Öppet seminarium

Urban Futures from Essentials to Experiences - The transformative role of marketplaces in 21st century cities

Datum: 4 juni 2024
Tid: 17:00–18.00 + mingle

Place: The Institute for Futures Studies, Holländargatan 13, Stockholm

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Informality is on the rise. From remote labour and services-on-demand to food trucks and pop-up shops, its transformative power can be seen in new urban relations of producing, consuming and living. The emerging tension between the formal and the informal is nowhere more evident than in struggles over contested urban marketplaces. Urban markets are an everyday source for cheap groceries, for example, linked to an informal economy supporting a large number of people across the globe. At the same time, luxurious farmers markets and curated second-hand sales cater to young professionals, revealing an aesthetic quality to informality that promotes specific urban desires and experiences.

Welcome to a book seminar expanding on this juncture. With multi-layered visual analyses of markets - from Bangkok’s Saphan Lek to New York’s Brooklyn Flea, researchers Peter Mörtenböck and Helge Mooshammer reveal the obscured connections between informal trade, neoliberal governance and urban development in the new book IN/FORMAL Marketplaces: Experiments with Urban Reconfiguration. What are the motivations, practices and effects of the rise of informality? Drawing on the research of Maryam Fanni, among others, how can this phenomenon be understood in the specific Swedish context?

The seminar further explores these questions in connection with Benjamin Gerdes’s research project Ghost Platform, considering urban markets as highly visible hubs of activity inside broader labour practices and infrastructures for the movement of goods, persons, and data that, in contrast, remain largely invisible. How then might the assembled case studies provide visual research methods that uniquely engage the emergent architectural and urban configurations of the formal-informal linkages at the heart of these dynamics?

Maryam Fanni is a Stockholm-based designer, educator and PhD student in Design at HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design, University of Gothenburg.

Helge Mooshammer is a cultural theorist and architect based at Vienna University of Technology and Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Peter Mörtenböck is Professor of Visual Culture at the Vienna University of Technology and research fellow at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Benjamin Gerdes is an artist, researcher, and organizer working in video, film, and related public formats, and currently project leader of “Ghost Platform: Generating the "Complex Image" of Data, Labour, and Logistics” at the Institute for Futures Studies.

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