First International Conference of Young Urban Researchers (FICYUrb)
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Eefje Vloeberghs

Creative re-inventions of the Urban. About Playful, Utopian and Serious Politics In New Artistic Urban Movements

Eefje Vloeberghs
Free University Brussels. Urban research Centre COSMOPOLIS -

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     Last modified: May 16, 2007
     Presentation date: 06/11/2007 4:30 PM in ISCTE-II B202
     (View Schedule)

Abstract
The rules of the global game are set by a competitive economic growth trajectory and hegemonic elites’ narrative; yet Janus-faced since it doesn’t translate itself in greater democratic, social and political inclusion. Nonetheless, exactly the complex disorder of the increasingly hybridising world creates interstitial spaces and cracks in which new city projects break through. This paper is in search of their specific characteristics and strengths. They are glocal interventions aiming to present an urban reality including its contradictions and limitations in which the city acts as a collective resource. They are inspired by urbanity and artistic creativity and fuelled by a critical ideology. These ‘acupunctural’ interventions are in search for sensitive and painful fissures in the urban fabric to react upon, often tactical provocative, with a sense for humour for bringing serious issues in interesting, playful, ludic ways. They aim to invite a large urban public to claim their ‘right to write the city’. Transgressing boundaries seems possible through effective synergies and flexible rhizomatic coalitions. Next, the ideological roots are being explored. The current urban movements are rooted in ideologies of long before: social empowerment movements for just urbanisation, Marxism, anarchism and Situationism… They seem to have regained respectability, not in their pure form but through an adapted sensibility. ‘Making a break’ as believing in utopian processes and heterotopia are exactly the inversions they are thriving for through catalytic art and art activism.
Two cases exemplify these ideas; UHC Collective in Manchester (multi-disciplinary art collective) and CityMine(d) in Brussels (production room for urban social-artistic interventions).

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