conference _ INFORMAL CITIES

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“Informal Cities,” symposium in collaboration with and hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, October 24, 2010.

Eisenschmidt organized the symposium with participating speakers: Daniela Fabricius, Jiang Jun, Jesse LeCavalier. The symposium is prompted by the exhibition Urban China, curated by Jiang Jun who is editor of the China-base magazine of the same name. The event sets out to detect global perspectives on the informal, not bound to a particular geography, economy, or period but, instead, defining the informal/formless city as a condition that is with us everywhere. It implies that the “informal” is always part of that strange environment we call “city.”

Lecture Excerpts: … For Benjamin, the courtyard was the realm of invention and the radio was the gadget to establish connections. Some 50 years later, a group of youngsters would find residual spaces in factories and run-down apartment buildings.

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They called themselves “UFO” and would over-night set up sound-systems, fog-machines, and stroboscope-lights, informing via telephone some friends that in turn would inform other friends, resulting in the first Techno happenings. Constantly shifting location and so evading the authorities, the UFO concept was simple, “you lift up and landed somewhere.”

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below: cover designs for Urban China magazine (courtesy of Jiang Jun)

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below: image from the exhibition Urban Chicago at the MCA in Chicago (courtesy of Jiang Jun)

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