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Art and the urban: Trajectories, proximities, intensities

This interdisciplinary symposium took place on the 15 of June 2018 as the first event of the Art and the Urban Working Group.

The group explores how the arts represent, critique or occupy the urban. Thinking of the town and city as sites in motion – marked by fleeting encounters, wandering trajectories, acceleration and migration – we consider how art operates within (or against) the spatial and temporal conditions of urbanism. Oscillating between past, present and future, the city may be read as a palimpsest, written and re-written by successive generations. This symposium addresses the rhythms of the urban, from the acoustic patterns of footsteps and machinery, to the ebb and flow of passers-by, and the activities of eavesdropping and people watching. As a spectacle itself, the city is at its most spectacular during festivals and carnivals, events that exhibit the urban and turn it into a site of visual display. Looking ahead, this symposium asks “what next?” Is urbanism sustainable, what is at stake, and what role do the arts have to play?

The afternoon event began with a keynote by the artist Jaspar Joseph-Lester, Reader in Fine Art (Art, Urbanism and the Moving Image) at the Royal College of Art.

Symposium 15.06.18 | Senate House | University of London