Fall 2015

Urban Imaginaries
Issue 5 | Fall 2015
Editorial - Imagined Cities [Joana Mayer]

guest artist | Pedro Magalhães

articles

Revisiting Constant´s New Babylon. City Surfaces and Saturation 
[Mallorie Chase]
Abstract | Citizens in post-industrial societies are divided into art makers and art owners, reified by certain mechanisms, specifically, the capitalist co-optation of visual culture, which tacitly reminds us of the goods we have yet to consume or the ideals we do not reflect. City surfaces are saturated with images that conflate the spatial and temporal dimensions of consumption. Such a class fracture between makers and owners reveals itself in language and in space; the way we describe “decoration” as an additive gesture, or refer to craft projects as “hobbies” and the way we schedule time to “visit art” at museums. Under what conditions could art and life absolutely coalesce? How could citizens generate and own all visual culture? By revisiting Constant Nieuwenhuys’s New Babylon project, this paper will address the city as a frame for creative adaptation over time. Saturation can actually serve as a radical architectural tool to repair dissociated citizenship. New Babylon envisioned uninterrupted but ornate processes of urban drift that were closely linked with Guy Debord and L’Internationale Situationniste. This demands we ask questions about superficiality as well as the responsibilities for architecture in future societies and to interpret the surface as a crucial site for revolution.
Keywords | surface architecture, the ephemeral, utopian urbanism, Constant Nieuwenhuys, Situationist International

Green Day´s Jesus of Suburbia. (De-)constructing identities in the land of make-believe
[Sónia Pereira]
Abstract | In 2004, when Green Day released their album American Idiot, the long-term effects of 9/11 were still unfolding across America and the world at large. With the prevailing discourse of the war on terror serving the purposes of implementing a culture of fear and constraining the possibilities of voices of dissent being heard, the main musical response, as far as mainstream genres are concerned, was unsurprisingly one of deference, much more so than critique. Green Day, however, summoned up the conception of punk rock as a genre that has always privileged rebellious and confrontational stances and recorded an album conceived as a rock-opera that chronicles the life and times of a disaffected youth in post-9/11 America through the ventures of a protagonist named Jesus of Suburbia. Through a close reading of the song “Jesus of Suburbia”, and tackling such concepts as Bauman’s postmodern wanderer, Augé’s non-places of supermodernity and Soja’s postmetropolis, this paper analyses how the narrative of American Idiot depicts life in the contemporary cityspace.
Keywords | Green Day, 9/11, punk rock, genre, identity, suburbia

In Search of Lost Cities. Imagined Geographies and the Allure of the Fake
[Siobhan Lyons]
Abstract | Despite audiences being aware of the way in which popular culture frames and invents history, places and people, these representations inevitably impinge on a viewer’s initial conception of various global landscapes and features, particularly the nature of an urban environment so often depicted through the lens of popular culture. It has been well established that the disparity between one’s expectations and the reality of a city’s layout and feel is stark, and that tourists are often confronted with the reality of a city. These episodes of touristic disillusionment stem from a fairly basic departure from romanticised images that circulate throughout the media and popular culture as ‘reality’, creating phenomena such as the ‘Paris Syndrome’ in which tourists express despair at a city’s realistic environment. In these instances, the imagined city – created by recycled media images and a person’s own psychological mapping – gives way to reality, but does not completely diminish. Instead, tourists often seek alternate destinations that substitute or even imitate real cities, fully aware of the staged authenticity of such sites. This paper interrogates how such images of a city are constructed in the first place, and examines the subsequent response of tourists who continuously seek what Umberto Eco calls the ‘hyperreal’ landscape in place of the real city.
Keywords | imagined city, tourism, hyperreal, authenticity, fake, popular culture

A Praça do Martim Moniz e o Mercado de Fusão. Contributos para a análise dos conceitos de cosmpolitismo e cidadania cultural em políticas urbanas
[Matilde Vieira Caldas]
Abstract| The use of complex and often polemic concepts such as multiculturalism, intercultural dialogue, cosmopolitanism and cultural citizenship has been growing in the urban policy debate amongst public institutions in Lisbon. Based on the particular case of the redevelopment of Praça do Martim Moniz this paper aims to understand how these concepts are shaping this debate and how they translate into specific urban policies. Amid these policies, cultural diversity has been often referred as a synonym of cosmopolitanism and regarded as a crucial resource for the city’s global competitive position. However, in the process of internationally promoting the city of Lisbon, it is important to discuss the relations between cultural diversity and the mediation role played by public institutions, gentrification phenomenon and marketing strategies, and question whether these may jeopardize the social dimension implied by the concept of cultural citizenship.
Keywords| cultural diversity, cosmopolitanism, cultural citizenship, urban policies, Lisbon

special feature

Cities in the Making: social movements, neo-liberal urbanism and critical practies. A conversation with Margit Mayer 
[Joana Mayer]

interviews

Destruição-regeneração-expansão. Entrevista com Alexandre Farto AKA Vhils
[Ana Cristina Cachola & Joana Mayer]

On Imagination and the City. Interview with Zhang Dali
[Beatriz Hernández & Tânia Ganito]

book reviews

Structures of Feeling. Affectivity and the Study of Culture | Devika Sharma & Frederik Tygstrup
[Bryan Norton]

The Ironic Spectator. Solidarity in the Age of Post-Humanitarianism | Lilie Chouliaraki
[Elizabeth Lowry]