'Extemporaneous Cities', is the overriding title under which Mixité, Marta Carrasco and Sergi Selvas (DAI 2017), present a public course in the framework of Inter-Accions. It consists of 6 different sessions, led by a.o. Nikos Doulos (DAI, 2008) and Despina Sevasti (DAI, 2017).

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Extemporaneous Cities is taking off in Barcelona with contributions by Nikos Doulos (DAI, 2008), Eva Marichalar-Freixa, Tihomir Viderman, Jaime Palomera, Miguel Georgieff, Carla Boserman (Barcelona), Despina Sevasti (DAI, 2017), Roger Sansi, Sabine Popp, Gabriela Navas, Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga.

Mixité is a collective project directed by Marta Carrasco and Sergi Selvas (DAI, 2017) from which they develop transversal projects that promote the proactive role of the community from the participation-action research and the collective pedagogy.

Extemporaneous, from Latin ex tempore (out of time), refers to the construction of public discourse, which by the conditions with which it is delivered, it requires certain improvisation. The theory is often implemented in contexts that require certain adaptability to be able to respond successfully to its needs. In this way, contemporary cities as a natural space of revolutionary gazes will force a thoughtful but improvised approach that facilitates the resilient construction of another city.

In this context, this course is a formative proposal that articulates theory, critical thinking, and practice in a program based on collaborative and transdisciplinary practices. It is aimed at people from different fields of work and study (arts, architecture, urbanism, sociology, anthropology, education, etc.) interested in the possibilities that contemporary arts offer when it comes to providing new ways of seeing, tools, and approaches for research in inter-academic spaces. The course aims to provide reflection and critical tools for projects and research processes that are carried out both in institutional and self-managed spaces. Through forms of collaborative learning and following the idea of a laboratory space, we will share and innovate in new forms of political, aesthetic, and social construction based on theory, practice, and experience.

The program is developed during 6 intensive sessions in different spaces of the city of Barcelona. During the program, the students’ objective will be to develop a final research project that will be exposed in a space of the city (to be specified).

The sessions will be developed from the 26th October to the 30th November 2017, each Thursday from 11h to 19h in different spaces of Barcelona. Each session will start with a collective performative exercise conducted by Mixité, followed by a common discussion between the different working groups about the initiated research processes. Before lunch, the group will receive and welcome the local and international invited participants of the afternoon, as well as the guests and collaborators of the physical spaces. Lunch is an important part of the session. Thus it is included in the programme as a common meeting space of sharing and encounter for all the participants, guests, and organizers. After lunch, an open and free workshop/seminar will start and will be conducted by an international guest and a local agent.

Session 1 / October 26:

Approaches to the Infra-Ordinary with Fotini Lazaridou-HatzigogaGabriela Navas and Observatori d’Antropologia del Conflicte Urbà.

Georges Perec introduced the term “infra-ordinary”—as opposed to the extra-ordinary—as the daily realm that often goes unnoticed but needs to be paid attention to and interrogated. This first session of Extemporaneous Cities starts at the smallest of scales, in an attempt to explore a city composed of the daily movements, habits, and shared experiences of its inbabitants, while understanding how those are shaped by but may also shape the built environment around them.

Combining tools and methodologies from anthropology and architecture with artistic vocabularies and approaches, Gabriela Navas and Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga draw from their respective research and practices a proposal of different ways of looking at the diverse realities and interconnected scales of the local. The session includes a theoretical exchange and a short exercise in the surrounding public space that will form the basis for a collective discussion on the permanent tension between the planned city and the daily life of the people, as well as the latent possibilities for change in the midst of that.

Session 2 / November 2:

Locally-Embedded Learning Aiming Towards Meaningful Change: Experienced and Imagined with Tihomir Vierdman, Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space and Jaime Palomera.

The unleashed mobility of capital and increased dynamic of production practices might have delivered on the promise of prosperity for some, but they have inevitably entailed silences and absences of vulnerable groups and individuals, who have fallen behind on embracing the competitive paradigm of the free market. They have been sidelined not only symbolically but also physically and socially, as cities have transformed into heavily surveyed and guarded environments reproduced with a growing number of urban frontiers of dispossession, displacement, and marginalization. Nonetheless, the hope for a more equal and inclusive urban space has been enshrined in social sciences and planning related disciplines. Its promise is believed to reside in places of collective creation and action that are fought for along multiple identity lines. To engage in meaningful research at such places means to break the elitist boundaries of professionally closed disciplines in favor of more inclusive approaches to knowledge production. Yet engagement in such places is inescapably loaded with ambiguities stemming from the binary of opposition and co-optation, as civic initiatives seem to have become institutional agents in the reconfiguration of urban governance. Radical political theory proved a productive framework for reflecting on political participation away from such binaries associated with narrowly understood politics of space. In this perspective, a difference is produced by political subjects who are continually committed to grounding the unconditional equality as “lived and effective” and not simply “represented” within a particular set of institutions.

How do our research practices respond to the challenge of creating social urban spaces of unconditional equality? This debate will introduce a heritage of radical pedagogies as a radically new dimension to conventional disciplines involved in planning a city’s space which might provide methodologies for enhancing embodied, intuitive and explorative learning. Participants will be invited to engage in an exchange about their insights from research in lived space bringing it into dialectics with theoretical notions of politics of space. 

Session 3 / November 9:

Collective Dimensions of the Landscape: Project, Presence and Perspectives:How to Catch the Multiple Realities of Time in a Participatory Intervention? with Coloco and Carla Boserman.

The participatory dimension of the landscape as a common good and as a subject of projection is included in its methodology, naturally, as a social construction that has been developed on its historical context. From a creative point of view, encompassing the collective dimension needs a vision of understanding the past and the context, an action and presence as a catalyst for collective energies of construction and a vision of evolution perspectives over long times, beyond the possible sustainability from the human point of view.

Session 4 / November 14:

Performing City Entitlement with Roger Sansi, Josep Lluis Lancina and Despina Sevasti (DAI, 2017).

Despina Sevasti and Roger Sansi, together with Josep Lluis Lancina, propose to us a performed class about the recent cultural context of Barcelona and Athens: What is the role of the big cultural events (for example, Documenta14) in the transformation of the city? Which speech and counter-speech forms are generated in infamous contemporary cultural events? Which cultural policies answer discursivelly to the “crisis” of each city? This session will share space with first year students of the Fine Arts degree and with the Athropology of art subject of the University of Barcelona.

Session 5 / November 23:

Cinematic Amplifications to a Colonised Nocturnal Cosmos with Nikos Doulos and Eva Marichalar-Freixa.

Given that the notion of “productive time” has been catering capitalistic regimes for years, we are now more than ever conditioned to live in a world where working everyday has effectively infiltrated the night by forcing us into a world of permanent illumination that threatens to disenchant the nocturnal cosmos and eliminate darkness as a promise. This predicament calls for an urgent reconfiguration of all ideas that frame and entrap productivity as well as a necessity to claim time and space as something beyond operatives and sustain modes of imagining as subjects and social beings.

Cinematic amplifications to a colonized nocturnal cosmos is an exercise on experiencing and imagining living through the cinematic qualities city life evokes. Through a four-hour workshop (including textual & filmic references, discussions, and an interactive/participatory night stroll), Nikos Doulos & Eva Marichalar-Freixa will attempt to bring to the surface long-lost ways of seeing, thinking, and getting inspired by the nightscapes of Barcelona.

Participants must bring warm and comfortable wear and be ready for a 1-2 hour walk. Also, please bring mobile phones (Whatsapp) and headphones with you.

Session 6 / November 30:

Squarepoetry (and the Agency of Matter) with Sabine Popp.

The concept of the frame is applied in art and science alike to achieve understanding and to intensify the experience of what is inside (and outside) of it. It helps to put things in systems that make them comparable. The square is applied in a biological fieldwork by randomly throwing it on an area to count its content. Confusion would be without a frame. A limitless space is impossible to count. To count means to give an account. Without frames narratives would meander endlessly. As they do in life. The session will apply frames in an attempt to grasp something of the complexity of the banal and chaotic systems of the immediate surroundings.