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Cities Reading Group Martha Rosler: Culture Class: Art, Creativity, Urbanism, Part I

Wed 9 November 2016

Cities Reading Group

Reading Group and discussion hosted by CCA Curator Ainslie Roddick

Martha Rosler's text has been selected for the fourth reading group in this programme since it has an overview of many of the things we've talked about in previous groups and screenings, focusing more specifically on issues surrounding art and artists, mobility, gentrification, New Town movements and spatial discrimination. If you havent attended any other event in the programme please don't worry - previous attendance is not neccessary or a requirement for the discussion.

This discussion might centre around the idea of the flaneur, or derive as an activist and artistic strategy, but it will also act as an introduction to Martha Rosler's work and practice, which assesses many hidden processes and histories of the everyday and civic space.

With reference to Le Corbusier, Jean Luc Godard, Henri Lefebrve and the Situationists International, it guides us through a history of artistic, philosophical responses to urban space to explore what makes the city such a ‘successful’ construct. Over the past few decades, artists—and more broadly, clusters of creative people—have become central to narratives of urban revitalisation and civic growth in cities around the world. In many locales, artists in search of cheap rent constitute the vanguard wedge of gentrification. Yet the so-called creative class includes whole categories of knowledge workers enjoying far less precarious conditions than artists, and it is their affluence that continually leads to the displacement of both working-class residents and artists alike. In the creative city, the branding of subcultural movements, the translation of the gritty into the quaint, and the professionalisation of the arts combine to produce a user-friendly social interface dressed in the trappings of former bohemian artistic milieus.

How do we confront the soft violence of an urban landscape that adapts itself to successive booms and busts by dissolving or willfully suppressing class distinctions to the point of amnesia? Has a contradiction emerged between the declared politics of artists and their actual role in flows of global capital that course through biennials and art fairs? Can we take the broad commitment of so many artists to the Occupy movement as a signal of their desire to mobilize and redirect their energies back toward social justice?

Martha Rosler is an artist who works with multiple media, including photography, sculpture, video, and installation. Her interests are centered on the public sphere and landscapes of everyday life—actual and virtual—especially as they affect women.

Please visit the Facebook page for the event for further discussion. Participants should ideally read the essay - Martha Rosler: Culture Class: Art, Creativity, Urbanism, Part I before coming along. It can be found here.




6pm, Free (unticketed), Clubroom
All ages
0141 352 4900