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ReaLsMs is Reaching Ecuador: Guayaquil Archipelago 8-14 July

Posted: 4 July, 2019

Academics and PhD Students from GradCAM at TU Dublin and Universidad de las Artes have organised the Guayaquil Archipelago, a symposium and art exhibition, taking place in Ecuador from 8-14 July.

Sunset in Guayaquil

Guayaquil Archipelago is part of the European Commission H2020 Marie Sklodowska Curie (MSCA) Project: Real Smart Cities which aims to understand and criticise the ideology of the “smart city”. Through artistic research, community engagement exhibitions and a symposium, the event will develop an understanding of smartness and intelligence capabilities to activate social engagement, links with communities and of “social sculpture” (J. Beuys) as a methodology of research. TU Dublin is leading the MSCA-RISE Real Smart Cities project with partners Durham University, IRI-Centre Pompidou Paris, Plaine Commune Paris, Dublin City Council and Universidad de las Artes in Ecuador. 

From Island as archipelago and archipelago as a world. Guayaquil Archipelago aims to explore new forms of collective intelligence within the urban built environment in which the geography of the city needs to be taken into account. In the case of Guayaquil, we could see the city as an archipelago of connected or dislocated spaces which function as islands, both physically and metaphorically. The event, therefore, would like to mobilise the spatial metaphor of the archipelago to address social and political exclusions, but also possibilities of relations, in a new era of contested globalisation and the response given to these issues. 

The aim of “Guayaquil Archipelago” is to connect different islands, which are communities, areas, practices, around issues of access, identity, inclusion and participation. With island communities becoming increasingly defined as isolated ‘resilient communities’ within the Anthropocene, they are often considered as zones of risk which need to be saved or rescued. But in fact, most of the times the specific relevance of island thinking, with their ways of building communities, ways of living, of doing, and their ability to use imagination to invent other possibilities of sustainability are not taken into account. Thus, this event would like to focus precisely on the imaginative capacities of island communities to explore a new relationship between regionality and mondiality, From Island-as-archipelago to archipelago-as-world (Glissant, 1994).Central to this process will be a concept of artistic research which includes architectural and pedagogical collaborations that can engage communities in creative ways that encourage agency, ownership and sustainability.

Prof. Noel Fitzpatrick from GradCAM is leading the project with colleagues, Dr Glenn Loughran, Prof. John Kelleher, Dr Aphra Kerr and Martin McCabe. Six PhD students are also working to deliver the unprecedented event - Jye O'Sullivan, Grainne Coughlan, Tommie Soro, John Beattie, Siobhan Doyle and Fiona Woods. Each TU Dublin contributor will write a paper on their own experience and concerning their research interests, while John Beattie is making a film about the event, which will be presented at the Venice Research Biennale at the end of August. 

More information about the Guayaquil Archipelago and the Real Smart Cities project is available here