new fall programming series

August 24 - November 28, 2010

Global urbanism is one of the most significant trends of this century. For the first time, a majority of people on the planet now live in cities. As populations shift to urban centers, space – which is already at a premium in most cities and dwellings – becomes an even more pressing concern. Short of growing our architecture ever higher and spreading the creep of concrete, we seek solutions that consider size constraints alongside questions of environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Artists and designers, developers and planners, activists and architects respond to these challenges with creative solutions. But our fixed gear bikes and rooftop farms, geo-location apps and LEED certified lofts are lifestyles cum commodities, quickly subsumed into brand campaigns, used to sell a spatial agenda. Kill your Facebook profile, grow your food, you are still a walking talking advertisement for gentrification whether you like it or not.

Inevitably, where people converge, spatial conflicts arise. The ideas and desires of one group come at the expense of another. While social media and technology are heralded as cost-effective means to open-source the city, this participation is only partial, presenting an imagined consensus that obscures deeper forms of social exclusion. Too often, participation affirms a system rather than challenging it. And our contemporary system contradicts sustainability principles with a fundamental and fatal design flaw: that of impossible, unlimited growth.

Given these conditions, how can cultural creatives and spatial practitioners participate productively? What are constructive forms of critical engagement? What does an architecture look like that acts not to serve a community but to produce it? How might we open-source the city in invited and uninvited ways?

Series Schedule
(save the dates)

Tuesday, August 24, 7:30pm - 9:30pm -- professor/author Miriam Greenberg (Branding NY: How a City in Crisis Sold Itself to the World)

Thursday, September 16, 7:30pm - 9:30pm -- artist/activist Emily Forman (Department of Land Space Reclamation)

Thursday, October 14, 7:30pm - 9:30pm -- artist Shaun Slifer (Howling Mob Society) and artist/academic Gregory Sholette (Repo History)

NEW!. Thursday, October 21, 7:30pm - 10pm - screening of the recently released award-winning film Gasland by Josh Fox, about shale gas drilling (aka hydrofracking).

Thursday, October 28, 7:30pm - 9:30pm -- Michael Cataldi, John Houck, David Kelley, Hans Kuzmich, Jens Maier- Rothe, Jeannine Tang (Parallel Lines project)

NEW!. Saturday, November 6, all day (possibly overnight, tbd): "Fall Foliage, Farms, and Fracking Tour". Agri-artists, urban farmers, green marketeers, FEASTers, food activists and YOU in a veggie-oil powered bus. Join us as we drive upstate to the beautiful Delaware River Valley on the NY/PA border to visit local farms that are fighting hydrofracking in their backyards. Interested in taking part? Email info@notanalternative.net. NOTE: trip is funding contingent. Help make it happen! Donate via the yellow paypal button to the right.

(Postponed, date TBD), 7:30pm - 9:30pm -- architect/writer Markus Miessen (The Nightmare of Participation)