Delivering Dirty (fostering filthy frictions against the cleaned-up contemporary city)

by Ying-Tzu Lin


Slutty Urbanism ft. Amy Boulton, Rosa Danenberg, Benjamin Gerdes, Carmen Lael Hines

At A Thinking Practice #2, Hägerstensåsens medborgarhus, Stockholm, Sweden, 11, 06, 2022 

In collaboration with multi-discpinary artists and researchers from Stockholm, Vienna and Amsterdam, the team presented a participatory workshop with walking and talking, dirty but useful fictions about the near-present, a performative group remapping of the clean street experience where only filthy lines will do.

In the 2 hours long workshop, together with our participants, we explored the structural messiness behind the curated ‘perfection’ of the platform city – an urbanism epitomized through the sanitised urban archi-scape of Stockholm, with goods and experiences always ready to be delivered on-demand. Can we together generate some attentive frictions to the hidden mechanisms behind these easy, breezy, streamlined encounters; to consider the filth, dirt, and messiness behind the production of idealized platform life? Our workshop facilitates a critical scavenger hunt using contrived scenarios/roles for participants to experimentally inhabit in the streets and nearby public settings. This activity culminates in a group session where the collective sharing of artifacts, writings, sounds/images and other aggregated mess remaps the sanitized, app-mediated street experience.

A Thinking Practice is a practice based symposium addressing collective learning processes in relation to listening, asymmetries, filth, not-knowing and desire. We long for a space to think, feel, organize and practice with others. A space where we, despite knowing that we won’t find any simple solutions, engage with each other in an unknown future.

The symposium is initiated from an interest in working collectively, from the perspective of the fields of choreography and urban planning. We believe that in times of urgencies, in moments of doubt, in seconds of fear, we must gather and think. And thinking does not mean big Thought, but a practice which involves every nerve and every relation. A thinking that involves paying attention to that which is already there in order to imagine what could be. We notice each other because we are at stake to each other.

The focus of the symposium is to practically investigate forms of thinking. We believe that all thoughts are thought from somewhere – in relation to a practice and to thoughts previously thought. We therefore see that how we think is crucial for what we think. Through which practices can we attune ourselves to listen for that which we do not already know? What practices of attention help us to be available for others, for the not-understandable, for the opaque? And how can we encourage each other to think, in all its multitude of practices, in order to create collective change?