Vortragsreihe

Grand Gestures:
Planning, Contingency and
the Image of the Modern City
Part 3

February 21 – May 18
eikones Forum

Hayden White’s 1973 book Metahistory argued that the writing of history is a generic activity, and that histories are – formally speaking – divisible into romances, satires, tragedies and comedies. Whereas a romantic conception of history is defined by redemption through progress, the “realists” of historiography (amongst whom he includes Jacob Burckhardt and Alexis de Tocqueville), White notes, write satires, in which every attempt to achieve mastery over the world reveals that we are captives of it. For the satirists, history is not so much characterised by progress, as by irony. Irony is, as it were, not merely the inevitable outcome of any grand historical gesture, but acts as a strange attractor, seemingly guiding events to maximise the resulting anti-climax. The fascination of such narratives is not merely that they draw attention to the size of the discrepancy between ideals and realities, but reveal the agency of that gap. Modernity is characterised by such grand gestures – attempts to reshape the iconography, the ideology and the economics of urban environments through symbolically overladen interventions.

In previous semesters, we have heard of proposals presented to the US congress to relocate an idealised white suburbia into geostationary orbit (Felicity D. Scott), of the exhaustion of the Nile Valley in the name of its perpetual fertility (Charlotte Malterre-Barthes), and of the intimate relationship between cataclysmic fires and urban planning tradition in the city of Tokyo (Liam Ross). This semester, we will address the corporate architecture of Silicon Valley, study the arrival of socialist modernism in Ghana, and learn of the secret laughter of Mies van der Rohe.

As Toynbee wrote in Cities on the Move, cities have always been the privileged stage on which political identity is acted out. The city is not only the setting for political gestures, it can act as dramatis persona in its own right. Grand Gestures is a series about the city as a protagonist in history, about the inadequacy of planning, and the vicissitudes of ambition. Grand Gestures seeks out resonant images, not only in order to question historiography, or critique the inade-quacy of political intentionality, but also to reimagine the projects of modernity, with all their hope and hubris.

In cooperation with the Urban Studies, University of Basel and the Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin



Konzept: Stefan Neuner, Pathmini Ukwattage, Adam Jasper Smith, Hannah Baader

Downloads: Program, Poster

eikones NFS Bildkritik, Rheinsprung 11, CH - 4051 Basel

Veranstaltungen


Thursday, May 4 - 7.15 pm - eikones Forum

Information Fall-Out:
Buckminster Fuller World‘s Game

Abendvortrag

Referierende: Mark Wasiuta

eikones NFS Bildkritik, Rheinsprung 11, CH - 4051 Basel

Thursday, May 11 - 7.15 pm - eikones Forum

Digging Canals, Building Civilizations:
Architecture and Development between Mars and Earth.

Abendvortrag

Referierende: Alla Vronskaya

eikones NFS Bildkritik, Rheinsprung 11, CH - 4051 Basel

Thursday, May 18 - 7.15 pm - eikones Forum

Pigeon Visions: Resisting Posthumanism

Abendvortrag

Referierende: Fahim Amir

eikones NFS Bildkritik, Rheinsprung 11, CH - 4051 Basel



Archiv


February 21 - 7.15 pm - eikones Forum

Ways to rethink the Urban Archive:
Cases from the Congo

Abendvortrag

Referierende: Filip de Boeck

eikones NFS Bildkritik, Rheinsprung 11, CH - 4051 Basel

Thursday, March 2, - 7.15 pm - eikones Forum

Die steinerne Grenze: Mauern, Tore und
die Vorgeschichte der «offenen Stadt»

Abendvortrag

Referierende: Daniel Jütte

eikones NFS Bildkritik, Rheinsprung 11, CH - 4051 Basel

Thursday, March 30 - 7.15 pm - eikones Forum

Apple X Star Wars:
Architecture, Technology, and Power at Bay

Abendvortrag

Referierende: Nicholas de Monchaux

eikones NFS Bildkritik, Rheinsprung 11, CH - 4051 Basel

Thursday, April 6 - 7.15 pm - eikones Forum

Mies‘ Laughter: Semblance and Dissensus
in the Architecture of Mies van der Rohe

Abendvortrag

Referierende: Lutz Robbers

eikones NFS Bildkritik, Rheinsprung 11, CH - 4051 Basel

Thursday, April 20 - 7.15 pm - eikones Forum

Made in Ghana:
Architecture and Socialist Modernisation

Abendvortrag

Referierende: Lukasz Stanek

eikones NFS Bildkritik, Rheinsprung 11, CH - 4051 Basel