PUBLIC 43: Suburbs, with The Leona Drive Project Catalogue
Edited by Steven Logan, Janine Marchessault, and Michael Prokopow, PUBLIC 43 explores the Suburbs as dwelling in transition, as utopian vision, a way of life, a built form and as a significant economic and political dimension of the global phenomenon of urbanization. By suggesting transition as an appropriate trope for the critical examination of suburbs, past, present and future, this issue points to changing forms, locations, ideologies, and narratives. Accompanying Suburbs is the catalogue to the 2009 exhibition The Leona Drive Project.
We take the idea of utopia as a starting point, and begin with a historical dossier of works by three influential thinkers from the past century - Siegfried Giedion, Karel Teige, and Humphrey Carver. John Archer examines suburban aesthetics and the production of everyday life. Roger Keil addresses the challenges of researching global suburbanization, while Douglas Young problematizes the city-suburb binary in his examination of Toronto's "in-between" city. Geoffrey Guy's interview with Saskia Sassen takes up some of these challenges; the interview is accompanied by a series of images from the NFB Highrise/Out my Window project. Stephen Sawyer looks at one of Shanghai's exurban developments, Anting, modelled on a German New Town. Several of the authors disrupt traditional stereotypes of the suburbs: Karen Bermann and Isabella Clough Marinaro write about Roma camps on the periphery of Rome, and Cecilia Chen looks at ethnoburbs, where many immigrants now directly settle, bypassing older urban immigrant enclaves, and Chris Richardson explores the "disjuncture between popular conceptions of the suburbs and the bleak realities" of many of their inhabitants.
In "Mourning the Suburbs," Beatriz Colomina explores Denise Scott Brown and Robert Venturi's Learning from Levittown studio, which followed from their more well-known work "Learning from Las Vegas." Ondine Park picks up on the theme of utopia in her article on the ordinary and the strange in everyday suburbanism. Ian Robinson explores the urban periphery through film: Pedra Costa's Colossal Youth. In "Architecture: The Space of Participation," Alberto Pérez-Gómez reflects upon the historical role of architecture as the "configuration of meaningful, resonant public space." Interspersed throughout the issue are Maria Whiteman's photographs of a lone figure hiking through the suburbs of Calgary.
Also included: a column on quaking "Suburbs of the Mind" by Ian Balfour, plus, as always, book and exhibition reviews.
Turn the issue around and you will find a complete 90-page full-colour catalogue of The Leona Drive Project exhibition, which took place in six post-war houses in the "inner suburb" of Willowdale, Toronto in October 2009. The catalogue includes a curatorial statement by Janine Marchessault and Michael Prokopow, a review essay by Terrence Dick, the work of the Leona Drive Project Archive, and documentation from the participating artists: Arbour Lake Sghool, Thomas Blanchard, Daniel Borins + Jennifer Marman, Robin Collyer, Patricio Davila, Christine Davis, Anna Friz, Richard Fung, Michael Graham, John Greyson, David Han, Oliver Husain, Claire Ironside + Angela Iarocci, An Te Liu, Ryan Livingstone, Shana MacDonald + Angela Joosse, Kim Tomczak + Lisa Steele, Michael Taglieri and the Claude Watson Arts Programme at the Earl Haig Secondary School.
Pick up a copy of this special issue, which includes both Suburbs and The Leona Drive Project catalogue in stores or through our website.
Single issue: $15
1-year subscription (2 issues): $20
2-year subscription (4 issues + 1 freebie back list issue): $35
Subscribe before August 31st for your chance to win a print by Christine Davis. Prize will be drawn at our launch party in September (details to follow).
PUBLIC gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and York University.
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