The City as a Time Machine

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising an event e.g. a conference, workshop, …


The workshop explores urban temporal complexity through the use of speculative fabulation, assembled images and cinematic montage. Cities are time machines. Urban spaces are stratified formations in which different styles, ideas, failed and realized projects and desires layer up in the same space. Through appropriation, betrayal, erasure, accumulation, revival, anticipation and repetition, the city is a tool to conceptualise and experience temporal complexity. If this is true for all cities, Shanghai embodies such a condition in a peculiar way. Shanghai is indeed the “city of the future,” or the capital of the XXI century. But, according to Anna Greenspan, author of Shanghai Future: Modernity Remade (Oxford University Press, 2014), Shanghai’s future is informed by its own past, or better, by its own futurism of the 1920s (which was in turn based on the Gothic revival, and so on...). In this way, the modernity with Shanghai’s characteristics can be seen as a recursive loop mixing old circular conceptions of time and capitalistic acceleration, cyberpunk dystopia and modernist aesthetics, stylistic revivals and futuristic speculation.
Period29 Jun 20212 Jul 2021
Event typeConference
LocationSuzhou, ChinaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionLocal