In addition to cooperation with international visual art positions, the concept of site-seeing: the disneyfication of cities? also includes a series of lectures and a publication in which the artistic contributions will be complemented by scientific analyses of contemporary urban changes and in which project results will be documented. The series of lectures will consist of five panels, each encompassing two lectures followed by a discussion. Topics of the lectures are interdisciplinary, referring to architecture, sociology, media, art and cultural theory. The choice of design and location of the "lecture spaces" will be up to the Office for Cognitive Urbanism. Each of the five panels will take place in a space in Vienna that forms a framework of reference for the respective topic.
Office for
Cognitive Urbanism
choice of design and
location of the
<lecture spaces>
Having been invited to design the lecture space for »site-seeing,« the Office for Cognitive Urbanism suggested that the lectures and discussions should not take place at the Künstlerhaus but in an urban ambiance specifically chosen for each panel, and that it would look for an urban reference plane for the topics on hand. These sites or rather, "dis-sites" will place the discourses on urban problems in the city itself. As a consequence, discourse is carried into the spaces, and the spaces are in turn endowed with the aspect of discourse. Urban space becomes a lecture space and the lecture hall of the Künstlerhaus becomes a reference plane for various angles of the city and in the city: displayed, displaced, distributed, distanced and dislocated.
project space
09-01-03 19:00

Frank Roost
urban and regional planner, University of Technology Berlin

Dr. Siegfried Mattl
historian, Department
of Recent History,
University of Vienna,
and co-director of the
Ludwig Boltzmann
Institute for
History and Society
Theme parks mixing historicizing stagings and modern services are becoming models of urban planning and revitalization projects in the USA. In the city center of Vienna, no structural simulation is required because architecture is available in a historically defined space. The first panel will deal with the notion of "Disneyfication" and will analyze whether this terminology is also suited to describe urban changes in Europe. Moreover, the discussion is to focus on the question as to whether European developments in history actually anticipated the US phenomena. According to this reading, "Disneyfication" would be a European phenomenon that was perverted in the USA and is now reimported to Europe.
The Disneyfication of neighborhoods also means highlighting the special features of a particular urban ambiance by design interventions and addressing the gaze. Displays serve to identify the importance of a topic or object, to elevate it from its every-day surroundings, to claim for it a different level of reality, and to expose the latter. Without leaving the institutional framework, the first panel takes place at Kunsthalle am Karlsplatz so as to look at the neighboring Künstlerhaus in its urban context along with other institutions. From this angle, Karlsplatz appears to be a historically grown theme park of culture in the city. By the same token, the lectures will be framed by an architectural display case, i.e. exhibited, and the difference between the commonplace features of the discourse and its institutional exclusivity will be exposed to the gaze.
ORF Zentrum
16-01-03 19:00

Regina Bittner
cultural scholar and
curator, project
coordinator of the
Bauhaus Dessau

Jochen Becker
critic and curator
City culture is staged as a colorful collage of events, representative culture and urban flair so as to appeal to the "new service class", to attract media attention and to be able to keep step with competing cities by image-improving policies. Festivals, sport events, fairs, leisure-time centers and shopping malls ensure throngs of visitors and become corporate investment factors. To what extent do corporate structures and urban policymakers cooperate, using similar strategies to arrange urban events and instrumentalize them for the purpose of social control? The idea of "urban action" under the motto "reclaim the street" pursues a critical view of corporate urban development projects. The panel will seek to deal with a performative notion of experience and its identity-giving and carnival-like implications.
The second round of lectures will deal with the way in which urban structures are permeated by commercial aspects and ubiquitous festivals, asking for potentials of resistance and a way of reclaiming "public space". Urban terrains are privatized and the problem identified in "public media space" shows analogous features. The public can only be thought of as encompassing both urban and media space. The perception of one changes the way the other is perceived. When urban space is seen as an expression of private and public desire, it is turned into a medium. Reflecting, as a blueprint for the second panel, the fact that the gaze and space are medialized, the location is one that speaks of spaces and public arenas which can only appear on condition that they remain removed.
Twin Tower,
Moving Inn
23-01-03 19:00

Klaus Ronneberger
free-lance journalist
and author
Frankfurt a. M.

Prof. Margaret Crawford
Department of Urban
Planning and Design
Harvard Graduate
School of Design
The process of transformation in the Western world, which has turned an industrial society into a service society, has far-reaching consequences for the structure of cities in terms of social spaces. Purchasing power and social belonging control access to shopping malls, urban entertainment centers, and increasingly, whole inner city neighborhoods. The economic infiltrates any and all circles, including the individual/private sphere. The panel will deal with the issue of how practices of social spaces and constructed order are connected: Does the commercialization of public urban space merely generate new mechanisms of exclusion or do the privatized spaces offer marginalized groups a possibility of using practices of every-day life to live within and against the powers oppressing them?
The third round of lectures will deal with the economic interests that are factors influencing the design and perception of urban terrains. They promote a hegemonic rhetoric which has in the past few years used the building of high-rises and »urban entertainment centers« as a means of expression in Vienna. The gaze is attracted at what could be termed quantifiable attention and interest levels. What is at stake here is an economy of perception that involves expecting appeal and pull factors in view of the publicized range of services. Paradoxically, the quantifiability of interest levels also shifts to those areas which were supposed to be concealed from the hegemonic gaze.
In the "Glashaus"
of: "Der Adler und die Ameise"
Guglgasse 7-9
1030 Wien
30-01-03 19:00
Prof. John Urry
Department for
Lancaster University

Dr. Jonathan Faiers
Artist and Lecturer
Goldsmiths’ College
University of London
Using techniques of historicizing and protecting, museum-style, the tourist industry increasingly succeeds in conserving and marketing specific images of the city, and this is furthered by mass tourism and image campaigns. Television and cinema generate and transport "city" pictures and our (self-)perception in/of urban structures. How do sites become the object of the touristic gaze? In what respect does the tourist as a figure differ from the consumer? Tourists find themselves in urban settings images of which have been communicated to them in the media, and they roam the film sets they know. Urban architecture turns into a façade the surface of which is detached from actual use as a surface for the projection of various imaginings and mises-en-scène – the city as a stage. What is it that accounts for the desire in the touristic gaze?
The fourth round of lectures deals with the marketability of the city the image of which is styled according to the systems underlying the touristic gaze. This regime of the gaze focuses on the conservation of historical shells to instrumentalize these as a unique image factor. The fourth panel is framed in the panorama seen from a glass structure on the roof of an office building looking on the "Gasometer" (gas works) housing and entertainment complex. What the eye sees from the glass case seems incredibly near and yet as an image so far from reality. The transformation of the historical industrial buildings (former gas works) into the scenery of a new urban neighborhood suited for marketing purposes conforms with the exploitation logic of image policy campaigns.
Planetarium, Prater
06-02-03 19:00

Office for Cognitive
Andreas Spiegl
Department of
Contemporary Art,

Christian Teckert,
architect, Vienna

Prof. Dr.
Marie-Luise Angerer
media and gender
theorist, Academy of
Media Arts, Cologne
Urban spaces turn into locations where the self stages itself. In this context, it is not so much the assumption of two positions (the self and the surrounding urban space) that is at stake; much rather, this is about the question as to how the surfaces of the these two inscribe themselves onto the other, and which physical and spatial codes are used in doing so. The discussion will start out from the question as to what extent the field of the visible as psychological and physical space is medialized and boundaries between the interior and exterior are subject to constant shifts. Against the backdrop of the "Disneyfication" of cities the panelists will analyze the relation between politics of space and body, and the position of the subject in this structure of discourses.
The fifth panel will be held at the Planetarium of Vienna's "Prater" amusement park. Just like the planetarium substitutes an actual view of the infinite expanses of the universe by reproducing and projecting images thereof, the project of space and the spatiality of projection form the subject matter of this discussion. As the project as a whole deals with the Disneyfication of the city, this process is projected onto issues of subject and body politics here, which is where desire, imagination and identification overlap. When the process makes space appear to be the image of a space, what is perceived as an image is then an imagined appearance, the idea of a reality stripped of the real. As a consequence, the only thing that is still real is not the image but the desire for it.
of the panels

Ariane Müller artist, urban planner Zukunfts.Station, b.lab, Wien/Berlin

[imprint] [contact] [press] [partners] [print version]