School of Geography

Performing urban archives

10 June 2015

Time: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Venue: Queen Mary University of London, Arts Two, Film & Drama Studio, Mile End Road, E14NS London

“A description of Zaira as it is today should contain all Zaira’s past. The city, however, does not tell its past, but contains it like the lines of a hand, written in the corners of the streets, the gratings of the windows, the banisters of the steps, the antennae of the lightning rods, the poles of the flags, every segment marked in turn with scratches, indentations, scrolls.”(Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities)

Performing Urban Archives will explore how seeing the city as an archive can open up for alternative urban imaginaries that investigate what urban space is and means.

Traces of use attesting to our presence and absence (graffiti, footprints, handrails rubbed naked of paint, stains, dropped groceries) are perpetually erased in the current urban realm due to a desire for perfect materiality sustained by new, shiny and glossy commodities. As a result, we cannot associate ourselves with practices of preceding users and are sensually alienated from urban space. Hence there is a need for a field of enquiry that involves a renewed sensitivity to the material fabric of the present and attention to those traces that signal our presence. How can seeing the city-as-archive provide a helpful methodological approach in this regard?

  • Keynote dialogue between artist Richard Wentworth and Michael Sheringham (Oxford)
  • Performance lecture by Johanna Linsley (Roehampton), with Emma Bennett (QMUL)
  • Urban exploration by international artist collective zURBS
  • Panel discussion with Kathy Beswick (QMUL), Joseph Kohlmaier (London MET) and Harriet Hawkins (Royal Holloway)
  • Chairs: David Pinder and Jen Harvie (QMUL)
  • Organized by: Cecilie Sachs Olsen (QMUL)

For booking for the full event, please book for BOTH events below:
1. Keynote dialogue
2. Performance lecture, urban expedition & panel discussion

For more information and full programme, please follow this link.