Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation
In 1971, Italian collective Superstudio published Twelve Cautionary Tales for Christmas, a series of illustrated stories about twelve visions of ideal cities, a critical and sarcastic reflection on the future of cities if they continued to grow at the same pace. Inspired by this narrative, in this three-part seminar, a group of international participants—architects, artists and theorists from diverse contexts and experiences—tell us three stories to encourage speculation on contemporary cities, the visible and the invisible, the transparent and the profane, and the childish and the adult, in the current urban context. The session makes use of speech to rethink what the city is through narratives and fictions that allow us to delve into the diversity of worlds—childish, terrifying, libertine—that make up the city, what we understand the city to be, and what we imagine when we hear the word ‘city’.
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11.30am – 1.30pm | Workshop for children aged 7 to 11
Another Madrid. A dialogue of possibilities
What does the city mean to you? This question, which seems easy for an adult to answer, could result in responses as varied as “an organic process”, “the backdrop for affections”, “a refuge of liberty”, “a right”, or “a business”. If we then ask an adult what a city for children should be like, the answers would probably include more green space, parks and gardens, safe transport infrastructure, inclusive schools, and access to food and housing, among many others. But if we were to ask children themselves, we would be surprised at the scope of their imagination.
Organised by: Elena Arévalo Melville holds an MA in Children's Book Illustration from the Cambridge School of Art and holds workshops for children, families and adults in London and Cambridge. Her latest book, Umbrella, published by Scallywag Press, is part of the White Ravens collection, has been nominated for the 2020 Kate Greenaway Medal and has been endorsed by Amnesty International.
Midday - 2pm | A children's story
What is the difference between designing a city for children and designing a city as children?
When imagining a city for children, the adult mind will think of things like safety, inclusiveness, physical and mental health and so on. But if we make the effort to unlearn and try and think like children for a moment, we might see a very different city. *This activity is aimed at adults.
Amica Dall, founding director of Assemble, a collective that focuses on the social and material processes through which cities are made, producing architecture, art, urban design and research. Dall is a founding director of Baltic Street Adventure Playground and a trustee of Theatrum Mundi, an organisation founded at LSE Cities in 2016.
Traumnovelle is a militant faction founded by three Belgian architects Léone Drapeaud, Manuel León Fanjul and Johnny Leya, who use architecture and fiction as analytical, critical and subversive tools to emphasise contemporary issues and dissect their resolutions.
Rosario Talevi is an architect who graduated from the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urban Planning at the University of Buenos Aires before undertaking postgraduate study at the Technical University of Berlin. Talevi has a special interest in critical spatial practices, transformative teaching methods and feminist futures.
Coordinated/moderated by: Ethel Baraona, editor, critic and curator. Co-founder, together with César Reyes, of dpr-barcelona, an independent Barcelona-based research studio and publisher. Since 2016, dpr-barcelona has been a member of the Future Architecture platform, the first pan-European platform for museums, festivals and institutions dedicated to promoting architecture.
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5 – 7pm | A horror story
From property speculation to hopeful guesswork: stories about a future that is resisting
The future, the idyllic destination of modernity, has become a source of contemporary horror. From the climate crisis to property speculation, the present seems to lead us toward a future that leaves no room for a dignified life: the future is a horror story, especially that of the city. In response to stories about future terror that can seem paralysing, we aim to invoke speculation as a hopeful practice, an exercise in resistance that calls upon the need to identify future alternatives to resist what the future is said to hold.
Martin Savransky is an Associate Professor at the Sociology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. From philosophy, anthropology, and environmental humanities, his current work revolves around radical pluralism, pragmatism, and living and dying well with others. Martin is the author of The Adventure of Relevance (Palgrave, 2016) and Around the Day in Eighty Worlds: Politics of the Pluriverse (Duke University Press, forthcoming), and co-editor of Speculative Research: The Lure of Possible Futures (Routledge, 2017).
Vanessa Keith is a registered architect and the Principal of StudioTEKA Design, an award-winning New York architecture and design studio she founded in 2003. Studioteka approaches design through a multidisciplinary lens spanning the boundaries between architecture, interior design, and urban and environmental issues. Vanessa’s passion for design-oriented technical and engineering solutions to environmental problems compelled her to author 2100: A Dystopian Utopia – the City After Climate Change, a book on the future of human settlements in a hotter world, published by Michael Sorkin’s Terreform.
Jaime Palomera holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Barcelona and is co-founder of think tank La Hidra. He has conducted research into property and financial bubbles, the expansion of property ownership and changes in renting. He has been a researcher at Goldsmiths, at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and at EHESS in Paris. Jaime is also a spokesperson for Sindicat de llogaters, a Barcelona-based tenants’ association.
Coordinated/moderated by: Adolfo Estalella is an anthropologist and professor at the Complutense University of Madrid. His work is focused on cities, including research into transformations in the production and circulation of knowledge. His research throws light onto grassroots urbanism and building cities through activism. Recently, his work has been focused on the intersection of anthropology, architecture and art.
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8 – 10pm | A synesthetic story
Diluting the gaze and other phenomena in contemporary civility
This story focuses on the eye as a sensory instrument. It shakes up the central position of vision in the experience, imagination and building of inhabited space. The skin, ears and nose come into play to bring us into the maze of desires and forces that configure our material environment. This is a synesthetic story that reveals opaque ways of producing space and subjectivity, resonating from ancient times through to the present day.
John Bingham-Hall is a multi-disciplinary researcher working across spatial science, urban sociology, and cultural analysis. He holds a BMus (Music) from Goldsmiths College and a PhD in Architectural Space & Computation from the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture. He is currently director of Theatrum Mundi an honorary lecturer at UCL STEaPP. His work on multiple media and formats explores how the public sphere is shaped from material, technological and cultural infrastructure. From the perspective of sonic urbanism, he has explored how communication technologies, performative elements and urban design cultivate public life.
Paula García Masedo is an artist and architect who studies, discusses and is fascinated by contemporary Western material culture, with a class and gender perspective. She is interested in the systems involved in the construction of desire, the configuration of production methods and communication systems that shape and transform the subject in its socio-political contexts. She approaches elements of design with the understanding that they are activated in the capitalist system from hegemonic structures that can be appropriated by those on the receiving end, going from new to rubble, being successively reappropriated and resignified.
ssssssSssssss is a collaborative format by Ashkan Sepahvand and Virgil B/G Taylor. sssssssssSsss is a practice of exchange, study and strengthening through queer friendship. sSsssssssssss is informal, always undisciplined and often invisible. sssSsssssssss sees intimacy as an opportunity to exchange with others, friends and friends of friends; so-called ‘minor audiences’. sssssSsssssss cultivates subplots: the idiosyncratic, the esoteric and the abstract. ssssssssssSs believes that we cannot do it alone, we all need to look after each other, we all need to train ourselves to be stronger, and that there is always something to learn.
Coordinated/moderated by: Pol Esteve Castelló is an architect, researcher and professor. His work explores the relationships between space, technology and the body, from the second half of the 20th century to the present day. His main interest lies in the non-canonical, anonymous and collective stories that have defined the physical and social space of the contemporary Western world. He is currently affiliated to the Architectural Association School of Architecture and The Bartlett, University College London. He is co-founder of architecture firm GOIG.
10 - 11:30pm Closing party with DJ session by Katayoun Arian
Katayoun is a curator and activist with experience in art and new media theory, sociology and anthropology. She is the founder of Fwd: Gher Space, an Amsterdam-based platform for women of colour, femme, trans and queer identifying DJs. Her interdisciplinary practice is best described as an approach toward different ways of knowing, feeling and being, based on feminist and decolonial philosophy as fundamental principles. The session will be presented by Gonzalo Herrero Delicado, architect and curator of the Architecture Department at the Royal Academy of Arts in London.
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Ethel Baraona, Gonzalo Herrero Delicado and Adolfo Estalella, with the collaboration of Pol Esteve Castelló