Social Science blog

29 October 2013

Visual Urbanism: Perceptions of the Material Landscape

Holly Gilbert, Social Sciences, writes:

This one-day event, held on Monday 7 October, was the second time we have collaborated with colleagues from the International Association of Visual Urbanists and Goldsmiths, University of London to create a space for discussion about the use of visual methods in researching the urban environment. The event was part of the annual Urban Photo Fest and was fully booked. It was a really stimulating and thought-provoking day.

SMALL Caroline Knowles 2

Above: Professor Caroline Knowles. Photograph © Felipe Palma and reproduced here with kind permission.

We were taken from flip flop factories in China to the Olympic Park in Stratford via Brighton as photographed by its traffic wardens, the sewer systems of London and the view from the top of the unfinished shard. We looked at the ephemeral objects found in city streets, we followed the journey that a couple took across Switzerland in 1935, we encountered water as an intervention in the spaces of Berlin and we listened to the sounds of the landscape and literature of East London.

The presentations and discussions considered different ways of using visual methods to do urban research, questions about the ethics of selecting what makes it into the frame, the effective force of images and the mischievous, playful nature of visual research. Ian Cooke, Curator of Politics and the Propaganda exhibition at the British Library, introduced us to some of the photographic and moving image collections held here at the Library.

SMALL Panel 2 iAVU
Above: One of the panels in discussion. Photograph © Felipe Palma and reproduced here with kind permission.

A series of films was screened during the day, many of which can be viewed online via the links below, which gave art practitioners and researchers from across the social sciences the opportunity to share their work in a different format. The films explored cities across the world including Lima, Gateshead, Dubai, Berlin and various parts of London.

Keynote Speaker

Professor Caroline Knowles,Goldsmiths, University of London

Plastic City: Insights from the Flip-Flop Trail


Anthony Palmer, Goldsmiths, University of London

Landmark - staging the urban landscape in London’s East End

David Killeen, Independent Artist

To You I Follow

Paul Halliday, Goldsmiths, University of London

The Appearance of Things

Bradley L Garrett, University of Oxford

Encountering the city through urban interventions

Diego Ferrari, Kingston University and Central Saint Martins

Photography as mapping space

Micheál O’Connell, University of Sussex

Contra-Invention: the photography of Britain’s Traffic Wardens

Maria Papadomanolaki, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London

Tracing Paths: exploring landscape and listening from and beyond the books

Panel Chairs

David Kendall, Goldsmiths, University of London

Toby Austin Locke, The British Library

Rachel Jones, Goldsmiths, University of London

Film Screenings

Urban Habitat II (2013) – Video: Lluís A. Oliver; Photos: Diego Ferrari; Music: Junior Jero

Cold Angel (2013) – Bradley L. Garrett

Sounds of Wapping, London River Thames (2013) – Tine Blom and Portia Winters

Missing You (2013) - Micheál O’Connell/Mocksim

Lugares que fui and Wilder's Car (2012) –  Rebecca Locke

Big Bus Tour (2008) –   David Kendall, Marina Loeb, Keyvan Gharaee Nezhad

Wild The Need to Leave the Cage of Love (2009) – Annalisa Sonzogni

Dépaysement 4, 1 & 2 (2013) – Melanie Clifford

A Microcosm City: subtitled (2013) – Maria Papadomanolaki

Landscape of Disappearances: Reflections 1(2013) – Rachel Sarah Jones

Ayquina (2012) – Felipe Palma


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