[urban interfaces] seminar 2021-2022: “The Magic City”

THE MAGIC CITY: Of technorationality and spiritual futures – [urban interfaces] Graduate seminar 2021-2022

Dates: 5 April, 26 April and 10 May
Time and Venue: see below
Credits: 3 ECTS (for RMa Students and PhD Candidates only, MA students are welcome to participate, but are not eligible for credits). The seminar series is open to (R)Ma students and PhD candidates
Organized by: http://urbaninterfaces.sites.uu.nl. Prof. dr Nanna Verhoeff, Dr Michiel de Lange and Dr. Sigrid Merx
More information: urbaninterfaces[at]uu.nl
Registration will open February 21, 2022

Modern and technical solutions to complex social problems have long configured urban imaginaries. Planners, designers, and policymakers have embraced the notion of the “smart city” to reshape urban life into a gentrified wonderland for the rich. More often than not, supposedly ‘smart’ technologies are presented as simple solutions to wicked problems, making them disappear as if by magic. But as smart cities developed, a growing number of theorists, activists, and curators have embraced more speculative and imaginative notions of magic, in order to open up a deliberately unreal what-if space for collective fantasizing about urban futures. Magical thinking in this sense, then, can provide a healthy antidote to Modernist hopes and projections of being able to govern cities by means of (quantified) rational managerialism.

This seminar brings together scholars, artists, and designers who have productively explored these “magical” modes of thinking in their work. In embracing the dreamlike, the mystical, and the irrational as central concepts, the Magic City seminar series inspires us to think about urban life and culture along trajectories that move away from – or reimagine – quantifiable and commodified technological solutions. Practices of healing and cosmic consciousness are rather approached as alternative ways of knowing that could offer new ways of relating to the planet in distress, and of strengthening urban life as an inclusive, diverse, and imaginative community.

The seminar is organized by the [urban interfaces] research group at Utrecht University.
Seminar website: https://urbaninterfaces.sites.uu.nl/seminars/the-magic-city-urban-interfaces-graduate-seminar-2021-2022/
On this website we will post the updated program and seminar syllabus.

1) 5 april 2022 15:00 – 17:00
2) 26 april 2022 15:00 – 17:00
3) 10 mei 2022 14:00 – 17:00 + drinks

Venue: MCW Lab, Kromme Nieuwegracht 20 (theater space downstairs), Utrecht.

Research Master students can acquire 3 ECTS for the seminar, if they write an illustrated blogpost of about 1000 words for each seminar session (3 in total). The best blogposts are selected for publication on the [urban interfaces] website urbaninterfaces.net.