New Babylon Revisited (2014)

Participatory actions and drifts for the post-digital city


New Babylon was a model of an utopian city of the architect Constant. It was based on the idea of a constantly developing network of units that can allow dynamic and playful interactions among the city and its inhabitants. Although the New Babylon was a city that was never built, a part of Constant’s thought seems to have been now realised in the most contradictory way. Life in the “smart cities” seems to have an open, participatory and playful character aiming for the constant optimisation, normalisation and predictability of urban everyday life. Constant connectivity and the continuous aggregation and use of urban data can not leave much of a space for unpredictable, ephemeral and free forms of communication and interaction. And while in the post-digital era the romanticised idea of the connected city seems to be left behind, the urge once again appears for the location and redefinition of the elements that can offer opportunities for unitary thought and collective action.

The project New Babylon Revisited invites to Athens artists and theorists who through their workshops and actions will propose new architectures of connectivity and re-examine the city’s infrastructures. As part of the overall project, the studios and offices of a building in Praxitelous street will be connected through a pneumatic network of tubes; a city drift will invite visitors to a free exchange of files; a discussion around the enclosures of the Athenian commons will be hosted in an offline sharing network; a parasitic micro-conference on the move will re-approach Athens and an ephemeral radio station at Mavromichali street will work as an open and accessible network, addressing a call for discussions and actions.

Praxitelous 33

A project by Goethe-Institut Athen

With Telekommunisten (Baruch Gottlieb, Jeff Mann) in collaboration with Errands, Jeff Mann, reSync (Adnan Hadzi, James Stevens), Antonios Galanopoulos, Oliver Lerone Schultz, YKON (Christina Kral), Angela Jerardi, Paky Vlassopoulou, Daniel Kemeny, Chrysanthi Koumianaki, Kosmas Nikolaou, Andreas Sell

In collaboration with the Circuits and Currents project space and the Careers Office of the Athens School of Fine Arts, the Common Media Lab of the Center for Digital Cultures of the University of Leuphana, the artists’ run space 3 137, the Independent Center for Research SPACE UNDER, and the Athens Wireless Metropolitan Network.

Curated by Sofia Dona and Daphne Dragona

One Comment

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