RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2018

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364 Visual approaches to the city: mediating everyday landscapes (3) - cartographic landscapes
Affiliation Urban Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Katherine Stansfeld (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
Laura Cuch (University College London, UK)
Chair(s) Katherine Stansfeld (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
Timetable Friday 31 August 2018, Session 4 (16:50 - 18:30)
Room Glamorgan Building - Council Chamber
Session abstract This session explores the potential of visual approaches to research the ways in which people and communities navigate and make sense of urban localities and their changing environments; as well as how they build a sense of belonging in the city. Due to heightening urban change, transformation and migration across the world, urban life is becoming increasingly varied, complex and intertwined (Smith, 2001, Soja, 2000, Keith, 2014). As such, increasingly geographers are recognising the potential of creative methodologies (Hawkins, 2013) to gain a nuanced understanding of complex social and cultural landscapes in the city. In particular, there is a growing interest in geography in visual urbanism and audio-visual approaches to the study of the everyday city (Oldrup and Carstensen, 2012, Hunt, 2014) to uncover issues around identity and the way difference is negotiated and lived. We are particularly interested in bringing together academics, photographers, filmmakers, artists and creative practitioners to explore the insights different audio and visual approaches can give us on contemporary global and ordinary cities and the narratives people and communities shape around place.

The session will examine the interplay and relationship between people’s narratives and experiences and how they are produced, presented and meditated through visual and creative practices. Participatory and visual approaches can often shed light on personal or cultural experiences, or understandings of community and landscapes of belonging in unique and engaging ways. As participants are often familiar with genres of visual practice, these creative approaches have the potential to explore issues and mediate research in ways that are different from other social sciences methods, allowing for distinct narratives to unfold and develop. This session will encourage reflection and dialogue on how visual approaches can respond to and engage with an ever-shifting and multiple urban milieu.
Linked Sessions Visual approaches to the city: mediating everyday landscapes (1) - producing the urban
Visual approaches to the city: mediating everyday landscapes (2) - exploring identities, belonging and everyday practices
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: ac2018@rgs.org
Visual pollution and the city: sensing different modes of experience
Marina Da Silva (TBA)
In this paper, I will discuss the concept of ‘visual pollution' using São Paulo's ‘Clean City' law (‘Cidade Limpa’) as the main case study. The law enacted in 2007, aims to fight visual pollution by banning advertisements and graffiti in the public space. However, the term has not been either defined or assess in the legislation.

The project builds on work I have previously done in São Paulo's public space and my current PhD research on the topic. I am currently looking into how the concept of pollution can be expanded by considering visual pollution as a type of sensory pollution, thus asking for creative methods in which research can be done to understand its impact on both natural and social environment.

The research utilises multidisciplinary methods including ‘city walks’ and visual ethnography, which are framed from a phenomenological perspective to investigate how different structures of experience are perceived within the same urban reality. The data is used on installations that reinterpret modes of experience of the urban space as an attempt to incite the audience to critically reflect on how society’s (changing) views on ‘visual pollution’ can interfere with the democratic use and creation of the public space.

During the presentation, I will briefly outline the methodological process and data analysis used in the research supported by slides. I will then show a video of the research installation, which illustrates the findings and provokes the audience further on the topic.
Changing urban militarized space: (in)visible cartographies and residents’ experiences of rights to the city in Rio’s favelas
Åsne Handlykken-Luz (University College of Southeast Norway, Norway)
This presentation will explore the (in)visible cartographies and residents’ experiences of the changing urban landscapes, and everyday life of Rio’s favelas in the process of pre and post mega-events (2008-2018) and Brazilian mass protests of June 2013.

Drawing on empirical studies with methods from sensory and visual ethnography, participatory photo mapping and photo walks with inhabitants in Rio’s communities from fieldwork in the period 2011-2013 and 2018, this study provides an analysis of residents’ everyday experiences of Rio’s urban politics and ‘pacification’ and the ‘inclusion’ of the favelas in the formal city from a longitudinal approach. What are the possibilities and limits of such visual methods applied in the context of a longitudinal study of changing urban landscapes?

The discussion of visual aspects will be framed by questions concerning how new relations of power and control are emerging in changing urban ‘militarized’ spaces. How are power relations and resistance mediated, experienced and negotiated in the visual and multisensory realm?
A longitudinal perspective will provide important knowledge about the changing practises and perceptions of visual and sensuous cartographies and resistance in urban spaces, and particularly how residents’ voices and rights to the city are being expressed, negotiated and experienced. Finally, this research will add a more critical and multifaceted view on study of urban space and cities of the ‘global south’.
Istanbul Walkabouts: Creating the Personal Cartographies of Northern Istanbul
Nazli Tumerdem (Istanbul Technical University, Turkey)
The aim of this paper is to reflect upon the process of creating the methodology for Istanbul Walkabouts, a project that explores, records and represents emergent landscapes in northern Istanbul through critical walking. Unlike urbanized, industrialized and populated southern Istanbul; northern Istanbul is sparsely populated and houses forests, water reserves, agricultural lands, farms, military zones and quarries. However, during the last decade, this region became the main site for mega-scaled neoliberal operations. Recently constructed Northern Marmara Highway is an essential example that acts as the spine to forthcoming megaprojects and Istanbul Walkabouts perceives and records these transforming landscapes by walking along and around the route of the Highway. After walking 235 km on differing routes with varying modes of capturing (walking log, photos, GoPro videos, tweets, etc.) and multiple encounters within physical, seasonal, temporal and climatic changes; the walks eventually constituted an ambulatory variety. This paper intends to reflect upon the ways of creating the personal cartographies produced due to this variety of experience. Initially, I write a walking log written for each walk. This log is a site-specific and subjective text written in a manner Jane Rendell defines as ‘site-writing’. Then, I produce dioramas, performative representations of one particular walk formed with photographs I took during the walk. Finally, I edit raw recordings of each walk into a single video as a walk atlas - an audio-visual walk narrative produced as the GoPro camera that is attached to my body becomes a prosthetic device that moves through these landscapes with me and records the walking experience through its own agency.
Narrating the third space: the production of lived spaces and their transformation in translation
Beatrice Bottomley (Aix-Marseille University, France)
My research examines the production of spaces lived through symbols and images (Lefebvre, 2000) and their transformation in translation. The existence of Palestine has been severely contested or negated in many dominant discourses. Often this negation has taken place in the sphere of conceived space; from the effacement of Palestine from maps to the renaming of Palestinian towns. A strong Palestinian artistic output continues to exist, creating a rich resource of images and symbols. By studying these symbols and images, we can attempt to understand a lived space, or rather lived spaces, of Palestine which extend beyond conceived borders.

This research project began as a translation of a collection of short stories called ʼan al-bilād wa-l-fanādiq, “On countries and hotels”, by the Palestinian writer Raji Bathish (Bat̻h̻īš, 2007). Each story follows a protagonist in hotel rooms in cities in the Middle East and across the world. The stories are rich in symbols and images which produce lived spaces of Palestine. In translation these symbols and images are transformed, creating a potential intercultural “third space” (Bhabha, 2004). My approach has two key visual strands. A short film, to be shot in April, will blend documentary and fiction, drawing on conversations with author, re-imaginings of the stories and footage shot on location in Palestine. A trilingual publication of one of the stories will include visual responses created by English, French and Arabic speakers. Both of these elements are essential in opening up the research to a polyphonic discourse on space and narrative.
Visualising landscapes of urban vernacular geographies: exploring place and superdiversity through photo-cartography in London
Katherine Stansfeld (Royal Holloway, University of London, UK)
This paper explores ‘vernacular geographies’ as the everyday and ordinary ways place is perceived, experienced and produced. The research develops on Ordnance Survey’s interpretation of vernacular geographies as ‘a sense of place that is revealed in ordinary people's language’ and cultural geography’s engagement with vernacular landscapes as overlooked urban spaces and environments (Jackson, 1986). This paper instigates vernacular geographies as performative aspects of place which shape spatial identities and the construction of place. Yet these everyday and ordinary experiences of place can be multiple, fraught, conflictual, homely and affective and a challenge for geographers to research. This paper argues visual methodologies are key in investigating experiences of place in the context of the diverse metropolis facing socio-political and cultural contestations over space and who has the right to belong.

The paper draws on doctoral research in Finsbury Park, London, exploring how processes of photo-cartography, walking and mapping can explore these landscapes of urban vernacular geographies in new ways. The research uses photography and cartography to explore the material manifestations of translocality in the street and vernacular aesthetics in the global city. As well as capturing the overlapping trajectories (Massey, 2005), convivial encounters and ‘the unremarkable everydayness of hybrid urban culture’ (Swanton, 2013) through photo-walking interviews and multi-sited video ethnography. This paper questions how as visual researchers we can shape narratives about the city in times of change and uncertainty and navigate the role of visual works in co-producing place.