The city is the place where our collective imaginaries born, where the narratives we have fixed in our minds and that guide our behaviours are created; where social relationships are produced and they produce space and place, dreams and fables, memories and desires, nightmares and dread, as well.
“Twelve Cautionary Urban Tales”
13 February – 19 July, 2020
Paseo de la Chopera, 14, Madrid
The impossibility of a single definition of what a city is allows multiple and even divergent interpretations, and they are first and foremost, human constructs. At the same time, cities are inherently heterogeneous, formed by different agents—human and non-humans—their memories, relationships, cultural expressions, fictions and frictions, all of them under the shadow of uncertainty.
Cities are also the scenario of the contemporary challenges like the economic—and never ending—crisis, the emergence of global migrations, increasing inequality and its accompanying housing crisis, and global environmental disasters. In this context, the need to find or create tools to subvert the status quo requires different and radical ways of communication, aside—or at least, beside—the traditional architectural drawings, models and glossy renders; in order to be able to take all this information, and properly decode it, analyse it, and make it understandable in depth, to envision an urban realm that does not yet exist.
Drawing upon Superstudio’s “Twelve Cautionary Tales for Christmas,” first published in 1971 at the Architectural Design—twelve short tales illustrated with one drawing each, which evoke twelve visions of ideal cities—we have invited twelve contemporary practices with different backgrounds and belonging to different generations, to reconceptualize the original format of the “Twelve Cautionary Tales for Christmas” and transform the format itself into a device to rethink our role in the making of the city, by telling the tales in the form of twelve installations, multilayered and polyphonic, leaving the narrative open to multiple readings for the viewers of the exhibition.
This new “Twelve Cautionary Tales for the Future Cities” intend to redraw, reconceptualize, and unfold our conventional understanding of what a city is, in order to reimagine what the city can be—as the space where relationships, nature, bodies, and geographies coexist. These twelve tales will pose new narratives to problematize and question the definition of ‘the city’ and will allow us to alter our conventional comprehension of a vast variety of topics in the underlying understandings of ‘the urban’, thus revealing different modes of inhabiting the world.
Architects and Artists: Aristide Antonas, Katayoun Arian, Assemble, Bartlebooth, Studio Céline Baumann, Clara Nubiola, Chloé Rutzerveld, Design Earth, Merve Bedir, Chong Suen y Sampson Wong, MAIO Architects, Traumnovelle y Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) con Francesco Garutti.
A children’s story, a horror story, a synesthetic story. A parallel program accompanying the exhibition Twelve Cautionary Urban Tales.
Following the exhibition’s narrative, this programme intends to make use of the word in order to tell the world. Structured in three main parts, a group of international participants—architects, artists and theorists— from diverse contexts and experiences, will tell us three stories, using several formats, narratives and performative skills, in order to speculate about the contemporary city and the future city navigating through the many different layers that form the current urban context—the visible and the invisible, the diaphanous and the profane, the childish and the adult.
With: Amica Dall (Assemble), Traumnovelle, Rosario Talevi, Martin Savransky, Vanessa Keith, Jaime Palomera, John Bingham-Hall, Paula Garcia Masedo, Ashkan Sepahvand and Virgil B/G Taylor.
The program includes a children’s workshop led by artist and writer Elena Arévalo Melville, and the closing party with Iranian-Dutch DJ, curator, and activist, Katayoun Arian.