Urban Popcultures 3 in Prague, Czech Republic

Food, forgiveness, Hollywood, magic, “heavy fundamentalisms” and cyber culture – the guys from inter-disciplinary.net have a research and conference network going on for pretty much any topic you could imagine. My recent involvement was with Urban Popcultures, a conference as eclectic as they come, both in terms of subject areas and in terms of paper quality.

As keen as the organisers were on presenters not reading their papers and not using text based ppts, one must note that the overwhelming majority of delegates did read their papers and did use poor quality ppts – so much for the organisers’ over-the-top efforts in this respect. Hopefully it’s lesson learned for them, now for my favourite bit of listing my noteworthy people and projects:

Lara Bullock – for her inclusive analysis of Swoon’s Encampment Ersilia installation and for reflecting on the relations between creativity, ownership, appropriation and establishment, which are essential to any discussion of urban cultures;
Sarah Mills and Simon Baker – for their production of temporal urban spaces and their thoughtful reflection on their practice;
Vanessa Berry – because of her quirkiness and amazing knowledge of creative cartography and cool places (mostly Australian);
Stafford H Smith – for his incredibly vivid narrative and photographic account of the night time activities in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with menstruating Jesuses and lesbian mermaids called Lawrence of Alabia;
Konstantin Butz – because he just published a book on skateboarding;
Huston Gibson – for his soon to be online archive of city related songs and for teaching planning through pop culture;
Lia Tostes – for her M.Y. Urbanism concept (Mend Yourself Urbanism) and the thorough database she is putting together on small scale creative interventionist projects.

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