Semester overview

mandatory assignments

  1. create a wiki profile of yourself (before class on 11th Feb) Include a picture and link your presentation page to the students page on this wiki by making the "students" page a 'parent' to your own page. See how to do this here
  2. make a subjective map of Århus with inspiration from psychogeography. The map must make visible something invisible, hidden or secret - that is, display something we don't normally pay attention to. I showed a few examples in class - please consult my slides (found in FirstClass) if in doubt. This is an individual assignment - two of you expressed a wish to team up due to the nature of the map and I agreed to that. If anyone else wish to team up, please seek permission from me first as this is supposed to be a personal view on Århus, displaying the diversity of perceptions. Link to or upload a picture of it on your personal page on this wiki. See how to work with pictures on the wiki here.
  3. document and analyze a place marked by hybrid space. See details here
  4. Make an “audio-stand” (my term). Find a place that you find interesting (maybe the place communicates something) and communicate it to the rest of us in a soundbite; max 30 secs. You can record with your mobile phone, your computer or a third thing. If you have access to mixing equipment, feel free to design and mix the soundbite, but I do not expect more than a 30 sec soundbite that clearly communicates a place. Submit it in the dedicated folder “assignment 4” in the FirstClass conference of this course before 17th March @15:00. Name the file after the convention: <yourname>_<location>.<filetype> - e.g. lone_nettosupermarket.mp3
  5. Make and perform a .walk and swap with another group. See more here. Due Tuesday 21 April @15.00
  6. Create a mis-guide in order for us all to create a full Mis-guide of Aarhus. Details here Due before/in class 22 April

Semester plan

All teaching takes place in room 212 on Wednesdays 11AM - 2PM
Readings marked with # need to be retrieved from the URL provided. Access free or via www.statsbiblioteket.dk (you can also access them all if you are on the university network with your laptop).
All other readings are found in the reading pack, which can be bought (DKK 92) at Stakbogladen, the campus book store. The reading pack also contains a few texts that are not in the semester plan - they are included for reference and I will tell you when it will be good to read them as well.

- MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE -

4 Feb: What is a city?

Introduction to the course. How can one characterize a city and how can one think about designing cities? What does it mean to say “city” or “urban area”?

  • Marling, Gitte (2007), “Why Leave the City on Holidays”, in Gitte Marling and Martin Zerlang (eds.), Fun City (Skive: The Danish Architectural Press), 36-55. [on how cities are becoming sites for entertainment and experiences]
  • #Sherill, Kerrick “Unite d’Habitation. – A Vertical Garden City” http://karrick-studio3.blogspot.com/2008/04/precedent-analysis-unite-dhabitation.html [a brief introductory essay on the architect Le Corbusier and his “Unité d’habitation”, a revolutionary way of designing cities in the 1950s]
  • Koolhaas, Rem (1998[1995]) “The Generic City.” In Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large, edited by Rem Koolhaas, Bruce Mau, Hans Werleman and Jennifer Sigler, New York: Monacelli, 1248-64. [Not a very easy read but focus on answering the question: what characterizes the generic city? What would be the opposite? Which are the parameters that Koolhaas uses to talk about the nature of cities whether they are postmodern and generic or not?] Can also be found online: http://www.uni-weimar.de/cms/uploads/media/Koolhaas__generic_city_sm_2up.pdf

Mandatory assignment: present yourself on the wiki (to be submitted the day before next week’s class)

8 + 9 Feb: The conference “Sousveillance. The Art of Inverse Surveillance”

We all participate in the conference on sousveillance – or, artistic approaches to discussing and maybe even inverting the surveillance already happening everywhere. Sunday is a day of public performances, Monday is a day of lectures and artist presentations. See the full program at: http://www.digitalurbanliving.dk/sousveillance
Also note that the very interesting urban performance group Ludic Society holds city walks etc starting at the art museum ARoS on Saturday 7th February. More on http://www.aros.dk (currently this particular info is in Danish only)

11 Feb: Exploring Alternative City Structures

On how the Situationists focused on critiquing established notions of the cityscape in the 1960s by seeking ways to explore and create alternative structures.

  • Sadler, Simon (1998), The situationist city (Cambridge Mass. ; London: MIT Press), 69-103.
  • Debord, Guy-Ernest (2006 [1955]+[1958]+[1959]), “Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography” + “Theory of the Dérive” + “Détournement as Negation and Prelude”, in Ken Knabb (ed.), Situationist International anthology (Berkeley, Calif.: Bureau of Public Secrets), 8-12+62-66+67-68. All three texts can also be found on <http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/index.htm>

Mandatory assignment: make a personal map of Århus (to be submitted the day before next week’s class)

18 Feb: Intervening in the City

On contemporary attempts to make use of new technologies in order to intervene in ordinary ways of living.

  • Rheingold, Howard (2002), “Smart mobs: the next social revolution”, introduction + chapter 1 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus Publishing), vi-29.
  • #Nicholson, Judith A. (2005), “Flash! Mobs in the Age of Mobile Connectivity”, Fibreculture Journal, (6). http://journal.fibreculture.org/issue6/issue6_nicholson.html
  • (optional but a fun and interesting read) Goffman, Erving (1963), "Behavior in Public Places", 31-88

25 Feb: Hybrid Space

On how the urban landscape is more than bricks and mortar; how do new technologies influence spatial structures and how do we perceive space as also consisting of immaterial matter?

Mandatory assignment: Find a place marked by hybrid space in one of the versions we’ve been through in the class on Hybrid Space. Explain in max 500 words how it is a hybrid space. Include quote(s) from one/several of the readings for today and/or next week (space-place) in your argument. Document the place in pictures, video and/or sound. See more here (to be submitted the day before next week’s class)

4 March: Spaces and Places

On how a location is not just a set of coordinates: how do our experiences of the city intertwine with our understanding of the concrete structures.

  • Certeau, Michel de (2002 [1984]), “The practice of everyday life”, trans. Steven Rendall (Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press), 91-110.
  • #Wilken, Rowan (2005), “From Stabilitas Loci to Mobilitas Loci: Networked Mobility and the Transformation of Place”, Fibreculture Journal, (6). http://journal.fibreculture.org/issue6/issue6_wilken.html
  • Lefebvre, Henri (1991 [1974]), “The production of space” (Oxford, OX, UK ; Cambridge, Mass., USA: Blackwell), 1-67 in the reading pack, focus on pp 26-33 and regard the rest as optional and for reference. [not an easy read. Lefebvre is considered the ‘father’ of place-space-theory]

11 March: Listening to the City

On creating auditory experiences of the city scape; on audiowalks and soundscapes.

  • #Butler, Toby (2006), “A walk of art: the potential of the sound walk as practice in cultural geography”, Social & Cultural Geography, 7 (6), 889 - 908. http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/14649360601055821 ISSN: 1464-9365
  • #Pinder, David (2001), “Ghostly Footsteps: Voices, Memories and Walks in the City”, Cultural Geographies, 8 (1), 1-19. http://cgj.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/8/1/1 ISSN 1474-4740
  • Schafer, R. Murray (1973), “The music of the environment”, Cultures, 1 (1), 15-51.
  • download and perform this soundwalk made by students in a class I taught last year: Speed of Sound-walk

Mandatory assignment: Make an “audio-stand”. Find a place that you find interesting (maybe the place communicates something) and communicate it to the rest of us in a soundbite; max 30 secs. (to be submitted the day before next week’s class)

18 March: Portable Sounds and Voices

On what it means to carry your own communication world with you in a small device when roaming the city.

In case the links to Bull don't work: Go through State Library (http://www.statsbiblioteket.dk/search/showrecord.jsp?record_id=etss_0261-4367) Choose either one of the options. Login if need be (your State Library code) and go to Volume 24, issue 4 (2005)

25 March: Locations and Technologies

On how locations are mediated through technologies and what this all means.

1 April: Reading the city - performing and creating an alternative perspective on Contemporary Cities

On how contemporary/modern cities are 'read', critiqued and re-invented through performative 'writing'-actions.

  • #Borden, Iain. 1998. “A Performative Critique of the American City: the Urban Practice of Skateboarding, 1958-1998”. Paper presented at Urban Space and Representation colloquium, Nottingham, UK. http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/3cities/confnott.htm
  • Venturi, Robert, Brown, Denise Scott, & Izenour, Steven (1977), “Learning from Las Vegas the forgotten symbolism or architectural form” (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press). (excerpt)
  • Vinegar, Aron (2008), "I Am a Monument" (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press) (excerpt)

Find the Venturi et al. and the Vinegar texts here (link valid for 7 days only). Study the Venturi et al. figures/drawings thoroughly (we will be 'reproducing' them on a bit of Århus). The Vinegar text is snipped from around the book but even if some of the text is missing its context, focus on what the text excerpt says in itself as this is the important part. Also very important to study the figures/drawings.

15 April: Agency and Performativity

On ways to explore the unknown and the known.

Mandatory assignment: In groups of three: make and perform a .walk. Then swap your .walk description with another group and perform it. Document your own .walk performance on a map and document your performance of the other group’s .walk in four pictures. (to be submitted the day before next week’s class). Details found here.

22 April: Mis-guiding

On how to re-interpret the Situationist practice in contemporary urban environments

Mandatory assignment: Make a guide to a mis-guide as if it were a page in a mis-guide to Aarhus. Make it in the spirit of Mis-guide to Anywhere. Details found here.

29 April: Technologizing Space + outro

On how the city is augmented and on how these strategies are or are not indebted to the situationist movement.



what could have turned into a class but has now been discarded

Invisible City Structures

On all those communications structures that we never see even though we experience them every day and all the time.

Mandatory assignment: Find a normally invisible structure in Århus and document it in pictures and a few lines of text explaining what we see. (to be submitted the day before THIS week’s class)

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