Exactly right, exactly. (in these collections the humanities are often equated with history at the expense of artistic production)…

Progressive Geographies

In the Politicised Literary Geographies event, one of the things discussed was the relation between the discipline of Geography and the Humanities. Geography is often put in a Social Sciences faculty (which can be seen as an issue by Physical Geographers) or in a Science faculty (potentially a problem for Human Geographers), but rarely in the Humanities – I’m happy to be told of examples though. But why does Human Geography research not orientate itself towards the Humanities at least as much as to the Social Sciences? There are counter-examples of course, but the links to literature, philosophy, art etc. and their ways of working seem to be outweighed by the links to economics, anthropology, political science and sociology. History in historical geography is perhaps the key area in which the Humanities remains crucial. The two books pictured below – GeoHumanitiesand Envisioning Landscapes, Making Worldswere attempts to begin just…

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Urban Renewal Brochures

As one is wont to do, clicking here and there and avoiding grading and writing, I came across this blog and its very interesting current post containing urban renewal brochures from the 1950s. Most interesting to me is that the images from New York are so seemingly devoid of people. Where are the people? More importantly, after they lay this “abstract space” across the landscape  where will the people that live there go. . . .Thanks to dubravka sekulic for this blog.

http://arsenalofexclusion.blogspot.com/2012/04/urban-renewal-brochures-from-1956.html

Places.

by Ares Kalandides

Talking about public art in a city of such social tensions as Johannesburg is not straightforward. On the contrary I find that, permanent art, mostly in the form of sculptures often seems out of place, in the midst of such poverty and misery. My question irritates Stephen Hobbs, who together with his partner Markus Neustetter and their joint Venture “The Trinity Sessions” has been appointed chief curators for public art for a period of three years. “Why do we ask about the impact of art when it’s in public space, but take it for granted as soon as it’s in a museum?” As in many other cities around the world 1% of the construction budget for public buildings in Johannesburg is supposed to go to art. Sharon Lewis, who heads the Johannesburg Development Agency (JDA), explains:

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citythreepointzero

Image

When the artist Alex Hartley built a geodesic dome out of scrap metal for his 2011 exhibition at Victoria Miro, he invoked Drop City, an iconic northern Colorado commune of the mid-1960s. Drop City achieved sudden fame in 1965 through the patronage of Buckminster Fuller. Patronage is perhaps too emphatic – Bucky gave the Droppers $500 because they wrote to him. But by 1967 it had become one of the nodes on an international freak network, spoken in the same breath as the UFO Club in London or Haight-Ashbury. It had its own festival (‘Joy’) in June 1967. Even the normally stuffy architecture journals hit on it, big time. Even if hardly anyone actually went, it was, no question, a place to be. For most, Bucky’s dome was best known as a scheme to seal Manhattan from the elements under a structure of truly Biblical proportions, Man’s final triumph over…

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Benidorm and Spanish Sociologist Mario Gaviria

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Benidorm — a planned resort city on Spain’s coast between Alicante and Valencia — has long been a destination for tourists. I can’t say I’ve been there, but references to the city abound in Spain and in Spanish literature and culture since the 1970s. For example: the opening/intro sequence to each and every episode of the Spanish ‘social science fiction’ show Plutón BRB Nero, which aired in 2008 and 2009 and was directed by filmmaker Álex de la Iglesia, includes a gratuitous/humorous reference to Beniform (see here for an article on the series and on Spanish sci-fi in general) alongside such ‘world class cities’ as London and New York. I remember seeing a Spanish novel titled simply “Benidorm, Benidorm, Benidorm” and — as Álvaro Sevilla Buitrago recently pointed out to me — there is a British sitcom called Benidorm from 2007, which seems to be unavailable in the US but can be ordered on region 2 DVD from the UK. The list likely goes on and on…

The deal is:

that Spanish Sociologist Mario Gaviria — who helped to popularize Henri Lefebvre’s ideas in Spain and who edited/introduced a number of Lefebvre’s books in Spanish versions (The Right to the City, From the rural to the urban [collection]) during the 1970s — also helped to design the resort city that is regarded by many as a blight if not also a victory of consumer society over the landscape. [article here] While I have looked through Gaviria’s books at Spain’s Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, they haven’t been republished and are unavailable if not also uncatalogued (I asked around at more than a few chain and independent / even architectural-urbanist bookstores). He did some great work on tourism and urbanism, anthropological work, ecological work, but it still seems strange to me that a supposed Lefebvrian had a role in designing Benidorm, much less in touting its advantages over the years…

 

More links for Spanish readers:

http://elpais.com/diario/2002/08/03/babelia/1028329573_850215.html

http://elpais.com/diario/2007/12/13/sociedad/1197500401_850215.html

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