As the first phase of Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process, postgraduate students from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London will be in residence at Arts Catalyst’s Cromer Street Centre throughout May and June. During this time, they will use the form and function of the public hearing as an aid for investigating a number of contemporary conditions.
Public hearings originated from the process of the enclosure of public lands in Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries. They were held in order to create a petition to parliament to enclose the land, and then later to hear objections to the act created by Parliament. Today, public hearings are still used when dealing with both public lands and private properties. Adopting the device of the public hearing, the Goldsmiths group will consider how diverse experiences and events are communicated through speech, vocalising, hearing and listening. Whose stories are heard and whose not? What other forms of nonhuman expression - animals, plants, industrial, atmospheric - are heard, and what new modes of sensing are needed? In short, who speaks and who listens, and with what technologies?
Through a series of hearings in June (some public, others with invited groups) and an exhibition, the students will bring together diverse participants, ideas and concerns. They will explore how the conditions of the hearing – vocalisation strategies, performance, technologies, architecture - affect how information travels from one body to an other and from one entity to many. Hearings will address local social issues, as well as more abstract themes.
Starting from Arts Catalyst’s new neighbourhood of Cromer Street in London’s Kings Cross and expanding out across the city, Everyday Urbanism: Architecture as Social Process will create a platform for international artists, urbanist collectives and research architects to link with a diverse range of local communities. Together these groups will explore and document the social, political and environmental issues affecting those who inhabit the city. Everyday Urbanism will evolve over the course of three years creating new relationships, networks, events, exhibitions and commissions.
Everyday Urbanism will be developed in collaboration with a curatorial advisory group including Arts Catalyst, Territorial Agency / John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog, curator Claire Louise Staunton (Flat Time House/MK Gallery) and Susan Schuppli, Deputy Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Cromer Street based Barrister Ousman Noor.