Friday, 1 July 2011

Who do you think you are

Over a hundred of us gathered in the heart of Penoyre and Prasad's cool naturally cross-ventilated deep plan office last evening to hear 4 excellent presentations - a real cornucopia followed by delicious carpaccio, gorgonzola, wine and conversation.

Richard Sennett kicked off with softly spoken and eloquent thoughts on the book he is currently writing; cities work when they operate with porous boundaries rather than impermeable barriers like that Israeli wall. Liminality is key but that was a new concept to me - "a psychological, neurological, or metaphysical subjective state, conscious or unconscious, of being on the "threshold" of or between two different existential planes" Wikipedia tells me. In discussion he posited that the sealed plate glass window was a challenge to the desired porosity denying aural and olfactory connection to the city, while pretending to be transparent ie a barrier to be banned. By contrast he described an exercise his LSE Cities Programme had done about how to put an Aids clinic into Bluewater Shopping Centre with housing in the car park - good thinking!

Brand Consultant Ralph Ardill explained how corporate branding had changed from the profligate '80s where you could sell pretty much anything with the right brand to today when social media expose fakes ("the inauthentic") pretty much instantly. He described his highly successful but accidental collaboration with an architect to devise thhe Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

The beautifully poised choreographer Siobham (Sue) Davies spoke about place and 'body memories' over a mesmerising film of 4 dancers rotating around a centre point , twisting and interweaving. She invited everyone to visit her studio in Lambeth by Sarah Wigglesworth

Finally Vincent Lacovara of AOC and Croydon Planning Dept described his annual Open House guided walk around the Seven Hills of Croydon; that is a trip around and up to the roof of the seven car parks in central Croydon, each year the experience being different, enriching his understanding of the place.

All four set thoughts running but Sue and Vincent offered related insights as to how we come to understand our sense of place in the city. In discussion Sue began to open up the elephant in the room which was that the new media were yet further encouraging us to consume ever more - next time perhaps?

1 comment:

  1. When it comes to learning from life such experiences help you a lot to find the way.