Leaving Shanghai – Book Launch

Aitken & Brake, Shanghai Blue (2019)

 

Leaving Shanghai – Book Launch

John van Aitken & Jane Brake

Please join us at the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool, for the launch of the artist book Leaving Shanghai. Focusing on the mega city, this photo-text work is a critical reflection on the elevated city view through encounters with supertall buildings, hotels, observation decks, residential tower blocks, shopping centres and media imagery. Leaving Shanghai considers the spatial politics behind China’s economic success and the atmospheric conditions which affect photography and the air we breathe.

The launch event will include screenings, readings, guest speakers and a discussion about photography and the megacity.

The event is part of LOOK 19 Photo Biennial.

“Finally Got The News” – Radical Documentary

How do workers coordinate a struggle when the bosses and Union are the enemy?

Inspirational radical documentary made in the late 1960’s in association with the League of Revolutionary Black Workers. The film charts the racism and exploitation of black auto workers in Detroit and their attempt to collectivize and gain a voice in their workplace despite the violence and corruption used to suppress them. The League didn’t just see the need for black workers to organise but emphasized the potential power of all the working class.

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Architectures of Displacement – Salford, UK & Guangzhou, China – Temporary Research Space

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IUD archive image. Close up from a council neighbourhood being cleared for private homes. Salford, UK: 2012.

Currently IUD is exhibiting in The Fire and the Rose curated by Tongyu Zhou as part of the Asia Triennial 14. The work is located in the Vertical Gallery, 3rd Floor, Benzie Building , Manchester School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. We have created a Temporary Research Space, an invitation to spend time exploring selected materials from our archive, derived from fieldwork and other research in Salford, UK and Guangzhou, China. Also included are a small sample of related critical and fieldwork texts. The show is on until November 28th.

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Spatial justice and Urban De(re)generation

“Just as none of us are beyond geography, none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography. That struggle is complex and interesting because it is not only about soldiers and cannons but also about ideas, about forms, about images and imaginings.” Edward Said, Culture & Imperialism

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IUD Archive Image. Uneven Development research project. Public space next to a residential neighbourhood being cleared and gentrified with luxury high rise flats. Guangzhou, China: 2013.

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Unbuilding….

unbuiltWe have been thinking a lot about unbuilding as we observe the creative destruction of tower blocks in Salford (see the above photo by IUD on the ground). These demolitions are part of the first phase of a PFI driven gentrification project. In this process many social housing tenants are evicted and their homes replaced with houses and flats for sale on the open market. The demolition industry along with property developers, builders, finance companies and so on benefit from regeneration, which is not really about the provision of better homes but the redistibution of assets, from the poor to the rich. Demolition also functions at a symbolic level, as it rids us of unwanted architectural forms, in this case high rise social housing. The significance of this is not in some failure of the modernist architectural project but the destruction of viable homes and the displacement of the poor. Regeneration in this instance calls for the replacement of unwanted bodies with the healthy bodies of the rich who have money to spend and don’t rely so heavily on council services. In her book Where the Other Half Lives, Sarah Glynn says ” ‘regeneration’ sounds as though it could be a good thing, but it is being used as a Trojan horse for state-sponsored ‘accumulation by dispossession’ on a massive scale”(page 72).

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Detonation Deutschland Diptych by Piero Steinle

 

This is an ongoing selection of resources on unbuilding, rubble, demolition etc.

Julian Rosefeldt and Piero Steinle made a video installation from archival sequences of demolitions called Detonation Deutschland. See the diptych above and more on Piero’s Steinle’s website.

 

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Boulevard Henri IV, Place de la Bastille, demolished section of Paris photographed by Charles Marville 1876.

Photographs made by Charles Marville of the demolition of large sections of Paris by Baron Haussmann. Marville’s work is digitized in the collection of the Musee Carnavalet (search in French only).

Artist Hilary Powell’s work is an exploration of and collaboration with demolition sites, materials and stories    http://demolitionsite.net

Rubble: unearthing the history of demolition, by Jeff Byles and published by Three Rivers Press is a well researched popular history of demolition.

This is an academic paper, which explores the performative properties of asbestos in the demolition process: Inextinguishable fibres: demolition and the vital materialisms of asbestos by Nicky Gregson, Helen Watkins & Melania Calestani, published in Environment & Planning Journal 2010, volume 42.

therubbleclub.com: a club for architects whose creations have been intentionally destroyed during their life time.

10 minute promotional video of back to back demolitions by Controlled Demolition Inc

more to follow….

 

 

 

Randa Mirza

a charming residential buildingThis is an image from Randa Mirza’s project entitled Beirutopia. A series of photographs of billboards showing new developments in Beirut, that are distressed, damaged or otherwise interrupted by the life taking place around them.

See more of Randa Mirza’s work here: http://www.randamirza.com/

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