault, the role of self-discipline is key in terms of behavior. For example, Kaysen makes use of an aspect of Foucault’s panopticon in her introduction of the “doctor on call.” His way of disciplining the patients is based on the threat of his physical presence. Kaysen tells the readers that the doctor on call is never actually summoned, proving that he is not required to punish or discipline the patients in order to get them to behave appropriately. His title of authority holds power within mental space, Foucault’s heterotopia, instead of physical space and is intended to control the patients’ erratic behaviors. In my paper, importance is placed upon Kaysen’s awareness regarding her surroundings, and her understanding of the way in which each space is manipulated in order to dominate the institutionalized individuals.
Violent Spaces in the Fiction of Thomas Hardy
Olivia Katherine Krauze
University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Hardy, space, violence, domestic, natural, safe, dangerous
Thomas Hardy, careful plotter of the fictional region of ‘Wessex’, is a novelist acutely aware of the role of space in his works. This 15-20 minute paper will examine the numerous ‘violent spaces’ created by Hardy throughout his fiction. It will focus in particular on the ways in which different spaces, at first demarcated as safe, become invaded by shocking acts of violence. For example, Tess is raped in a natural space, in other instances an idealised place of retreat, but cold and unfeeling at this crucial moment. Meanwhile, it is the domestic family space which is disturbed by the murders and suicide committed by Little Father Time in Jude the Obscure. How does this perversion of space by violence contribute to Hardy’s literary aims? How does he use violent acts to map the symbiotic relationship between indoor and outdoor spaces? And are we left with any safe spaces at all?
I want to suggest that Hardy’s situation of acts of violence in a range of spaces, natural and domestic alike, is purposefully disorientating. It allows him to interrogate clearly defined social ideas of ‘moral’ indoor spaces and ‘wild’ outdoor landscapes. There is, in fact, no such thing as a safe space in Hardy – spaces are ambiguous, changing and shaped by the ‘ordinary human passions, prejudices, and ambitions’ (Hardy, Life and Work, 1878) of their inhabitants. The effect of violent spaces in Hardy, therefore, provides a challenge both to the conventional settings of nineteenth-century fictional writing and any presumed knowledge of these settings. It might be tempting to see this as a rather pessimistic spatial theory, yet, as I will argue in the course of this paper, by dispelling the illusory link between space and safety, Hardy promotes a more sensitive awareness of every-day environments and our interactions with/within them.
“Set me Free”: Spaces and the Politics of Creativity in Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed
Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
Space, discourse, creativity, agentivity, novelistic discourse
This paper explores the politics of space and creative expression through the prism of novelistic discourse, focusing in particular on Margaret Atwood’s novel Hag-Seed (2016), which is a 21st century adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest (1610-1611). Hag-Seed is set in a Canadian prison and narrates the revenge orchestrated by the protagonist Felix, an erstwhile producer and director in the Makeshiweg Theatre Festival, who falls victim to power politics and is forced into exile by his rivals Tony and Sal. Felix becomes an instructor in a prison-reform program called the Fletcher’s Correctional Program where he teaches Shakespeare to the inmates, and plots his revenge on Tony and Sal. As part of the program, Felix asks the inmates to predict the future of the characters in The Tempest, thereby mobilizing agentivity as the prisoners bring their individual perspectives, as social outcasts, to bear on their interpretations. This paper locates its analysis within these creative interpretations provided by the prisoners, and Felix’s interpretation of bondage and freedom within creative spaces, based on the words “Set me free”, uttered by Shakespeare’s Prospero in The Tempest.
The trope of prison pervades the novel, shaping discourses on space and creativity. Can freedom exist as a discourse without the accompanying discourse of bondage? Can creativity enable autonomy or does it generate its own spaces of constraints? By extending the study of the creative discourses generated by the prisoners and Felix to novelistic discourse, I consider the politics of creativity as it is moderated within and through the discourse of (sub/cultural) space. Some questions I consider are: Does creativity offer a site to contest dominant discourses, or does it create alternative hierarchies of knowledge? How do creative acts within sub/cultural spaces mediate agentivity?
A Fortress of Privilege: Toxic White Masculinity in Allison Bechdel’s Fun Home
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
race, place, gender, power, comic, LGBT, architecture, design.
This presentation focuses on Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, a graphic novel that seems to prime readers to focus largely on sexuality, and, more particularly, characters’ embodied situations and efforts to exist within the hostile, heteronormative world of the novel. However, my paper turns its attention to the novel’s more covert exploration of race and place, in particular, the physical and metaphorical structures of white male hegemony. I offer a two-fold argument; my first assertion is that Bruce Bechdel manipulates his surroundings, namely his 1867 Gothic Revival mansion, its furnishings, and his collection of books and artifacts, to curate and highlight his whiteness and masculine virility. Bruce’s continuous arrangement of these elements signify a stately, European tradition and ultimately work to fortify the privilege that still remains – albeit tenuously – in his grasp. The manual labor required to rehabilitate the house compounds this, enabling Bruce to visibly perform able-bodied male virility and to conjure a sort of self-reliant subjecthood that grants him membership to a larger, Western liberal tradition. This leads to the second section of my argument, which highlights Alison Bechdel’s ultimate indictment of the white masculinity that seems to empower Bruce. While Bruce’s vampiric relationship with the materiality of the story world seems to amplify his privilege, it simultaneously isolates, weakens, and degrades him. Bechdel’s complex portrait of white masculinity refuses to simplify its effects on Bruce. Bruce capitalizes on his status as a white, educated, able-bodied male, but he is destroyed by the very systems he upholds. Ultimately, the figure of Bruce highlights the role of space in calcifying privilege and reveals that Bruce’s brand of white masculinity is toxic, even to those who supposedly benefit from it.
Reshaping Spaces of Home and Nation: Reading Postcolonial Literary Adaptations as Social Justice Pedagogy
Federation University Australia
Space, Home, Dwelling, Adaptation, Postcolonial, Indigenous, Belonging, Unsettlement, Australian, Pedagogy
Based on my ongoing research into the ways in which contemporary Australian writers use spatialized conceptions of home to frame their discussions of national issues—particularly those pertaining to dynamics of cross-cultural exchange—this paper analyses the reconfiguration of sites of “home” in Indigenous adaptations of Australian national narratives, and examines whether these revisions have a pedagogical impact upon readers.
In postcolonial literatures, spaces of home tend to be politicised and deployed, symbolically, to disrupt discourses of power. In literary adaptations such as Leah Purcell’s award-winning play, The Drover’s Wife (2016), for example, the Australian bush—a place/space that has, since British invasion in the eighteenth century, exemplified contested belonging—is distinctly unsettled; presented as a violent contact zone where modes of settler dwelling, and national symbols of home, are subverted. Ken Gelder and Jane M Jacobs, in their book Uncanny Australia: Sacredness and Identity in a Postcolonial Nation, suggest that texts which pursue modes of “unsettlement” can activate new “discourses” and, thereby, inspire social change. Hence, while this paper is interested in analysing the tenets, tropes and symbols of western dwelling that are unsettled by Indigenous writers in their adaptations of seminal Australian texts, it is also keen to gauge the real-world impact of this process; the affect these re-visions may have upon reader conceptions of home and nation.
Purcell frames her play with an epigraph from the revered Australian writer whose work she is re-visioning, Henry Lawson, which states: “It is quite time that our children were taught a little more about their country for shame’s sake.” By taking this epigraph as a call to action, this paper will, through the analysis of a range of undergraduate student responses to works of Indigenous adaptation, endeavour to demonstrate the power imaginative reconfigurations of home have upon the national psyche.
Pastoral Spaces in Contemporary Cityscapes: a Geocritical Analysis
University of Bergamo, Italy
pastoral, geocriticism, ecocriticism, postmodern cities, re-presentation, transmediality, cityscape, landscape, placeless, space.
The longstanding tradition of pastoral poetry in Western literature has created a significant amount of materials, which have turned the genre into one of the most influential writing practices linked to natural space representation.
The popularity of the pastoral landscape throughout history and its dissemination among several medias and cultural fields corroborate the relevance of the genre in the understanding of spatial knowledge and experience, especially in relation to the interaction between human and environment. Despite a growing body of literary-based ecocritical research, scholarship has largely neglected the relationship between the heritage of pastoral art and contemporary architecture.
Among the most relevant space-oriented perspectives, Geocriticism appears as a revealing methodology to explore the reciprocal influence of fictional and real spaces as well as the connection of the referent and its re-presentation(s) in postmodern cities, establishing that any literary works is part of the real and participate in formulating it.
Through my paper I intend to analyse the influence of the pastoral genre in contemporary cityscapes. Appearing as 2.0 versions of Marie Antoinette’s Hameau de la Reine, several current urban spaces reveal strong dependence on the heritage of pastoral visual identity: tree-houses, animal parks, vertical and urban gardens are just few of the pivotal examples proving that “we live in a plastic reality where ‘reality’ is just a small portion of it”. (Westphal, 2011)
With my research I aim to introduce an original interpretive procedure deconstructing the dominant critical labels affecting the pastoral genre (like “nostalgic” and “idyllic”), the burden of a dualistic perspective that clashes with a more multifocal and “placeless” identity of contemporary geography. In doing so I wish to re-territorialize the pastoral aesthetic and its cultural implications suggesting connections to space-making practices of postmodern cities, a missing link in the study of urban spaces and their interactions with literature and fictional representations.
The Cinematic Spaces of the Horizontal Metropolis
AMRP, Centre for Mobility and Spatial Planning, UGent
Film, urbanization, Flanders, visualization, perception, space, city, image, suburbia, culture
The condition of the ‘Flemish urban landscape’ has been a difficult subject to tackle for urban planners as well as policy makers for more than half a century. Uncontrolled urbanization resulted in a highly fragmented settlement structure that covers almost the entire territory, also indicated as a ‘horizontal metropolis’. The current demographic, economic and ecological consequences such as structural traffic jams, noise nuisance, chronic flooding, …. seem to have little effect on the everyday conception of these spaces. The daily practice of consuming space in Flanders continues unimpededly, still four hectares of open space disappear every day through further urbanization. Regardless the unplanned and perhaps chaotic outcome, the moods and behavior concerning space and urbanization seem to be shaped by rather individual desires and practices.
Apparently there is a (growing) distance between the urban discourse and the everyday life and practice in how the city and the space are perceived. It is important to investigate these differences, since perceptions have an influence on the evolutions of spaces. These perceptions determine not only the ideas about the city and the space, the way in which these areas are depicted also affects those who live and work in it.
This research assumes that the cinematic space reflects the intrinsic characteristics, the experience value and the typical dynamics of this urbanized space. But the visualizations in films also influence the way in which we understand what spaces and places mean and how we deal with it. Therefore the analysis of the cinematic representations of the horizontal metropolis will be deployed to explore how space and place in film shape our political, social and cultural definition of space. In particular the case of ‘Suburbia’, essential to urbanization, will be explored to discover how visualizations reflect and relate to the discourse of urban professionals.
Architectural Case of Tahrir Square, Cairo during 2011: From Vague Space into Livable Interactive Place
Khaled Nabil Ahmed
King Abdul Aziz University
Architectural space, Tahrir Square, Cairo, Place formation, Personal experience.
Tahrir Square is one of the main public spaces in Cairo, which goes back to mid19th century.
It was called “Ismailia Square”, after Khedive Ismail, ruler of Egypt from 1863 to 1879, who established modern “Khedevi” Cairo new downtown. After the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, against British occupation, the square became widely known as Tahrir (Liberation in Arabic) Square, which was the focal point for the Egyptian Revolution of January 2011.
The square is not geometrically defined, since it has several tangible and interconnected squares; Abdel Monem Riad at the north which is connected with southern Tahrir main circle by “Meret Pasha” wide street. The whole space has 11 entrance streets, with an area of about 5 hectares. Its southern center is a large traffic circle, which leads to historic Qasr al-Nil Bridge crossing the Nile River. The southern boundary is “Al Mogamma” government building, memorial mosque, the Headquarters of the Arab League building, another 2 5star hotels and the original downtown campus of the American University in Cairo along with residential Khidevi style buildings at the east. The northern edge is the Egyptian Museum while western side is large 5star hotel and the headquarter of Mubarak ruling party NDP, (set on fire during the revolution and demolished later).
Mubarak regime has ruled Egypt for 30 years characterized by human rights abuse, decline of socio/economic life, economic and political corruption, which led to January 2011 revolution. People have gathered in hundreds of thousands in the square and main leading streets, although they were intimated and attacked by both security forces and hired thugs, whom failed to evacuate Tahrir, until Mubarak left power to army (!).
Although most people had negative previous feeling about Tahrir Square as overcrowded transportation node, intangible space boundaries and un-proportional wide-height dimensions, but revolution demonstrations for weeks and all of 2011, had turned the vague dislikable space into livable interactive Place. The author among protestors who have inhabited the square, have felt more secured, dignified with a life time experience, where many said that this was his best days ever. Although the author is convinced with De Botton’s, that very large squares give feeling of “tiny” and lost intimacy, but his personal experience contradicts that urban theory.
This paper tries to discover how and why “Tahrir” square changed behavior of most occupants during 2011, from typical careless individuals, littering public space, into “friendly, group cleaning, removing trash, relaying pavement and painting curbstone after
their revolution,” as CNN reported. The author have observed dramatic change towards high morals and living values of ordinary Egyptian, who were subject and affected by long dictatorship that corrupted local society.
The paper starts by literature review of space and place definitions, traditional constrains, their relations, and historical background of Tahrir square. It analyses the square from the architectural and urban point of view -physically and morally-, trying to find out mechanisms, motives and unseen forces that could transform a vague space into livable interactive place. Understanding such process would enhance our knowledge of urban complexity which has multi-layer entity; architectural/urban, cultural, socio/economic, and political.
Research is categorized under: Politics of space and place, Activism and protest linked to particular uses of space, Accessibility, and guides for future urban design for humanized places.
Military and Civil Spatial Entities: The Production of Space in Israel
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
military entities, production of space, place making, Henry Lefebvre, relations in space
This research deals with an emerging field in the study of space focusing on the relations between military spatial entities and civil communities. The core effort of the ‘relations in space’ approach, anchored in the relational geography paradigm, is to bypass the familiar city framework by examining the impact of sub-city geographical entities such as university campuses, medical centers, industrial parks, malls etc. In our research we employ the Lefebvre’s concept of “production of space” and its trialectical dimension, by focusing on military bases, that are often characterized by dominant spatial attendance and semi-autonomous management. The global massive presence of military spatial entities is striking. Therefore, this research focuses on relations in space derived from military bases and their interactions with surrounding civil communities. These relationships are producing complicated spaces, where military bases are acting as major players. Until now, the role of military entities has not been studied intensely although their importance is magnified by national developments in areas that include geopolitics, social relations, national budget and urban transformations. While those areas have been frequently studied, the aspect of relations in space between military and civil entities, and particularly their role in the productions of space, have been neglected. The research focuses on Israel, and deals with three major army bases, displaying a variety of spatial conditions – urban/rural regions, peripheric/core locations and headquarters/field military units. The main findings reveal the impact of the highly esteemed status of the military within Israeli society, the willingness of certain civil communities to accept certain military entities, and the significant role of the military in the production of space in Israel as well as its place making processes.
Imprisonment of Public Space
Istanbul Okan University
Spatial Intervention, Power, Public Space, Place, Daily Life, Istanbul, Ankara
Public space is a multi-layered phenomenon that inholds accessibility in all means, citizenship, publicity and represents/builds democracy. Grounding on Henri Lefebvre’s definition of space as both a product and a precondition of the social processes by stating that “space is both the reason and result, both the product and producer”1; public space comes to the fore as a multi-layered spatial scene. This scene enables us to examine various manifestations of intervention, negotiation, freedom, struggle or oppression through daily life routines, mass demonstrations or preclusions. The inherent specialty of public space also represents the struggle for/on space clearly.
Taking the rooted meaning and function of public space, this study focuses on the imprisonment of space itself as a representation/manifestation of power. This imprisonment makes visible the tangible and intangible preclusions in different levels by building temporary or permanent barriers, blocking accessibility, visibility and the rhythm of the daily life or ambiguating collective memory. The study aims to exemplify the imprisonment of public space through three current practices from Ankara and Istanbul, two important metropolises in Turkey. Case from Ankara presents a significant manifestation of power with an imprisoned statue and a temporary turned to permanent police station behind the statue. One case from Istanbul presents tangible and intangible manifestations of power with temporary police barriers at the center of a well-known square in order to stop long-standing Saturday sit-in protests. The last case from Istanbul presents another way of imprisoning with its non-negotiable design and a long-standing construction area that directly affect the collective memory, spatial daily routines and symbolic meaning of the region.
The study aims to serve as a platform to discuss power on/of space through publicity around these three examples and asks the possibilities of democracy and justice putting space in the center.
Controlling Spaces to Control Dissent: A Psychosocial Analysis of WTO and G8 Protests
Ciro De Vincenzo
University of Padua
University of Padua
urban studies, protests, public space, urban control; structural violence; democracy; psychosocial processes.
The aim of the presentation is to highlight psychosocial processes through which the institutions use the concession or the denial of access to urban public spaces as a strategy for control and negate forms of protest by the citizens .
Moving from the thematic literature on the topic of institutional violence and the right to public spaces access, we will focus on some key assumptions:
• spaces became places when something is acted and a specific meaning is attributed, acknowledged and socially shared ;
• public space is where democracy is constructed ;
• some democratic forms of dissent are acted through the use of spaces.
This implies that, if the access to certain places is systematically denied, this take the form of silencing or negating alternative narratives-voices and democracy itself.
The narrative of protest seems to always be discording with the public narrative, an anomaly that confuses, an extra-event, the deviance that must be controlled for an urban place to be called “public”. As protests are event perceived a priori as violent and disorderly, they should be ordered in order to remain public.
When given ways of performing behaviours within a space are normed, the implicit pact between citizens and institutions is broken: the ones who should defend the right to dissent, are the ones who control and discourage it.
Such situations can generate a “Psychopolitical trauma ”, when citizens experience an irreconcilable break with the institutions, a deep feeling of injustice, paradoxically perpetrated by the ones who should protect them and grant for their rights.
The presentation will focus on two specific events from the recent Western history: protests during the G7 summit in Seattle (1999) and during the G8 in Genova (2001), when structural violence quickly escalated to explicit violence.
Tidal Spaces: Choreographies of Remembrance and Forgetting
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Tidal spaces; contemporary performance; memory; shorelines; history; choreographies
This presentation explores the potential of tidal spaces to perform acts of remembrance and forgetting. Using oceanographer Rachel Carson’s The Edge of the Sea to contextualise tidal spaces, this paper will discuss how constantly shifting and eroding coastlines act as a site for writing, rewriting and performing acts of cultural and personal memory.
14-18 NOW’s Pages of the Sea, directed by Danny Boyle, invites communities around the UK to meet on their local beach to commemorate those who were lost in WWI by marking portraits in the tidal sands. Focussing on the National Theatre of Scotland’s iteration of this on Ayr Beach, I will discuss Pierre Nora’s notion that memory attaches itself to sites, whereas history attaches itself to events.
Choreographer Chloe Smith’s Tidal performed in Berwick-upon-Tweed in 2015 was originally commissioned as a commemorative work but became an act of personal memorialising when Smith’s brother was drowned. My own collaborative site-responsive work, Tide Times (2018), created with electroacoustic composer Tim Cooper for the tidal island of Cramond in the Firth of Forth, explores the multiple identities of place over time. Tide Times encourages audiences to create their own tidal poems and artworks through a series of invitations in treasure chests hidden around the island.
In explicating various artworks which explore ideas of remembrance using tidal spaces, this paper will also acknowledge the forgetting that is implicit in performing these actions. The markings in the sand are washed away, community groups that participate in the performance disperse and detritus left is eroded by the elements. What can the legacy of commemorations traced in such a transient and precarious space as a tidal zone be? This paper argues that while shorelines provide sites for large and small scale acts of public remembering, they are simultaneously acts of forgetting as the twice daily tides cause inevitable erasure.
Gendered Cinematic City: Risk and Freedom for Women in Contemporary Urban Space of Hyderabad
Deepthi Krishna Thota
University of Hyderabad
Feminist geography, urban studies, Film geography, cinematic city, Hyderabad, popular culture, Cultural studies, Film Studies, Feminist Studies, Gender, Gendered Spaces and Gendered City
The Hyderabad metropolis of India is one of the fastest growing cities with a growing population. The city’s access to women and how women navigate and define the city, and the gendered cinematic urban spaces is explored in this paper. The movies of Hyderabad which include regional cinema released in the 2000s – a decade after the globalisation is ushered in – are analysed. The paper uses semiotics and discourse analysis to understand the nuances of the complex relationship of women and the city. The built environment directs the navigation of a person in the city but for women it is fraught with risk and the spaces laden with cultural and social signifiers. In literature and popular culture, the city is equated to women and their body- both equally dangerous. The presence of women in the city spaces induces male anxiety. The city is a place for depraved morals in the form of sex-workers, temptresses and uncontrolled female desire. The good women are always indoors and home their natural setting. A woman outside the domestic space, has to declare her purpose.
A woman out loitering for the pleasure of exploring, being and belonging to the city is not stressed and the paper tries to make a case for it. In the neo-liberal city, the freedom in and access to the city is purported as progressive and unecompasssed, and represented as such in the films. But I argue that the neo-liberal city of Hyderabad reinforces the same patriarchal and gendered norms in spaces coupled with commercial interests. In this background, I studied the films to try exploring A) How women in the cinematic city navigate and access the city? B) Defining the city girl represented in cinema D) if modernity and globalisation freed the city women to move freely and court risk, and is the new woman here– in the movies.
Locked Rooms: Map-ability and Cramped Spaces in Contemporary Fiction and Culture
University of Hong Kong
Map-ability, cramped spaces, locked rooms, carceral spaces, contemporary fiction
Maps have taken center stage in key twenty-first century fictions. When literary works engage with this new approach to mapping, the result is what I refer to as “map-able” text. “Map-ability” refers to the way authors deliberately integrate cartographic practices into their narratives to reveal previously invisible geographies of power. Map-able texts “proposition” certain futures or aspirational models of belonging, invite readers to map their worlds differently, and intervene in the prefigurative politics in the present. In this paper, I discuss two contemporary novels that demonstrate map-ability’s scope for articulating alternative social spaces and new political identities.
Kevin Brooks’s controversial Young Adult novel, The Bunker Diary (2014), chronicles the life of a teenage boy, Linus, held captive in a bunker by an anonymous man. Soon after Linus arrives, several other kidnap victims of different ages and races are mysteriously brought to the bunker. With escape impossible, it becomes unclear why Linus feels compelled to map a finite, cramped space. Another captive narrative is Emma Donoghue’s Room (2010), loosely based on the 2008 Fritzl kidnapping case in Austria. In Room, young Jack and his Ma inhabit a world shrunk down the size of a room; only by repeated drilling and memorialization of spatial relationships and mental mapping of a world he has never experienced allows Jack to carry out Ma’s escape plan. Both the bunker and the room are not on any map and exist outside of geopolitical boundaries. Both spaces embody what William Walters and Barbara Luthi, taking their cue from Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of minor politics, call “cramped space” which “registers degrees of deprivation, constriction, and obstruction” (361) that force us to radically rethink the linearity and access to mobility. If cramped space offers an “obstructed agency” (365) enabled by the intensification of social relations and mediating entities (those that can mediate reversals, change or even release), then mapping the cramped space of the bunker or the room suggests that map-ability can be a way to make sense of a carceral geography that has seeped into everyday space. This paper ends by situating map-ability and cramped spaces within a discussion of affordable housing and the trend of nano or micro apartments in urban centers across Asia.
The Improvising Planner: Dancing Your Way through the City-Making Movement
Placemaking and city-making are considered as new and innovative ways for contemporary city development. Their innovation is often indicated as being a bottom-up and civic-driven, in contrary to more traditional top-down and governmental-led city planning. However, ongoing practices of city-making throughout European cities time and again show that it is not just a bottom-up and civic-driven practice, but that successful cases of city-making strongly depend on the positive involvement of all kinds of planning actors – including governments, investors, designers, entrepreneurs, artists, residents etc.
Therefore, this paper argues that the innovation that the city-makers movement brings to urban development is not so much the bottom-up civic-driven-ness of the movement, but rather its fundamental multiplicity, in which all actors contribute out of their own interests and abilities, but no-one has the full overview or control over the eventual outcomes. As such, city-making is a strongly improvisation-based practice, both implicitly and explicitly stressed by actors when they describe how they seize the opportunities of the moment, how they work without a plan, how they semi-intentionally move toward an unforeseen collective outcome etc. In other words, through city-making, urban development turns from traditional plan-based city planning into an continuously ongoing site-specific urban group-improvisation.
In Dance, and especially (post-)Modern Dance, the transition from plan-based (or: fully scripted choreography-based) performances toward (collective) improvisation and improvisation-based choreography has since long been made. Fixed choreographies have made place for performances based on few organizational parameters, in which dancers bring controlled and unintentional, individual and collective movements to a diverse and harmonious whole. Moreover, a growing trend in contemporary choreography builds upon the involvement of both professional and non-professional (picked for instance from the street or from the audience) dancers as to create a mix between refined body control and directness, intuition and authenticity in the performances.
This paper explores both these trends within (post)Modern Dance in order to learn more about a) improvisation skills that city-makers could learn in order to improve their practices and b) choreographic skills that city planners could learn in order to create consistency within a multitude of city-makers initiatives – with full respect for their unique self-driven and improvising qualities. In the remaining part of the article, it is argued how these skills would not only improve the practices of city-making, but the practices of all those involved in complex, uncertain, adaptive and evolving urban development processes.
This Place is Not Safe to Walk! A Qualitative Study on Safety Perception and Mobility
Caroline Cardoso Machado
Universidade de Brasília
Fear of Crime, Criminal Prevention, Urban Planning, Brasília, Environmental Psychology
The perception that a particular place is unsafe to live in is a factor that can significantly affect the quality of life of individuals. In the case of Brazil, crime rates in cities increase every year, which can generate a constant sense of fear in the population. Crime is a problem that is increasingly present in large Brazilian urban centres. The way people perceive safety and relate to the public environment affects their way of moving around in their neighbourhood. The present study aimed to assess the perception of insecurity of 25 residents of three districts of Brasília, capital of Brazil. Twenty-five interviews were carried out, go-alongs, in daily journeys made by the residents. Each interview was filmed in order to verify how the participant interacts with the environment during the course. The data were analysed through the NVIVO software to verify if the perception of insecurity and the fear of the crime affect in some way in the routes realized by the residents. The results showed that the perception of insecurity is associated with places with poor maintenance, trash and poorly lit areas. In addition, residents reported that they had a greater perception of insecurity when associated with situational fear of crime.
New Structures, New Citizens: Considering Security in the Urban Complex Through Contemporary Visual Art
Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi
Securitization, militarization, barricades, urban conflict, contemporary art, Lefebvre, Foucault, city, citizen, rights
Architect Zybněk Ryška cites safety as one of the primary reasons that cities began to be built in the first place. He refers to ‘the right to build fortifications’ as one of the most important laws of the city. In 1968, Henri Lefebvre would also speak of rights, but those of urban dwellers to participate in shaping the city that they inhabit. Calling for new ways of seeing, imagining and understanding, Lefebvre argued that no science of the city could be complete without taking into account the social and anthropological needs of those that occupy it. Lefebvre’s city thus calls into question the power relations rooted deep within capitalist mechanisms that drive urban development, as well as the modes through which the production of urban space occurs. Today, ideas of the right to the city stand as even more relevant in a time when issues of power, and social and political relations play out, often violently, upon the face of the urban metropolis and between those that govern it and those that occupy it.
Taking as a case study the city of Karachi, a sprawling urban metropolis marked by a history of violence and conflict, this paper seeks to examine the visual and spatial impact of measures of barricading, policing, securitization, militarization, surveillance and control upon the face of the city, particularly as witnessed, navigated and deconstructed through artistic practices that see this as their primary investigative premise. Focusing on the work of contemporary Pakistani artists Seema Nusrat, Seher Naveed and Bani Abidi, this text represents a continued investigation into the changing face of the city through codes of conflict in the urban context, particularly with regard to ideas of securitization and militarization, difference and differentiation, space and memory, and the persistently shifting landscape of the city and consequently the rights of the citizen to this.
British Imperialism and Politics of Space in the Second Boer War: Power and Conflict in South African Concentration Camps
University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies (ULICES)
Imperial expansion, Bower War, ‘concentration camps’, politics, power, conflict
Despite the apparent philanthropic concerns of the new imperialism and the rhetoric of the civilising mission, the Second Boer War (1899-1902) revealed British irrational ambition, military reverses, scandals and evidence of inadequate administration.
In this context, the South African ‘concentration camps’, where the Boers, mostly women and children whose houses and farms had been destroyed by the British forces were concentrated, clearly stand out as examples of a seemingly arbitrary power. The debate and controversies over such camps and over the Bower War itself were heightened after Emily Hobhouse’s Report was made public. Emily Hobhouse, the sister of L. T. Hobhouse, a prominent new liberal, obtained permission to visit the camps in South Africa as a delegate of the Distress Fund for the South African Women and Children, in order to write a report on the living conditions in the camps. Upon returning to England, she had a meeting with Campbell-Bannerman, the leader of the Liberal Party, who, eventually, denounced the ‘methods of barbarism’ carried out in the Boer concentration camps. The report appeared publicly less than a week after the meeting and waves of protest ensued. Both Emily and Campbell-Bannerman were under crossfire.
Therefore, my intention is this paper is, firstly, to briefly address the social, political and economic context underlying British imperial expansion and struggle for space at the turn of the 19th century, namely as far as controversies over the Boer War are concerned; secondly, to study the characteristics and living conditions in South African ‘concentration camps’ relying, to a great extent, on Emily Hobhouse’s account; thirdly, to analyse the social and political impact of the denunciation of such camps as places of ‘wholesale cruelty’ in the (in) famous Report.
Therapeutic Spaces, Fluid Sexualities and Female Community
University of Birmingham
bathroom, asylum, Turkish bath, hydrotherapy, queer, women, body, sexuality, modernism.
This paper discusses the queer body’s experience in two therapeutic bathroom spaces: the asylum bathroom and the Turkish bath. I explore these spaces through an interdisciplinary lens, considering how lived experience mediates the literature of Katherine Mansfield, Emily Holmes Coleman and Antonia White. I ask how these three writers subvert the traditional patriarchal associations of hydrotherapy to posit the bathroom as a space of resistance and female community.
Emily Holmes Coleman and Antonia White’s semi-autobiographical novels subvert the traditionally patriarchal realm of the asylum; the hydropathic bathroom becomes a place where their protagonists are able to reject normative values of femininity and, instead, embrace a sensual exhibitionism that allows an exploration of queer sexuality.
Katherine Mansfield’s vignette of a Turkish bath focuses on female bodily experience, using this corporeality to veil suggestions of an emotional alternative to the heteronormative relationships facilitated by the setting. The baths exist as a liberatory realm beyond the devouring male gaze; for Mansfield, the Turkish bath is a safe space for women and women’s bodies.
This paper posits that the therapeutic bathroom, as the epitome of unstable, disruptive space, forms a site of resistance for the decentered subject (be that the queer, mad or unruly female subject), whom these writers recenter and rehome in the alternative spaces of the narrative. By opening up these alternative locations as spaces of belonging where non-normative subjects can form communities, Coleman, White and Mansfield use therapeutic bathroom spaces to destabilise heteropatriarchal relationships and thus provide new opportunities for queer expression and community.
Socio-Spatial Identity: Intersecting Community Activism and Design Build as a Form of Restorative Architectural Praxis
The University of Cape Town
Socio-spatial, community activism, design-build, restorative praxis
This paper explores the interdisciplinary practices of social anthropology, ethnography and architectural tools to reconnect students with community and community with place through the project of Studio Light, a non-profit with the purpose of altering the tarnished image of Macassar a community in the Western Cape of South Africa which was displaced by the former apartheid government.
Current socio-spatial, socio-cultural and socio-economic discrepancies between ground practices and practices of government, professions and academia perpetuate the scarred history between perpetrator and victim by undervaluing authentic lived experiences by imposing processes that exclude the citizen and aggravates our current segregated South African society. Foregrounding the social in the production of space to find suitable ways for the coexistence of the coloniser and the disenfranchised could redress symptoms of estrangement. The convergence of the social and the spatial within architecture when re-configuring its teaching can reverse these symptoms through rethinking design processes as a restorative praxis to bridge both spatial and social difference.
Through a community engagement process, image, text and mapping are synthesized to spatialized community activism as a symbiotic relation with domestic spaces. Story maps depicting a network of living rooms and backyards sustaining this activism contest apartheid township planning and becomes an autoethnographic lens for students to engage with emergent socio-spatial realities. This new understanding is then used to design and build an interactive exhibition as a collaborative praxis between student and community. A reflection on stories solicited through the exhibition reveals a new reading of the citizen as co-contributor and student in service of community emerging as a form of restorative architectural praxis.
Emotions and Senses: The Relation Between Architecture, Emotion and Perception
Andrea de Paiva
Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil
Neuroscience, neuroarchitecture, neuro-architecture, behavior, performance
The purpose of this paper is to discuss recent findings in neuroscience that can be useful to architecture. Knowing the working patterns of the brain and how space affects cerebral functions can help architects design buildings that improve the user’s behavior, performance and well-being. The built environment has a direct impact on the human brain. Social relations, focus, cognition, creativity, memory and well-being can be influenced by the surrounding physical space. Although it is not possible to create the perfect room, the space can be used in a strategic way, depending on the task that individuals are supposed to do there and depending on the people (age, gender, culture) who will make use of the space. Schools can be designed in a way to improve cognition, learning and memorization; hospital buildings can help improving recovery; workspaces can improve performance, creativity and collaboration. Above all, all spaces of long occupation should be designed in a way to improve well-being. How can architecture change automatic behaviors and nudge people to behave in a healthier way? Can architects create buildings and cities that improve socialization and happiness? Can criminality levels drop due to changes on the way the environments are designed? These are some of the questions that will be discussed in this paper.
Movement, Place and Identities: What is a Procession: What does it do?
Manchester Metropolitan University
Procession, parade, movement, space, dance theory, non-representational
The paper asks: what is a procession? However, this question is being positioned as an inquiry into the nature of processions. Previous examinations of processions have often focused on the socio-historical meaning that the event has for places and people, with little attention paid to what a procession does. Indeed, a procession is a collective movement of bodies and other matter through spaces, usually the streets of a town or city. I seek to open up analysis of the processional form as an embodied and bodily engagement with spaces and other affective and vibratory matter. To do this, the paper looks to new materialism and dance theory in order to unpack the idea of a procession.
By drawing on the example of a 200-year-old religious walking procession in Manchester, UK – a procession which has almost become invisible in the post-industrial city of Manchester – I will pose questions of effort, flow, weight and space to render it as more-than-walking. The affective dynamics of attunement to the kinaesthetic, reinscribes the visibility of the procession. By attending to the movement the analysis will contribute to a new way of thinking about the processional form whereby identities, places and faith become reimagined as more-than-representational and positioned within a procession assemblage.
Can Performative Walking Change our Experience of Liminal Space?
University of Edinburgh
University of Edinburgh
Space, urban walking, spatial practice, visual art, geography, phenomenology, walking art, Edinburgh, collaboration, contemporary art practice.
We wish to examine how performative walking might reveal aspects of liminal urban spaces. We propose a discussion of findings from recent performative walks which we have organised. We would also like to organise a performative walk for conference participants, followed by a group discussion in which we share our experiences of liminal space on that walk.
Deirdre Macleod, visual artist, and Dr William Mackaness, geographer, have formed an interlocutory, cross-disciplinary partnership to examine experiences of space and place. We employ a variety of simple artistic devices, such as props and slow walking, to interrupt, and interrogate, our phenomenological relationship to space. The use of props and devices is informed by the insight by artist Lucy Skaer: “it is through framing a thing that we come to understand it, and by changing the frame surrounding things, change how we relate to them.” p9, The Green Man: Exhibition Guide, Talbot Rice Gallery: Edinburgh (2018).
Our most recent collaboration was an hour-long group walk with light-covered props across Edinburgh, in darkness. The route included places with different social and psychological complexions, including: poorly lit, isolated paths; a playground; a beach promenade; residential streets; and urban vegetable allotments.
The aim of the walk was to enable people to experience spaces that they would normally avoid. Afterwards, we asked participants for their reflections on the walk, particularly how walking with the lighted frames, as a group, affected their experience of these spaces. Responses included a sense that the lighted frames provided a sense of protection to those carrying them, as well as an element of spectacle to those observing the procession. Participants felt that their rather joyful, almost frivolous appearance deflected negative attention, as well as attracting quiet curiosity. They felt part of a purposeful, but undisclosed ritual and, as a result, some participants felt more comfortable in spaces which would otherwise have felt difficult.
The Space Bar
Temple University, Philadelphia, USA
Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, Canada
Working under the moniker The Party, Layla Mrozowski and Kyla Gardiner stage speculative fictions, co-author texts and engage conceptual party-planning. Their artistic research explores imaginary and theoretical spaces in performance. For the Space and Places conference, they propose presenting a lecture/performance at The Space Bar, a “pop-up bar at the end of the universe” that frequently manifests in their works. The Party explores language as a way of creating invisible, though sensorily complex landscapes in performance and these landscapes “produce” the “bar”. The performance for the Space and Places conference will stage the following choreographic score that explores synesthesia as a creative logic and queer methodology for re-imagining social relations and human/non-human relations.