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Concrete & Ink

13 February - 15 February
Organized by: Theatrum Mundi
Venue: , Whitechapel Gallery
77-82 Whitechapel High St
London
E1 7QX

Concrete & Ink: Storytelling and the Future of Visionary Architecture

 

Is there a path between utopian and dystopian visions of future cities? What role can storytelling have in our urban imaginaries? This three-day interdisciplinary programme brings together writers, poets, artists, filmmakers, architects, philosophers, urbanists, curators and academics to search for alternative modes of narrating the future of buildings, housing estates and cities.

 

Thursday 13 February

– £9.50/£7.50 concs

 

Opening Panel

In this opening panel discussion chaired by architecture and design curator Meneesha Kellay, philosopher Julian Baggini, design strategist Corina Angheloiu and writer Sophie Mackintosh set the scene for the weekend’s debates on imagination, time, future and alternative possibilities of narrating what’s to come.

 

Friday 14 February, 1.30 – 6pm

– £12.50/£10.50 concs

 

On Time and Future

This second day of discussions focusses on time and future through two panel discussions that will attempt to expose conventional concepts of time moving constantly ahead in a straight line from past to future and challenge narratives of linear, forward planning.

 

To Infinity & Beyond: What is Time?

How do artists, writers and architects deal with real and imaginary time? How do they form mechanisms that allow for both obsolescence and maturity? Is the future always in front of us?

 

Chaired by Theatrum Mundi’s Justinien Tribillon, this session looks at alternative concepts of time to challenge ideas of the future and how it can be narrated across art and architecture, including contributions from choreographer Adesola Akinleye, writer Crystal Bennes and games developer Jodie Azhar.

 

Urban Planners or Necromancers? Of Blueprints & Crystal Balls

What does it mean to plan? Is the idea of planning the urban a chimera? Can anticipation be a science or is it more to do with magic? Can we bend planning to be less linear and more circular?

 

In this session chaired by architect and curator Océane Ragoucy, we bring together artists that craft narratives of the future and professional planners who develop foresight for immediate action. It will include contributions by writer Nina Leger, urbanists and researchers Emmanuelle Chiappone-Piriou and Gwenaëlle d’Aboville.

 

Saturday 15 February, 11am – 6pm

– Walk: Free, booking required

– Screening: £9.50/£7.50 concs

 

On Walking and Dreaming

Join a walk led by artistic director of Harlow Art Trust Kate Harding and filmmaker Christopher Ian Smith in Harlow Town, Essex, exploring the design and architecture of the prime example of the visionary and utopian New Towns movement. Meet at Gibberd Gallery (Civic Centre, The Water Gardens, Harlow, Essex CM20 1WG) at 11am, dress warm and wear comfortable shoes.

 

Red Dreams: future of architecture until 1989

Back at Whitechapel Gallery, the afternoon session explores what happens when visionary utopias decay or collapse? Can they become something other than dystopias? This session questions the pre- of the post- by bringing together artists, historians and architects who have experienced, narrated, studied and critiqued the urban utopia of Socialism, the future of cities of yesteryear. 

 

Featuring screening of Jasmina Cibic’s Tear Down and Rebuild (2015, 15 min) followed by a panel including filmmaker Christopher Ian Smith, urbanist Gruia B?descu and writer Alison Irvine, chaired by Theatrum Mundi’s Marta Michalowska.

 

The afternoon will conclude with screening of Christopher Ian Smith’s New Town Utopia (2017, 80min)

 

Image: Ariel Davis