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Discourses of the global city have emphasized speed, hyper-mobility, rapid growth, and incessant exchange and flow. But what are the fine-grained consequences of such developments and discourses on everyday human experience? How is our sense of community, place and belonging being reshaped by life in the contemporary accelerated city? And what role do artists, creative practitioners, and urban citizens play in reinforcing or resisting the conditions and processes of globalization?
Addressing such questions, this roundtable discussion aims to interrupt some of the familiar narratives that have dominated our understanding of contemporary global cities. In particular, it will explore the productive possibilities of the very concept of “interruption”, examining creative practices of deceleration, detour, and delay, ranging from flash mobs and “cloud activism,” to street photography and guerilla gardening, to slow architecture and sustainable urbanism. Using the city slowly is not new, but this discussion will seek to pinpoint original modes of slowing and disruption that have emerged in the specific context of globalization, and to assess their individual and collective significance.
The roundtable will be moderated by Christoph Lindner (Amsterdam) and will bring together Joseph Heathcott (New School), Shirley Jordan (London), Anthony Vidler (Cooper Union), and Sharon Zukin (CUNY) to exchange views, share insights, and respond to audience contributions on the theme of “interruption” in global cities.
About the speakers:
Joseph Heathcott is Associate Professor of Urban Studies at The New School. His work addresses the American metropolis and its diverse cultures, institutions, and environments within a comparative and global perspective. His articles, photographs, maps, drawing, and exhibits have appeared in a range of venues, from books and magazines, to exhibits, blogs, ‘zines, and journals. In 2010-2011, he served as the U.S. Fulbright Distinguished Chair to the United Kingdom at the University of the Arts in London, and as Senior Visiting Scholar at the London School of Economics.
Shirley Jordan is Professor of French Literature and Visual Culture at Queen Mary, University of London. She has published on the poetics of scale and the idea of interruption in urban photography and conducts research on French photographers of contemporary cities, including Valerie Jouve, Denis Darzacq, Stéphane Couturier and Raymond Depardon. She has also published widely on art criticism, visual and intermedial autobiography and contemporary French women’s writing.
Christoph Lindner is Professor of Media and Culture and Director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam, where he writes about cities, visual culture, and globalization. He is also a Research Affiliate at the University of London Institute in Paris, founding Director of the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis, and a member of the Amsterdam Center for Globalization Studies. His most recent book is “Paris-Amsterdam Underground: Essays on Cultural Resistance, Subversion, and Diversion” (2013).
Anthony Vidler is Professor and Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union. He is a historian and critic of modern and contemporary architecture, specializing in French architecture from the Enlightenment to the present. He has published extensively on modern and contemporary culture, including the recent book “The Scenes of the Street and Other Essays” (2011).
Sharon Zukin is Professor of Sociology at Brooklyn College and at the CUNY Graduate Center. Zukin is the author of books on cities, culture, and consumerism, and a researcher on urban, cultural, and economic change. Her most recent book is “Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places” (2010).