The symposium will bring together researchers and practitioners from a diverse range of disciplines to discuss the agency of falling in contemporary culture. Metaphors of falling are often evoked to describe the current period of insecurity and instability. At the same time, the built environment reflects and in turns reproduces this state of suspension: while highrise construction reshapes the landscapes of cities around the world, including London, its impact on our perception of gravity is yet to be understood. Typically defined as ‘the force that makes objects fall toward the earth’, gravity is so pervasive that we may overlook the ways in which it conditions our daily lives, and how we abandon ourselves to its force – or resist it.
How do creative practices engage with the perception of gravity, balance and falling? Can they mediate our fears and desires to lose the ground? What links can be drawn between the vertiginous spaces of our cities and the conditions of social instability in which we live? These and other related issues will be addressed from a variety of perspectives drawing on art, architecture, design, geography, psychology, and dance. Structured around a series of conversations, the symposium will conclude with a panel discussion with the artist Catherine Yass.
The event is organised in conjunction with Falling Away, a major exhibition of Catherine Yass’s work in Ambika P3. Curated by Davide Deriu and Michael Mazière, the exhibition comprises seven vertiginous films of modern architectural structures that embody the institutions which built them. Spanning the past two decades, it is the first retrospective of the artist’s extensive body of film work in the UK. The joint events are aligned with the Vertigo in the City project based at the School of Architecture + Cities, University of Westminster.
- Ruth Anderwald + Leonhard Grond, Artists-Researchers and Professors of Artistic Research, University of Applied Arts Vienna
- Amy Butt, Practising Architect and Lecturer in Architecture, University of Reading
- Emilyn Claid, Dance artist, director, performer and educator
- John Golding, Professor of Applied Psychology, University of Westminster
- Andrew Harris, Associate Professor in Geography and Urban Studies, University College London
- Catherine James, Art Historian and Lecturer in Academic Practice, University of the Arts London
- Michael Mazière, Ambika P3 curator and Reader in Film and Video, University of Westminster
- Brendan Walker, Thrill Engineer and Professor of Creative Industries, Middlesex University
- Catherine Yass, London-based artist
- Convenor: Davide Deriu, School of Architecture + Cities, University of Westminster
The event will be delivered as a webcast, with a limited number of tickets set aside for in person attendance in the Robin Evans Room – broken down into AM and PM slots.
Half of available tickets for in person attendance have been set aside for students, so we would much obliged if you could share details with them – and those who you think may find the event of interest. Those attending virtually are welcome to join the session at any point, and a link will be shared with registered attendees prior to the event.
A recording of each of the sessions will also be made available on the School of Architecture and Cities YouTube Channel shortly after the event.