German Conceptual Artist Christoph Schaefer to Speak at MIT Visual Arts Program Fall Lecture

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The MIT Visual Arts Program Fall 2009 lecture series "City as Stage, City as Process" to launch on Monday, September 28, 2009, with a program entitled "Factory City" with German conceptual artist, Christoph Schaefer, of "Park Fiction."

The kick-off event for the MIT Visual Arts Program Fall Lecture Series "City as Stage, City as Process" will be Monday, September 28 at 7PM in the Joan Jonas Performance Hall, 265 Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, on the third floor. Christoph Schaefer will introduce "Park Fiction," a project in which a group of residents, together with artists, organized to break from the grip of real estate developers an expensive piece of land on the prestigious riverbank of Hamburg St. Pauli, winning a public park with a harbor view. Schaefer is a Hamburg-based German conceptual artist whose work focuses on urban space and how it can be altered through art. Since 1995, he has been part of the "Park Fiction" project.

This event is part of a series of lectures on Monday nights, "City as Stage, City as Process." The series brings together speakers from art and (counter) culture, architecture, urbanism, and media technology to discuss such questions as: In what way is the city not a fixed entity, but a process? How do artists and cultural activists reclaim the street, activating the city as backdrop and insisting on public space? What makes a city a city? Who owns the city? How can media technology be designed to intervene in and navigate the city?

Schaefer is interested in the exchange of subjectivities and the collective new definition of public space. As a guest of Sarai Media Lab, he researched irregular settlements and gated communities in Delhi and Kolkata. His video installation "Hoang's Bistro" dealt with the growing Vietnamese shadow cities in Leipzig in the context of shrinking cities in east Germany. Since 2008, Schaefer has also been part of "Es Regnet Kaviar" (It's Raining Caviar - Action Network against Gentrification), and the neighbourhood organisation NoBNQ. His upcoming book of drawings and texts "The City is our Factory" will be published by Spector books Leipzig this winter.

The MIT Visual Arts Program (VAP) lecture series is directed by Ute Meta Bauer and Amber Frid-Jimenez. On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the VAP this term, the lecture series highlights the issues at the core of the academic program and the work and research of the faculty.

The schedule is as follows: September 28, "Factory City" - Christoph Schaefer; October 5, "Performative City" - Performance and video pioneer Joan Jonas; October 19: "Public City" - Artist Antoni Muntadas; October 26: "Propaganda City" - Mike Bonanno of the activist collective "The Yes Men"; November 2: "Protest City" - Architect and architecture theorist Ana Miljacki and artist Nomeda Urbonas; November 9: "Fragmented City" - Berlin-based English photographer Angus Boulton; November 16: "Porous City" - Krzysztof Wodiczko, Director of the Interrogative Design Workshop and the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT.

The MIT Visual Arts Program offers a two-year Masters of Science in Visual Studies (SMVisS). The program emphasizes the development of artistic practices focusing on artistic research and transdisciplinary studies. The program is part of the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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