online / July 8, 8:00 PM

From concrete to digital jungle.

#city focuses not so much on the agglomeration itself as on its inhabitants and the human-nonhuman interactions taking place in urban and habitable spaces. It presents the afterimages imprinted in the urban tissue by individual stories and interventions. It connects the past and future of human habitats in relation to the visible and invisible interferences occurring between emotional habitats and urban structures.

Olena Newkryta (Ruins in Reverse, 2020) builds relations on the ruins of a former Soviet ‘khrushchyovka’. Stripped brick by brick, the building is a starting point – a foundation – for building a completely new architectural form and a symbolic act of taking the future into one’s own hands, a desire for change and redevelopment. At the same time, it makes us aware that traces of private biographies or past ideologies will remain present in everything we build for the future. Both in the architectural landscape and in the relationships between people.

Carnival-soaked Copacabana is completely beyond time. Marcos Bonisson and Khalil Charif (Kopacabana, 2019) create a collage of archival and present footage, composing a poetic memory portrait of Rio – non-linear, fragmented, simulating a very subjective and sensual experience of the city, as if torn and assembled from the archive of someone’s private memories. Past and present mix here in a cultural and social melting pot, fed by a megalopolis bustling with crowds.

Alexandr Sokolov (The Game, 2020) asks about the coping mechanism for the metropolitan crowd. Positive loneliness is a reaction to the excess of stimuli and interactions that constantly accompany city dwellers. Being alone becomes a privilege, yet in gaining it, we waive another – community, cooperation and building deeper social relations. Sokolov’s anti-intervention into urban space highlights the paradox of the need for solitude – because it takes two to play chess.

Pandemic isolation intensifies the negative aspect of urban loneliness. Yorgos Papafigos (A random event in a public space, 2020) creates rather sterile, digitally generated world in which human presence is represented by a single rubber glove. Social alienation is the cause of crisis and the symbolic death of the individual, who remains completely alone even in the din of the big-city crowd.

Spatial histories, individual traces, interventions and relations are building up urban palimpsests. But this #city imagined by the artists is inextricably linked to the notion of #community – without it, it exists only in a materially impermanent architectural state, which in the expected post-human future will be overgrown by the jungle anyway.

Dagmara Domagała

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Ruins in Reverse


The Game

A random event in a public space