INSTANT URBANISM. TRACING THE THEORIES OF THE SITUATIONISTS IN CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN DESIGN

10.06. – 16.09.2007

S AM Schweizerisches Architekturmuseum

Steinenberg 7, CH-4051 Basel

 

First taking a historical sweep through the field of architecture contemporary to the Situationists, and the ways in which experimental and utopian concepts for cities were redefining the profession in the 60’s and 70’s, the exhibition then assembles essential projects in architecture of the present day that could be seen to put into practice that which the Situationists developed as radical urban critique and theory.

The installations are based upon the concept of bricolage and collage – creating an associative reception of the projects by overlapping and juxtaposing statements, found texts and images.
With a documentation of interventions and actions within urban and public spaces of the city, INSTANT URBANISM brings together the work of Lucy Orta (France), Santiago Cirugeda (Spain), EXYZT (France), Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss (Belgrade, NY), NL architects (Netherlands) IAN+ (Italy), PPAG (Austria), amongst others. Temporary and modular architecture draws upon flexible uses of space and responds to the precarious nature of urban territories. Instant urbanism will also exhibit concepts and projects that redefine the city as a site for play and appropriation by way of constructing situations. Both new urban research and built projects will touch upon the idea of high-speed urbanism – with an emphasis on self-planning and urban occupations.

Two installations will give a contemporary slant to the dérive: a practice employed by the Situationists for investigating the increasingly fragmented cityscape on the basis of disorientation and intuitive explorations. A series of audio-visual journeys by the artist/architects network Citambulos will reveal lesser-known realities of Mexico City. The graphic designer Ruedi Baur will also present new work on the city as spectacle based upon 6 dérives in which seemingly banal signs have led him to new urban narratives.

“To the outside world the consistency of architecture is a given, from which you deviate at your own peril – which is ironic since it would be  much better, and much more interesting, for the world at large if there were more deviations.” Rem koolhaas

The Situationist strategy of détournement – alienating and recontextualising aesthetic elements in order to draw attention to the ways in which our use of space is conditioned – is interpreted in Instant Urbanism as cross-programming and hybridity in architecture. Here the work of Diller and Scofidio, Bernard Tschumi, NL architects, Observatorium and Atelier Bow Wow comes into play – reconfiguring and activating buildings and spaces for previously inconceivable uses.

 

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