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International Conference
The City: _topias and Reflections

September 19–21, 2002
Tallinn, St. Canute's Guild Building, Pikk 20

Abstracts [pdf]

In the recent years, the city in its manifold manifestations and diverse forms of appearance has become the object of interest and research for various disciplines. When a hundred years ago the dramatically changed space of the cities allowed the sociologists of the time to speak about the effect that a physically tangible environment can have on the human psyche, then now, at the beginning of the 21st century, we can talk about the city as a universal phenomenon, which is present even without immediate physical nearness.

The international seminar "Place and Location III" will focus on the city and the built environment, aiming to study the dynamic and culturally effective landscape, which in addition to visible static objects, contains things invisible or beyond our reach via traditional methods of analysis. To address the city in its complexity, the seminar wishes to create a plateau for interdisciplinary work, involving, on the one hand, urban practitioners (architects, planners) supported by research methods based on modern technology; and on the other hand, theorists from different fields of the humanities and social studies, who examine the city in a wider context of economic activities, conflicting interests and ideologies, and different practices of signification.

Three special panels are held within the seminar:
  • Edgy urban perspectives
    The panel wishes to rethink urban practices and to draw attention to the real uses of the urban space, its limits and openness, areas of prohibition and enjoyment, etc. Unearthing the reflections of social processes in space, and tracing different constructions of the city that reciprocally determine our uses of it should also open up a space for alternatives and interventions into the politics of the city.
  • Drawing maps
    Focusing on the dynamic environment of the city, this panel addresses various ways of analysing and speaking about temporally changing and virtual urban processes. It wishes to explore the geographies of the user, the subjective and experimential landscape that escapes official records and tells a different stories about the city. Further on, it tries to find out how these personal “maps" have been appropriated into contemporary professional practice of urbanism.
  • Signs in urban space: a semiotic perspective
    In the presentations of this section, objects in the urban space, man-made as well as natural, are semiotically analysed. How meaning is created in the urban space, what are the semiotic mechanisms of human--environment interaction in it, are some of the questions discussed within the framework of this part of the seminar.

Institute of Art History,
Estonian Academy of Arts
Under and Tuglas Literature Centre
Estonian Semiotic Society

Coordinators of the Conference:
Dr. Virve Sarapik, virve@eki.ee
Andres Kurg, kurg@artun.ee
Dr. Kaia Lehari, kti@artun.ee
Kadri Tüür, tyyr@ut.ee
Mari Laanemets, maria@artun.ee
Eva Näripea, eva.naripea@mail.ee

"Place and Location III" is supported by:
Cultural Endowment of Estonia
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Estonia
Estonian Academy of Arts
The City of Tallinn
Goethe Institut