Urban Imagination Seminar: Right to the City in Times of Climate Crisis

Presentation of the Thematic Cycle – Discussion and Performance

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November 7, 2019, 6:00 P.M., Bystro, Karpatská 3, Bratislava

Participants: Richard Sťahel, Philosopher (Institute of Philosophy of the Slovak Academy of Sciences), Martina B. Paulíková, Ecologist (Association Slatinka, Ekopolis Foundation), Andrej Kovárik, Ecologist (Plenipotentiary of the Mayor for Greenery), András Cséfalvay, Artist (VSVU)

Moderators: Peter Szalay and Ivana Rumanová

Visuals: Ľubica Segečová

Putting an end to the “time of transformations”—a common expression among Amazonian cultures—those unstable anthropomorphs who lived at the origins took on the forms and bodily dispositions of those animals, plants, rivers, and mountains that they would eventually come to be.
Déborah Danowski & Eduardo Viveiros de Castro: IS THERE ANY WORLD TO COME?

The Urban Imagination Seminar is based on the premise that cities are not the opposite of nature, but part of it. Our intent is to think of the city, its structure and relations and particularly its rights from the post-Anthropocene perspective, which, in addition to man, would also take into consideration the rights and needs of other, living and non-living entities.

Although we are far from achieving social justice in urban spaces, it seems important to us in this phase to try to extend our imagination of who and what has the right to it. Just as feminist movements in a certain phase included in their fight for equality not only for women, but also other oppressed groups, is not it time to think about the right to a city or a place not only from the perspective of marginalized social groups, but also endangered plants, animals, underground water, air? In an effort to confront ruthless hyper-capitalism and its consequences, we could find valuable allies within them.

The vision of this seminar is to formulate a Universal Declaration of Rights of All Entities (instead of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), but at the same time to deliberate about if and under which conditions such a gesture may have more than a symbolic meaning and romantic character. This event is the presentation of a wider, a year-long cycle. Together with the invited guests and audience we will also discuss the following issues. The performance of András Cséfalvay will also be a part of this event.

In the current situation of climate change can we afford to continue thinking about city and the right to the city only from the perspective of people?

What if we tried to think beyond the limits of current conventions and succeeded in the legal anchoring of such relations?

And is such a post-humanistic approach possible at all? Do we need to again put ourselves on the top of the hierarchic pyramid, in the role of the speakers for and defenders of other entities and thus continue in the colonial approach to “others”?

The Urban Imagination Seminar is a project of in cooperation with the Department of Architecture of the Institute of History of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and Bystro.

ERSTE Foundation is main partner of tranzit. Supported using public funding by the Slovak Arts Council.