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Visual Conversations on Urban Futures; Designing Tamara (workshop)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesPublic Lecture/ Debate/Seminar


“Designing Tamara” was a Visual Conversations on Urban Futures (VCUF) workshop that took place at the “Musing inside Systems” event at Chelsea College of Art (https://baisd.wordpress.com/?s=musing), with about 140 students in attendance. Visual Conversations on Urban Futures are processes and artefacts that utilise visual language to enable and/or document polyphonies of voices that imagine and debate possible futures for life in the city (https://subjectivefutures.wordpress.com/). The workshop was intended as a playful way of engaging participants to reflect on collaborative city-imaginaries: what are the forces and dynamics that shape the city? What are the challenges? Can visions of possible futures have a role in supporting democratic dialogues? Tamara is one of the imaginary cities described in Italo Calvino’s book “Invisible Cities”. Through a description of this fictional city, Calvino reflects on the role of all the signs that can be found in the city as symbolic representations of material and social practices. “Your gaze scans the streets as if they were written pages: the city says everything you must think, makes you repeat her discourse, and while you believe you are visiting Tamara, you are only recording the manes with which she defines herself and her parts” (Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities. 1972) Our workshop is not an attempt to design a realistic city (of course!), but a way of talking about values, visions, futures, and aspirations by making these visible and tangible.

External organisation (Fee funding body)

NameUniversity of the Arts London