Grand Gestures: Planning, Contingency and the Image of the Modern City
eikones NFS Bildkritik, Rheinsprung 11, CH – 4051 Basel, March 9 – May 30, 2016
From Brasilia to Boston, from Bucharest to Chandigarh, Grand Gestures are not the same as the Great Deeds they were intended to become.
Whereas the Great Deed is a retrospective historical construct, the Grand Gesture is a projective fantasy, a performance in which the
intention never determines the result, and agency is not necessarily synonymous with sovereignty. The discrepancy between plan and result,
which characterises the phenomena in question, gives rise to skepticism about the historiographic category of intentionality, for the sheer
scale of such projects mutates them into enterprises that cannot be controlled by individual authors, but rather entail a multiplicity of
actors—each with their own entanglements and interests.
This lecture series asks prominent contemporary scholars to illuminate the history of interventions that have attempted to reimagine the
modern city. This investigation is not limited to the circulation of mass media images that are produced to further grandiose visions, for
even a preliminary consideration of the phenomena exposes dynamics that we cannot reduce to mere effects of the mediated city. Rather, the raw
dimensions of such a great enterprise often results in a substantial transformation of those material and social conditions under which the
plan was originally conceived. This lecture series will therefore ultimately attempt to address the material and iconographic agency of
architecture, and how it might perturb the real, imaginary and symbolic economies of the city.
Konzept: Stefan Neuner, Adam Jasper Smith, Pathmini Ukwattage
4. April 2016 – 18.15 Uhr
Fallen Cities: Architecture and Reconstruction
25. April 2016 – 18.15 Uhr
Sonnenberg: Dark Days Ahead
9. Mai 2016 – 18.15 Uhr
Le Corbusier and the Banlieues
24. Mai 2016 – 20.00 Uhr
Seminarraum 201, Rheinsprung 9
30. Mai 2016 – 18.15 Uhr
Speculation and Spectacle: Oil and Modernization in Kuwait
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