June – July 2014

Art/Work Association invites you to join in a series of investigative seminars on urban development and its relationship with art and the creative industries. Through a series of thematic lectures and discussions, the group will explore the intersections of housing, gentrification, public space, and large-scale urban development through the lens of artistic production.

The series takes its name from the January 1980 ‘Real Estate Show’ on the Lower East Side of New York City, where a group of artists organised an exhibition in a derelict city-owned building, targeting the problems of landlord speculation and spatial inequality. Evicted almost immediately by the police, the exhibition and its demise drew huge support from the art community and ignited a conversation about the struggle of artists in (and for) the city. In London 2014, the cultural land war continues, but the forms and dimensions of this confrontation have changed. Artists, designers, and their upwardly mobile colleagues in the creative industries are not only the catalysts of regeneration by their housing choices, it is their very working patterns, values, and lifestyle which have been incorporated into new multi-use urban masterplanning. But as the velocity and techniques of urban development have changed, the critical response from within art discourse has struggled to keep pace.

The question for us now is how, as artists and creative professionals, can we begin to build a vocabulary through which to articulate a collective position? Working through a series of readings within and around planning theory, art activism, marketing and think-tank documents, art history and criticism, these seminars will attempt to unpack the complicated but important and material relationship between creative practice, value creation, and the processes of urban land and real estate development.

Taking place in the Auto Italia’s space at King’s Cross, this series of seminars will initially consist of four sessions oriented around specific readings, supplemented by a public discussion with the artist Nils Norman in conversation with writer Anna Minton. The schedule will also cross-over with The London Conference in Critical Thought at Goldsmiths College, where there will be a number of relevant panels in the stream ‘Street Level: Towards a Critical Discourse on Urban Aesthetics’.

27th – 28th June 2014

-Critical Aesthetics: roundtable w/ Tim Ivison, Harry Weeks, Isaac Marrero-Guillamón

-Artists and the Property Market, w/ Kirsten Forkert, Silvie Jacobi, and Paul Pieroni