3 OCTOBER 2019
Delftsestraat 33 III
3013 AE Rotterdam

Photography as a cultural tool to develop visions and encourage multi-actor and multi-disciplinary reflections on the landscape changes.




This event is the result of a promising and inspiring cooperation between Urban Reports, The Independent School for the City, the Nederlands Fotomuseum and the invaluable contribution of the Dutch photographer Theo Baart

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New Territorial narratives is a collaborative talk organized by the photography collective Urban Reports together with the Independent School for the City and the Nederlands Fotomuseum. The event will offer a platform for exchange and debate on the role that photography can play as a methodological instrument to delve into the complexity of the territorial and spatial dynamics.

Why can Photography trigger the multidisciplinary dimension that such complexity requires?
How does photography contribute to create the conditions for a democratic participation to the definition of a territorial / urban vision? Who is in charge of building the narrative? What is the need for a multidisciplinary approach to rapid landscape changes? How can photography contribute to recompose a new territorial narrative for territories which are about to be or currently being transformed?

Photography is a tool for analysis, critical observation and communication of the territorial modifications. Increasing the awareness of the space that surrounds us, photography can support the understanding of the dynamics which have alternated a place, by registering and sharpening the perception of the space. Taking photographs is by default a slow pace endeavor that affords the photographer the time to reflect and delve into the complexity of the place. Composing and decomposing the elements of the space, photography reveals how we see the world and offers a vision of it.

We have to look back at the 70s across the ocean when the American photographers such as Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz and Stephen Shore, among others, found the beauty in the banal and provocatively legitimate it as a photographic subject. Those images of the “man-altered landscape carried a political message[1] wanted to provoke a reaction on the increasingly suburbanised industrial world and the advancing urban sprawling.

[1] New Topographics: photographs that find beauty in the banal | Art and design | The Guardian 10.28.2018

Their work became an inspiration for a series of important European photographic works dedicated to the study of the contemporary territorial transformations starting from the assumption that the landscape is an invention, a way of looking, a constructed and collectively nourished image. It is in fact throughout the 80s and 90s of the last century that public commissioning projects all over Europe have provided significant contributions to a broader cultural reflection on the conditions of the landscape, forming a vast and surprisingly rich group of authors defined “the photographers of the places”.

Today’s urban dynamics urges us to develop new understandings, and therefore, multidisciplinary alliances and new approaches to master these transformations. Relentless urbanization, territorial widening, an increasing complexity of the governance and planning systems combined with economic, demographic and environmental crisis are all factors which contribute to change the identity of our landscapes determining a rapid and dynamic redefinition of their collective imaginary.

This event will be the occasion to present project examples where photography has contributed to give a tangible contribution to the understanding of dynamics in shifting territories.

15:00 – 15:05 Welcome
15:05 – 15:30 Introduction by Frits Gierstberg
15:30 – 16:00 Arcipelago Italia by Urban Reports
16:00 – 16:30 Atlas Metropoolregio Amsterdam by Theo Baart
16:30 – 17:00 Q&A and debate with the public
17:00 – 18:00 Drinks

The event is free of charge, but registration is required.


More about the programme and registrations on New Territorial Narratives’ Facebook Event