A 4-day studio researching contemporary urban smoothness together with René Boer and Mark Minkjan of Failed Architecture, taking place from 10 - 13 June.
Cities are increasingly becoming smooth, scripted and completed urban landscapes, apparently freed from any kind of imperfection, abnormality or friction. The rise of the ‘smooth city’ is a major shift in the development of the city, and is closely related to similar processes of ‘smoothening’ in other domains, such as fashion or consumer technologies. The demand for safe, clean and well-functioning urban environments is understandable, but what does the consolidation of the ‘smooth city’ mean for the conflictive, non-normative and subversive side of the 21st century polis? Does the ‘smooth city’ threaten the vitality of public domain, and even the democratic character of our cities?
UPDATE: The uncertainty concerning the Covid-19/Corona virus, makes is difficult to predict whether this studio can continue as planned. Therefore, we offer the possibility to register a spot by email and to postpone the payment until we have more information.
Regular tickets are available for 250 euro. Early bird tickets and student tickets are available for 200 euro for everyone registering before May 1st. To apply for a student ticket, please send us an email including your education registration certificates. You can buy your tickets directly through our stager ticket service, or you can send us an email to pay by invoice.
For this 4-day workshop, we teamed up with René Boer and Mark Minkjan of Failed Architecture, who will guide the participants in a critical engagement with contemporary urban smoothness. After collectively developing a nuanced understanding of the smooth dimensions of central Rotterdam, participants will start working in small groups on strategies and design interventions which will focus on developing a critical response to the ‘smoothness’ of a certain place, and the potential qualities of ‘unsmooth’ spaces. Which tools can be mobilized to disrupt the city’s smooth facade? Can policies allow for unsmoothening public space? Is it possible to ‘design against the smooth city’?
René BoerRené Boer works as a curator, critic and researcher in the fields of architecture, urbanism, heritage and art. He is part of the Amsterdam-based Non-fiction collective, managing editor at Failed Architecture and involved in various urban social movements. He recently published 'Architecture of Appropriation' with Het Nieuwe Instituut, and curated the exhibition 'The Right to Build' at Amsterdam's Architecture Center. Current projects include the formation of a network of 'Grounded Urban Practices' with the Cairo-based Cluster studio, and 'Contemporary Commoning', a new research collaboration with among others the Rietveld Academy and Waag Society.
Mark MinkjanMark Minkjan is an urban and architectural geographer. He is Editor-in-Chief at Failed Architecture and produces the Failed Architecture Podcast. He has written for numerous publications including VICE, The Guardian and The Architectural Review. In 2016, Mark received a talent grant from the Dutch Creative Industries Fund to develop new forms of architecture criticism. He received the Geert Bekaert Award for architecture criticism in 2017 and currently teaches at Amsterdam's Academy of Architecture and Gerrit Rietveld Academy. Within Non-fiction, Mark has worked on exhibitions, programmes, editorial content, research and more.
Wednesday 10 JuneIntroduction to ‘The Smooth City’ and fieldwork.
Thursday 11 JuneTeamwork, discussion and lectures
Friday 12 JuneTeamwork, discussion and lectures
Saturday 13 JunePresentation of the final outcomes, observations and strategies.