Urban Subjects: We Hope this Does Not Make Us Sad

Opening reception for We Hope this Does Not Make Us Sad

Urban Subjects, the "cultural research collective" formed in 2004 by the SCA's Sabine Bitter with Jeff Derksen and Helmut Weber, have a two-part project at halfway, a space in Vienna, Austria, "intiated by Christina Nägele, Heidi Pretterhofer and Christian Teckert as part of the research project 'Curating the Urban. Exhibiting and Spatializing the Urban Condition in Times of Cognitive Capitalism'."

Part one is an exhibition, We Hope this Does Not Make Us Sad: Architecture and Design in the Plutocratic Age, which runs June, 2019. It looks at what Urban Subjects call the "new moment of plutocracy at the national and global scales," particularly in terms of the consequences of that moment for urban geographies. More specifically, the exhibition examines the "ways the ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNW) and the economy associated with them (the plutonomy)" have shaped Vancouver, one of the cities Urban Subjects is based in. Turning to consider "the sadness of the super rich themselves," who have somehow become "isolated, distanced from people and places" as a consequence of their wealth, Urban Subjects ask if the sadness of the UHNW might "also make a city sad?" In other words, is there a kind of affective shift that defines the "global-urban nexus of wealth," which UHNW invest materially in cities along with their wealth?

The second part of the project, From a Future Window, is a poster project that picks up from Urban Subjects' contribution to the SFU Galleries exhibition, Through a Window: Visual Art and SFU 1965-2015. Spanning all three of SFU Galleries' spaces as well as extending into the streets of Vancouver, Through a Window: Visual Art and SFU 1965-2015 used Henri Lefebvre's notion of Rhythmanalysis, in particular from the chapter 'Seen from the Window,' as a critical framework. For their reworked posters for halfway, Urban Subjects imagine a new set of posters to be presented in SFU Galleries' Teck Gallery windows on May 24, 2043, imagining a future view of Vancouver.