Nutopia panel debate
Discussion led by: David Pinder (UK/DK)
Panel: Adrian Burnham (UK), Dr. Susan Hansen (AU/UK), Laima Nomeikaite (LT/NO) and Nipper (UK/NO)
Novelist Thomas More was the first to give a name and form to the idea of Utopia: that by imagining a better world is possible, we are empowered to create it. His playful vision, published in 1516, has captured the human imagination throughout history and has experienced something of a renaissance following the recent 500th anniversary of its publication.
Creating utopias requires a reimagining and remaking of everyday life and everyday spaces which, for many, are those of the city. This panel explores the pivotal role of the arts in creating the space where dreams and visions can take root.
David Pinder is Professor of Urban Studies at Roskilde University, in Denmark. His research focuses on urbanism and critical urban theory, on utopia and possible urban worlds, and on art, performance and the politics of space. His writings have ranged from the ideas and practices of avant-garde movements, particularly the situationists, to more contemporary forms of psychogeography, radical cartography, and artistic urban exploration and intervention. Among his publications is the book Visions of the City: Utopianism, Power and Politics in Twentieth-Century Urbanism (2005). He previously taught at Queen Mary University of London, and has held visiting positions at Princeton University and at CUNY Graduate Center.
Adrian Burnham has a long held empirical interest in both the variety and efficacy of interventions on urban space and a particular fascination with paper-based art and visual activism. His career spans both a mundane engagement with the metropolis – as a commercial flyposter in the 1980s and 90s – to more academic study of the city and the social production of space at Goldsmiths University. After 10 years leading courses and lecturing on art and design at Hackney Community College, in June 2016 he founded and continues to curate www.flyingleaps.co.uk: a street display and online platform for socio-politically engaged artists.
Dr. Susan Hansen is Convenor of the Visual Methods Group and Chair of the Forensic Psychology Research Group in the Department of Psychology at Middlesex University, London; Convenor of Art on the Streets, an annual symposium held at the Institute of Contemporary Art; and serves on the Editorial boards of the academic journals Street & Urban Creativity and the Nuart Journal.
Laima Nomeikaite is a researcher, human geographer and urban planner. She works at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) in Oslo where she is researching on street art as heritage. In recent years she has worked on a variety of projects related to culture, heritage research and urban planning.
Nipper is a Bergen-based artist whose Mission Directives project focuses on social ideals of sharing, creativity and citizen-led communication in public space through the installation of temporary and interactive artworks to create alternative zones of communication. By questioning who has the power and authority to communicate messages and create meaning in our shared spaces – and the public’s relationship to their urban environment – Mission Directives becomes part of a broader conversation of social significance.
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