Urban Transformations

September 16 – October 7, 2011
Opening reception: September 15, 2011
Screenings and Talks at White Space – Office for Curating / Art / Theory: September 21, 2011

Artists: Işıl Eğrikavuk, Monika Kapfer, LA Urban Rangers, Ioana Marinescu with Robert Fearns, Cora Piantoni, Maria Pomianski, Canelle Tanc, Margot Zanni

What is a city? How do its spacial and social worlds interact? How do architectural transformations affect the social life of a city?

If we ask the architect or urbanist, the city is the physical structure of a built landscape; the public administrator will define the city as relationships between (social) institutions; the politician will see the city as generator of social behavior under political control; the historian will contextualize the city's history from polis to megalopolis and see it as a living, changing structure; the poet would describe it as a place of excitement, a stage to act and be seen on, a place of alienation, a place for rebellion, a place to congregate, a place to feel safe or afraid.

“Urban Transformations” is focusing on the effects of changing architecture on people's lives, especially  the changes produced in the most rapidly transforming of places - the city. The city is seen first as a place for social drama (taking into account its political and ideological dimension) and second as a physical, built structure (that supports and puts constraints on people's activities).

People invest places with meanings related to rules learnt through their own cultural background. What happens when these rules change, in an organic or imposed manner? What happens with the social cohesion of a city, when factories become museums, bakeries become casinos and shopping malls and financial districts take the place of former markets and residential areas? How do we live in decentered cities like contemporary ones, where suburb life takes the place of an often deserted or missing downtown? How deep are the similarities and particularities between urban transformations in cities around the world, due to globalization? Is the present fragmented urban landscape a mirror of our identity patterns?