The last year in India was full of scams, corruption charges, leaked telephone conversations, privacy debates, and protests against farcical court judgements. And all that made me think how ‘immapancy’, a lack of geographic knowledge, plays a deep role in facilitating corruption and scams, in preserving secrecy. The term ‘immapancy’ has been put into action recently by Kai Krause in his wonderful visual outrage against the distorted cartographic portrayal of the continent of Africa. Krause’s definition of ‘immapancy’ as “insufficient geographical knowledge”, however seems insufficient. Geographies and geographic knowledge are produced through social (and political) processes — so are unknown-geographies and lack-of-geographic-knowledge.
Isle of Tune is a new city-building game with a musical twist. You start by designing the city with various elements (road sections, and road-side elements like houses, trees, flower pots and street lights) and put cars on the road. When the cars pass these road-side elements, it plays a certain tune or beat. The elements come with a choice of sounds it can make (and some other options like delayed play or double play of the sound) but not all elements can produce the same sounds. So the challenge is to design the best sounding city!
The third Urban Typhoon workshop was recently organized in Khirkee Village, New Delhi. Khirkee used to be peri-urban village on the South of Delhi, but in the last decades the expanding city has engulfed the village and a big shopping mall and planned housing development sit right next to the village. The workshop, jointly organized by URBZ and Khoj, invited:
… artists, architects, activists and academics from all over the world to ideate with residents, grassroots groups and other users of Khirkee Village, New Delhi. The event aims at reclaiming the locality by collectively generating multiple ideas, visions and plans for its future.
The exhibition named ‘The Last Newspaper’, underway at The New Museum, New York since the last month, is extensively looking at the history of newspaper practices.
It locates the newspaper within a globalised network of information flows, and competing forms of information surfaces (walls, screens, pads etc.), and looks in to the technological history of newspaper production to gather stories of an aged and technologically-rigid medium, which is increasingly dependent on other media forms for its content and distribution.
The big word these days seems to be ‘sedition’. In India, the right wing political organisations and a part of the national media are asking for ‘sedition’ charges to be clamped on Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Arundhati Roy in the context of an apparently anti-national speech at a meeting on justice for Kashmir, while a Fox News editorial argues for WikiLeaks to be declared an ‘enemy combatant’ so as to allow for ‘non-judicial action’ against it. ‘Sedition’ is not only about words, or suggestions for political mobilisation, or whistle-blowing. It is also about seditious dressing, seditious culture, seditious movements, and of course seditious cities.
Photo: ‘Bornschein’ (Flickr)
The champion of ‘the street is my gallery’ and large-scale in-your-face projections of the ‘hidden’ urban moments and emotion, JR , is the winner of the TED Prize 2011. He began his journey in Paris and, among many other urban art projects, undertook neighborhood-scale installations in Rio de Janeiro, and put portraits of Palestinians and Israelis ‘face to face’ on the walls of several cities of the region. Recently, a documentary film about his portrait project on the courage of women in/against conflicts, was screened at the the Cannes Film Festival 2010.