cities can fly

New Ways of Doing Research in the City///Hamburg, 21. – 23.09.2016/// conceptualized by Paula Hildebrandt. Kwildner is  invited  to the bilateral workshop , a first meeting of one-year collaboration bringing together a small group of Brazilian and German researchers/artists interested in new ways of doing research in the city.  The general aim of the project is to initiate a larger-scale cooperation between the HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU), the Federal University of Ceará (UFC) and the Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF), funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). Participants will share experiences, future ideas, concrete projects and practices of what might be called the ‘art of doing research’. The aim of the series of three workshops is to gain a better understanding and jointly develop a more nuanced vocabulary of how newly emerging – more or less experimental, often participatory or action-based, transdisciplinary, artistic and/or performative – research methods can contribute to investigating urban transformations, its symbolic and economic orders, social dynamics and political dimensions in Brazil and Germany. The focus is less on theoretical – epistemological – debates than on very concrete questions of methodology: recording devices, research settings, communication loops, publication formats and constellations of actors involved. Disciplinary specification and necessary boundaries shall not be denied, but rather analyzed in their cultural conditionality and potentiality as productive misunderstandings. Put differently: Considering the fact that each research practice tends to create its own research community – or research world –, often in conjunction, collaboration or complicity with other societal actors from academia, the performing or visual arts, political activism, community work and urban planning, the idea is to explore new formats of research creation which derive their dynamic from increasingly networked forms of social organization.

The title CITIES CAN FLY, in other words, stands for what we cannot yet know, anticipate or even imagine – the uncertainty, open-endedness and contingency which characterizes both art and science as a procedure of exploration and discovery, a liminal space between knowing and notknowing. Flying generally stands for lightness, mobility, exploration, secret human ambition and desire. And when cities fly, the urban underside, the cellar, the roots and hidden infrastructure become visible: new geographies, territories, and urban topographies emerge. Which also leads to the question as to where cities fly? In other words, CITIES CAN FLY is a figure, a powerful one, which points to the force of figuration, of imagination and art as a field of material practices that sustain a certain world – in our case a certain research world.