Last Wednesday, the 28th of August Auto Italia hosted an event as part of the Recent Work By Artists exhibition featuring Mute editor Anthony Iles and myself discussing the intersections of art and urban development. Anthony gave an account of the impact that the concept of the ‘creative city’ and creative regeneration has had on London, picking up on some of the salient themes in the book he co-wrote with Josephine Berry Slater, ‘No Room To Move: Radical Art and the Regenerate City’. I added a short history of the King’s Cross development, focusing on the planning politics and the evolving notion of the space of work. What followed was a lively debate on the economic and political situation of development in London and a number of different opinions on where we go from here. As a way to keep this conversation going, I have begun a reading list on AAAAARG that includes a number of the texts that informed my initial interest in the topic and others that I have discovered in the last few weeks researching the subject. Please feel free to suggest other readings and if anyone is interested in starting a discussion group around these themes, I would be happy to help organise. Thanks to everyone who came to the event!
The Real Estate Show: Readings in Art and Urban Development
‘Artists are the vanguard of real estate’, or so I was told at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago by an enthusiastic agent during a life skills workshop offering legal, financial, and career advice. Of course, the truth of this statement is also the source of its discomfort. Artists and creative professionals have indeed played an important role in the last few decades of urban land speculation, especially in the fields of urban renewal, gentrification, and large scale urban development schemes. The stereotypical ‘struggling artists’ and their search for cheap rent and studio space are now a founding myth of the transformation of blighted urban centres. Add to this the integration of the studio aesthetic and the fetishisation of ‘creativity’ in the very design of the dot-com boom and you have an urban designer’s recipe for the creative class and their metropolitan ascendancy.
But if the ideology of Richard Florida seems to have been handily debunked in the last few cynical years of the economic downturn, it seems that the relationship between cultural producers, art organisations, and the large-scale and long-term forces of urban planning and policy are still on the periphery of critical discourse, much less action. Save a few notable exceptions, the geography of the culture industry is a topic that has yet to make a dent in the syllabi of studio art, design, or architecture programmes, the graduates of which are destined to become the subjects, if not the very protagonists, of these transformations. Meanwhile, artists and creative professionals –wrapped up with everything ‘green’ and ‘vibrant’– have become central to the thinking and design of urban plans, community outreach, and policy guidance for corporate and government strategists.
The question for us seems to be, how to get perspective on such a complex dynamic from within? How can we begin to build a vocabulary through which to discuss and articulate our positions? Working through a non-linear set of readings within and around planning theory, art activism, marketing and think-tank documents, art history and criticism, these readings will attempt to unpack the complicated but entirely legible and direct relationship between creative practice, value creation, and the processes of urban land and real estate development.
- Tim Ivison
Our space is open 12-6 Wed-Sun, so if you’re looking for a tranquil yet energising work space, come and pop in for a few hours – you’ll never want to leave again. The Recent Work by Artists space caters for a wide variety of today’s working demands with an open-plan work island, japanese-style tables, insulated supportive mats, WiFi, a screen for private phone calls and organically shaped sofa corners.
Too much work? Come to enjoy the greenery, water features, calming blue surroundings and custom picked reading material.
For updates on the space you can follow the #dailydesk feature on our new instagram profile @autoitalialive dedicated to the show.
Get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to spend some time here!
See you soon
The Real Estate Show: A Discussion on Art and Urban Development, featuring Anthony Iles in Conversation
Wed, August 28th, Anthony Iles in conversation with Tim Ivison, 7pm
|We’re pleased to present The Real Estate Show: A Discussion on Art and Urban Development, an event taking place as part of the current exhibition, Recent Work by Artists.|
|Artist Tim Ivison will lead a discussion investigating the conditions of artistic labour, with a site-specific conversation on the topic of contemporary art in culture-led regeneration and planning with invited guest Anthony Iles. The event will address the recent history of large-scale development in London, the impact of government arts policy, and the political and aesthetic impacts these have on art and artists working in the city today.Anthony Iles is Deputy Editor of Mute, co-author, with Josephine Berry Slater, of No Room to Move: Radical Art and the Regenerate City, co-editor, with Mattin, of Noise & Capitalism, writes fiction and non-fiction, and screens films with Full Unemployment Cinema.|
The event is free but booking is essential as space is limited.
As part of Recent Work by Artists, a book club will take place to discuss W.R. Bion’s text Experiences in Groups.
From Arctic field work, to astronaut training, to living in communes, and working in offices, W.R. Bion’s psychoanalytical text, Experiences in Groups (1961) has been widely used to try and better understand group dynamics. Beyond the text’s significance for the field of psychoanalysis, it is the broadly applicable nature of its findings and the impact that it has had in the most challenging group working conditions that make it the focal text of our six-week collaborative environment.
The book club will be a network for those interested in group work. Please join us to share your group working experiences and to discuss the nature of group work and living experiments through Bion’s text.
If you are interested in taking part in the reading group, please contact Auto Italia on email@example.com for more information.
Experiences in Groups, is on display at Auto Italia over the course of the show.
RECENT WORK BY ARTISTS:
We’re busy designing the space for our new commission Recent Work by Artists in collaboration with Tim Ivison+Julia Tcharfas, George Moustakas and Rachel Pimm. Our work space is slowly transforming into a productivity stimulating oasis for artistic labour including refreshments and greenery!
Throughout the show the collectively designed space will be our daily work environment with events and discussions, supplemented by refreshments and environmental controls selected for productivity. The show will end with a catalogue of work, both performed and produced.
Come along to the opening this Friday, 26th 7-9pm !