Sønke Gau
Katharina Schlieben

disneyfiction of cities?

“Going downtown” is commonly associated with shopping, entertainment, and nightlife. Cities have become theme parks in which urban facilities are judged by how well they comply with the demands of business and tourism, and in which image is remodeled according to political criteria. Urban life is thus expressed as staged consumption. The entertainment and leisure industry as well as media and service companies market, mediatize, and “Disneyfy” “public space” and determine our “image” of a city. Western cities are increasingly resembling theme parks and shopping malls. By highlighting a city’s historical treasures and enhancing its museum infrastructure, the tourist industry tries hard to cater to the needs of mass tourism by preserving and marketing an urban image. While contemporary city planning focuses on event programming, media like television and cinema generate and transport this imagery as well as our (self) perception within and of urban entities.






The exhibition project site-seeing: a disneyfication of cities? articulates the processes and visual phenomena accompanying the Disneyfication of urban space and probes into their relevance in a European context. The presumption is that our perception of cities is constituted by such diverse factors as tourism, film, television, lifestyle, and fashion. Urban questions, therefore, do certainly not just fall within the subject area of built architecture.

In a larger sense, the exhibition project site-seeing: a disneyfication of cities? revolves around the current changes occurring in urban realm, turning them into the subject of artistic and scientific analyses. The project comprises five interrelated and complementary formats of equal importance: Künstlerhaus, Urban space, lecture series, publication, architecture.