Welcome to the London Architecture Diary, your essential guide to architecture exhibitions and events taking place across the city, brought to you by New London Architecture.
The Centre Cannot Hold? will officially launch Calvert 22 Foundation’s 12 week season of art and events, Power and Architecture. Taking place from 10 June – 9 October 2016, the season will examine utopian public space and the quest for new national identities across the post-Soviet world.
The conference is hosted by the UCL SSEES FRINGE Centre, Calvert 22 Foundation, the UCL Urban Lab, the UCL Grand Challenges Fund and the UCL School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies.
The idea of the city dominated by a soaring landmark or a grand epicentre – whether a sacred temple, a secular monument or a Central Business District – was allegedly buried along with utopian high modernity, sometime during the second half of the 20th century. The new urban age taking shape in its place, say politicians, planners and scholars,
will be humbler, more sustainable, collaborative and polycentric: eco-cities instead of monumental axes; pop-up innovation hubs rather than palaces of culture; fleeting anti- statues in place of equestrian heroes and sky-high monoliths; Gumtree and Airbnb amid the debris of the Galeries Lafayette and the Grand Hotel.
But is this centrifugal tendency really as absolute, inevitable – and desirable – as all that? And is the negation of hierarchy – on the terrain of the city itself, as well as of its descriptions and theorisations – in fact complicit in concealing new (or old) forms of domination? This conference will explore the aesthetics, politics, economics and affects of centrality and monumentality, from their 20th century golden age to their contemporary inheritances, afterlives, ruins and appropriations.
More info here.