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Cities
Abigale Neate Wilson curated programme + Douglas Murphy in conversation

Thu 9 March — Sat 11 March 2017

“Although I can see how beautiful anything could be if only I change it, in practically every case there is nothing I can really do. Everything is changed into something else in my imagination, then the dead weight of things changes it back into what it was in the first place. A bridge between imagination and reality must be built.” - Raoul Vaneigem

Guest curator Abigale Neate Wilson presents a two-part screening programme exploring the visions of future cities articulated through film. Either Utopic landscapes of technological harmony or overcrowded assemblages of architecture – these visions form important parts of our collective urban consciousness; defining our failures either already realised or yet to come.

On 9 March, Neate Wilson will screen Paul Bush’s Babeldom. The tower of Babel is one of the first impossible cities to be described in literature. A tower built to reach the vault of the heavens, it symbolises the equivalence of architectural progress with that of godliness - an act deemed punishable by God. In the Hebrew version of the myth, the structure of the tower is so important that the loss of a builder is un-mourned, whilst the loss of a brick garners a funeral as it would take a year to replace it. Bush’s animated film uses photography of some of the largest cities in the world, including London, Dubai, Berlin, Shanghai and Osaka to build an image of Babel as a conceptual future city, ornamented by data visualisation from recent scientific research in nanotechnology. The macro feeds into the micro as the future is represented by its mythological past.

On 11 March, Neate Wilson will present the idea of the ‘end’ of architecture. Looking back to the utopian promises of the 20th Century, the dross reality of the present describes no element of grandiose achievement. Instead we face a steady descent into a more frightening prospect of dilapidation, scarcity and conflict. As we surpass the futures envisioned by our predecessors, we are lead to question what can be learnt from their failed predictions. A screening of Patrick Keiller's The End will be followed by a conversation with writer and architect Douglas Murphy, Author of the books ‘Last Futures’ and ‘The Architecture of Failure’. This event will include BSL interpretation.