Building Utopias (Liverpool, 12-14 June, 2008)


As part of the Magical Mysterious Regeneration Tour Conference, 12 to 14 June 2008, and in collaboration with the Centre for Architecture and the Visual Arts (CAVA) and the Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool, Tate Liverpool welcome postgraduate student proposals for three panels on the themes of artists, architecture and the future of the city, respectively titled Building Utopias, Mapping Exclusion and Creative Dwellings. For more information please visit: http://www.tate.org.uk/liverpool/eventseducation/symposia/13812.htm

Building Utopias

This panel will focus on contemporary and historical responses by architects and planners to the city. Themes include utopian visions of modernism’s high ideal, the planning of ideal space in the city & its subsequent deterioration, dystopian future visions, a loss of the city to apocalypse, destitution, conflict, or nature, the city as an archive, and urban palimpsests. An ancillary theme will be the reinsertion of narratives of urban memory into the city landscape, and the interstitial stories of city space that emerge in forms of urban memory – the recurring echoes of the past trapped in the residuum of our decaying cityscapes.

Influences in these areas can be seen in the wide-ranging and diverse ideas of architects, artists and urban theorists such as Manfredo Tafuri, Archigram, Italo Calvino, Mark Crinson, and Andreas Huyssen. Topics for potential papers could include, but are not limited to:

•Totality, visions of utopia and their intersections with architecture

• Future Visions, Architectures of Technological Idealism

• Dystopia, the out-of-control city, Urban Apocalypse

• Urban memory theory, post-industrial city narratives, memory & forgetting in urban space

• Urban palimpsests and the city as an archive

• Archaeological traces and fragments in the built environment

The panel will be chaired by Richard Koeck, City in Film, University of Liverpool

Mapping Exclusion

This panel will look at sociological and historical methods of analysing the zoning of cities, and will consider some of the contested spatial practices shaping the social fabric of urban environments. The separation of cities into moneyed and poor, the exclusion of groups, shanty towns, favelas and the informal architectures of the unplanned city contrasted with the rise of 2

gated communities, the regimented, controlled social space of the city. We seek papers that give insight into the wide range of social, political, economic and cultural factors that motivate zonings, and also the implications of these divisions on the inhabitants of city spaces.

Proposals are invited for individual papers addressing all aspects of zoning and exclusion in the city. Interdisciplinary approaches are welcome. Topics for discussion could include, but are not limited to:

•Zoning of city space, role of local authorities and development agencies, gated communities, exclusion, gentrification

• Informal architecture, unplanned city space, resistance to urban planning, dereliction, wasteland, squats, ‘non-productive’ spaces

• Spaces of consumption, retail and leisure zoning, heritage, theme parks, cultural quarters, non-places and contractual spaces

• Social control, surveillance, CCTV, regulating movement, border control, abstract spaces

• Embodied, gendered, sexualised, racialised and diasporic city spaces

• Conurbation, centre/periphery, suburban dynamics, business, industrial, and retail parks, orbital routes, transport networks, hubs

The panel will be chaired by Les Roberts, City in Film, University of Liverpool.

Creative Dwellings

How artists engage with regenerating city space is not just an issue for contemporary practice: ever since city space has existed, artists have deliberated the energizing and equally troubling dynamic it brings to their work. From Renaissance Italian cityscapes, through Rembrandt van Rijn’s examination of the Dutch town hood, the Impressionist Salon des Refuses grappling with post-Haussmann Paris, through 60s art communes on the barricades, to present day negotiations between city authorities and artistic groupings, artists have engaged with the societal issues of urban dwelling in a range of ways. As the constructivist slogan would have it, 'the streets our brushes, the squares our palettes'.

We welcome proposals that examine the ways in which artists have inhabited and engaged with city space, both in their practices and lives. Different strands for proposals could include, but are not restricted to:

•Home and Homeliness

• Gentrification, loft living and the unofficial misuse of cities

• 60s social activist art space, institutional critique & urban use of Land Art principles

• Flânerie, the drift and artistic imagining of walking city space

• Artistic critiques of urban regeneration

• Memory, Art and urban decay and renewal

The panel will be chaired by Paul Sullivan, Director of Static

Proposals for papers for all 3 sessions, accompanied by a brief academic CV/biography, can be submitted to liverpool.research.forum@tate.org.uk and should be no longer than one side of A4 in length. Please put ‘Building Utopias/Mapping Exclusion/Creative Dwellings’ in the header, as appropriate. The deadline for submissions is Friday 11 April 2008