Counter-narratives: imagining, inventing, creating urban life

Junia Mortimer

To speak of political action is to speak of operations that may affect ideas or conventions. When a sensitive experience, that is to say, an aesthetic experience displaces our preconceived notions of the world, it promotes an experience of political nature, as it tends to affect how we perform within society and the way we construct our presence to others. Our ability to disseminate and receive, to experience and understand such displacements and reconfigurations in society can thus refer to our political engagement.

This stream proposes to congregate researchers interested in artistic interventions that approach contemporary urban space and built environment so as to problematize urban processes, which most large cities undergo today (gentrification, real state, demolitions, expulsion of low income communities from areas of economic interest). The idea is promote a place where to discuss new modes of sensitive presentation and new ways of enunciation, by exploring innovative relations between “appearance and reality, singular and common, visible and signification”.

How do art interventions affect reconstructing a new imagination for what living in the cities may be? What images can we think of as instances of resistance to the hegemonic imagery that tends to annihilate the emancipation of the spectator? What types of counter narratives can we identify and what are their specific contexts? What kinds of experience of urban space, what new ways of approaching the built environment do these aesthetic experiences propose? How can they affect hegemonic imagery, through what kinds of procedures? Which methods artists have used so far in general to actualize ideas of city that is distinct of the hegemonic one? Towards which directions, towards which experiences of city does this new imagery lead us today?

These are some of the questions this stream wishes to explore. By proposing this stream, we aim to assemble people throughout the world interested in exploring examples of contemporary art interventions that somehow resist to the approach of urban space as an instance controlled exclusively by economic parameters of progress and development. We thus hope to meet researchers interested in exploring aesthetic experiences as alternatives to the hegemonic models of strategic urban planning based on the commercialization of the urban experience through spectacular architectural insertions.