Factory City – MIT Fall Lecture Series “CITY AS STAGE, CITY AS PROCESS”



September 28, 2009.

The City is our Factory: Politics of desire and the production of urban spaces between Grande Latte and Park Fiction. In the new urban fabric, subcultures, cultural workers, musicians and artists play a significant role as producers of collective spaces, places shaped by desires; as inventors of new perspectives and lifestyles. Christoph Schaefer will introduce Park Fiction, a collective self-organised project that managed to break from the grip of real estate developers an expensive piece of land on the prestigeous riverbank of Hamburg St. Pauli. In a joint effort, a group of residents together with artists organized for the right to the city and against gentrification, winning a public park with a harbor view. The struggle for urban spaces is the struggle for the means of production: the city is our factory. What role can cultural workers play in this scenario?

Oct. 3, 2009: Julia Wagner on Christoph Schäfer’s lecture at MIT Visual Art Program; in: The Traveling Cube blog:

“…That good vibe was rewarded when the Liev Schreiber-esc man in dark-rimmed glasses with carefully wet-coiffed hair and camel-colored suite sat down in front of me and a fellow attendee … and shook my hand in introduction. Why not, I thought. I introduced myself.”

“Schäfer began his presentation by commenting on Die Stadt (als) unsere Fabrik, and read aloud from his mighty sketchbook. The initial topic was coffee culture in urban spaces. He showed us slides of his sketchbook pages, one after another, which combined with his narrating to became an informed sort of visual associative ramble. His idea: coffee shops invite people to participate in and do specific kinds of creative and intellectual work. Eventually, after using coffee culture as an example in that way of creating a context into which one can bring one’s creativity, he asserted that the city is a factory for ideas.”