001 – Valencia/Bilbao/Barcelona – Vilaseca on Street Art in Spain – Urban Cultural Studies Podcast

UCS 001 Stephen Vilaseca on Street Art in Barcelona Valencia and Bilbao Spain (28 June 2013)   Conversational interview inspired by scholar Stephen Vilaseca‘s recent article “From Graffiti to Street Art: How Urban Artists Are Democratizing Spanish City Centers and Streets,” originally published in the journal Transitions: Journal of Franco-Iberian Studies (8, 2012). Topics include: public space, graffiti vs. street art, artists Escif, Frágil and Dr. Case, Valencia, Bilbao, and Barcelona. [LINK TO ORIGINAL PUBLISHER]

Introducing Urban Cultural Studies Podcasts!

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Introducing Urban Cultural Studies Podcasts!

There’s a new page on this site (main menu bar above) dedicated to the podcasts, which will feature interviews with authors of recent article-length publications relating to the cultures of cities. Episodes will be in the 20-minute range and strive to venture beyond the content of the original publication. Still some tech stuff to figure out, but they will eventually be available both here and through iTunes.

Aeon magazine – can architecture improve our sex lives?

RICHARD J WILLIAMS

Aeon magazine have just published this piece on Sex and Buildings:

http://www.aeonmagazine.com/living-together/can-architecture-improve-our-sex-lives/

It summarises the book’s argument, but adds a little at the end on an alternative future. It argues for a ‘commune-lite’, in essence, not far of what Le Corbusier imagined in Marseilles in 1948, or Ricardo Bofill in Barcelona in ’77. Bofill’s ‘Walden Seven’ is one of my favourite buildings, whatever Robert Hughes said about it. A visionary place that also seems to work for its residents. Now if some friendly developer would like to do the same here…

Incidentally, the piece has a few snippy remarks about Morningside, as does a forthcoming feature by Teddy Jamieson in the Herald. I should say I still live there, and despite its maddening character, have no plans to move. My complaints are those of  someone who know – for better or worse – he’s in it for good.

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Wallhunters: The Slumlord Project (Baltimore)

WallHunters: The Slumlord Project

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[Watch the 5 minute video here]

[this post follows up on previous posts on artist Gaia posted on this blog]

The project will install 15 large street art pieces with posted info that reveals/publicizes the ownership of dilapidated vacant houses.

Using radical methods, our project will unite three forces to catalyze discussion of Baltimore’s vacancy problem and how to solve it:

  • Wall Hunters Inc, a recently  created, street  artist run non profit organization
  • Baltimore Slumlord Watch
  • a film being made that gives voice to the ignored on the topic of vacancy and the power of street art.

In short, the project will bring together 15 artists from around the country, each of whom will install a large piece on a dilapidated vacant house. QR codes and text detailing the ownership information that is uncovered by Slumlord Watch will accompany the art. Voices of the people who live in these neglected areas of town, will be heard Continue reading

Lefebvrebot (3) Philosophy and the City

 

A robot possessing the urban knowledge of French philosopher and spatial theorist Henri Lefebvre (1901-1991) explores the multidimensional nature of the city. (part 3) This episode draws from Lefebvre’s works Writings on Cities [The Right to the City], The Production of Space, and The Urban Revolution.

PhD programme in Urban Studies, GSSI, Italy

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GSSI CITIES [ORIGINAL SITE HERE]

Research and post-graduate study at the GSSI’s Urban Studies Unit focus on the long-term development trajectories of ‘territorial systems’, and ‘urban systems’ in particular (cities, metropolitan areas, metropolitan regions). The methodological perspective in research and teaching is genuinely trans-disciplinary. Continue reading

Review of Adrian Forty, Concrete and Culture (London: Reaktion Books, 2012)

RICHARD J WILLIAMS

A version of the following review appeared in Sculpture Journal in 2013

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Everybody has a view about concrete, but few of these views are exactly the same: there is no material so contradictory and complex in its application and meaning. I myself became fully aware of concrete’s contradictions in Brazil, latterly accompanied by Forty’s edited book on the country’s modernist architecture (Brazil’s Modern Architecture, 2007). I had never seen so much concrete. But equally I have never been confronted with such a disjunction between aspiration and application. Standing outside Oscar Niemeyer’s MAC art museum in Niteroí, it was impossible to square the MAC’s futuristic form (a flying saucer) with the crudeness of its execution (all cracks and, lumps, like a primary school project). That contrast was really quite disturbing, as the official photographs of the MAC depicted a building of otherworldly sleekness whose construction was a mystery to…

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Madrid in the Journal of Iberian Studies

An incestuous post – the link originally came from Ben Fraser and UCS. I’ve added a few words. Great topic.

RICHARD J WILLIAMS

Here below is a link to a new issue of the Journal of Iberian Studies on Madrid, edited by Benjamin Fraser. Looks great. Madrid is very large, and complex, but often overlooked by Anglophone writers. It shouldn’t be: it grew at a prodigious rate during from the 1980s until recently, and arguably experienced more urban change than anywhere in Western Europe in that period. It bought into culture as an agent of change more vigorously (and earlier) than anywhere I can think of, and its reconstruction of its transport networks was likewise done with with rare conviction and thoroughness. The landscapes of change we now find in contemporary China were all there in early 1990s Madrid: new suburbs and satellite towns created de novo, forests of high rises, inexorably expanding subway networks, frenzied consumerism, a new, bewildered poor. I know, because I was there. It was an unforgettable and formative…

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Guest-edited special issue: Madrid and Urban Cultural Studies

1364971XThe guest-edited issue on the topic of “Madrid and urban cultural studies” has been published in the International Journal of Iberian Studies (26.1-2 [2013]: pp. 3-102). Click here for link to publisher’s page.

Editorial and four articles include: Continue reading