Telling Traces

Moving through the City in Literature, Film, and Art

Panel Discussion

Saturday February 25 2017

“Telling Traces: Moving through the City in Literature, Film, and Art” will bring together artists, writers, filmmakers, video game designers, and architects to explore how contemporary media comprehend and compose the city by creating narratives of the sensory or personal experience of moving through it.

Please register for the event here


01:00–01:15 PM Welcome and opening remarks

01:15–03:15 PM Panel 1: Fieldwork

Suketu Mehta, Writer, Associate Professor of Journalism, New York University, New York, NY

Sarah Oppenheimer, Artist, basein New York, NY

Ann Hamilton, Artist, basein Columbus, OH

Moderator: Giuliana Bruno, Emmet Blakeney Gleason Professor of Visual anEnvironmental Studies, Harvard University

03:15–03:45 PM Break

03:45–05:45 PM Panel 2: Speculation

Geoff Manaugh, Writer, Futurist, author of “The Burglar’s Guide to the City” and, New York, NY

Steve Gaynor, Video Game Designer; Co-founder, The Fullbright Company, Portland, OR

Liam Young, Architect; Founder, Unknown Fields Division and Tomorrows Thoughts Today, an urban futures think tank; Itinerant

Moderator: Ian Bogost, Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies anProfessor of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology

05:45–06:00 PM Closing remarks

The traces of the city that we experience in passing – as a flâneur, commuter, or tourist, moving critically or in a state of distraction –are telling about the implications of the larger urban environment. In turn, we can tell the story of the city through a sequence of these traces. From the city street to the screen, the page, or the gallery, this event will highlight how the act of motion— walking, scanning, soaring, or guiding—informs and incites our understanding of the urban environment. Participants range widely across disciplines and genres, offering myriad points of access into sensory experience of the city.

Each panel begins with a short presentation by each participant followed by a long moderated discussion.

The first panel begins with the idea, central to modern urban humanities, of the importance of being in, moving through, and walking about the city. From the image of the nineteenth-century flâneur to the Situationist on a dérive to the twenty-first-century social scientist, empirical information often roots and validates urban practices in ways that makes representation believable, relatable, and real. The discussion will look at and challenge the place of fieldwork in generating narrative depictions of cities.

The second panel is an exploration of the eidetic power of manipulating elements of time, space, scale, and perspective on individual experiences of fictional city space. It showcases inventive and impactful strategies of creating fantastical narrative environments. Panelists will explore the transformation of real-world data and knowledge into speculative urban environments.

Free admission.

Harvard Art Museums, Menschel Hall, Lower level

Please register for the event here

Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138 Map