Project Description

Curated exhibition and symposium with Stamatis Zografos and Elena Papadaki, Urban Lab – Slade Research Centre, London (UK), April – May 2014

Event participants: Stamatis Zografos, Elena Papadaki, Steve Emery, Eray Çaylı, Edwina Attlee, Andrej Mircev, Eleni Zacharia, Eleanor Dare, Sotirios Varsamis, Aris Prodromidis, Claudia Palma Romao, Eva Bachmann, Jack Wates, Robin Morrison, Rocio Ayllon, Riccardo Vincentini

Call for contributions 

There is an assumption that architecture emerged around fire. For instance Hestia, the Greek goddess of the hearth, or Vesta, the Roman one, were both central in architectural space and in the life of the city. Fire is at the beginning of architectural creation thus also the latter’s first memory.

Historically, most major cities in the world have been partly or fully destroyed by fire. Yet fire is still a lurking threat to contemporary urban environments. Urban fires are usually accidental but sometimes even deliberate. Cities in Egypt, Syria, Libya and Tunisia suffered fire destructions during the Arab Spring; Athens has repeatedly been burnt during protests against austerity; London and other cities in the United Kingdom were severely burnt during the riots in 2011. Regardless of how an urban fire starts, buildings and the urban landscape are silent victims, and fire is their last memory.

This event will look at different ways that fire can act as a methodology to access and explore memory in architecture. Considering that fire is an imminent threat to architectural memory, what is its impact on building heritage? Can this element be understood as a methodology to reconceptualise heritage and sustainability? Given that fire is commonly used as a tool to (re)claim civil rights, can it also be perceived as a methodology to reconceptualise citizenship?

We invite contributions in the form of talks, workshops, installations, exhibitions, and performances. Multi-disciplinary and group submissions are also welcome.