Rome, the accidental city
exhibition, workshop, conference
13 – 22 December 2011
Beyond the imagery of an unchanged and unchangeable old town, the realities of the city of Rome finely weave themselves through an everlasting conflict between the remote past, the recent yesterday, and the present. An exploration of Rome as an emergent territory reveals a vibrant congregation of “incidental” urban products: informal neighbourhoods resulting from spontaneous development, modernist experiments in (re)housing society, ruins of a history that tourism has forgotten, bold transportation infrastructure piercing through the city’s residential fabric, urban voids or even unspoilt countryside that escaped ‘development’, all strikingly interlaced between the threads of time, in the junctures and overlaps between planned form and plan-resistant city. They appear like parts of an accidental city: a city of the unexpected contrasts in built forms and urban landscapes, a city continuously redefined by its citizens’ spontaneous appropriation of space, a city of the unpredictable play between people, space and time.
Through projects in the visual arts, theory and research, architecture and urban design, Urban Transcripts explored the accident(al) in the city of Rome: the accident(al) which happens over time and transforms the ‘essence’ of the city that would otherwise remain unchanged, the accident(al) which adds surprise and complexity to our reality and challenges our understanding of the city, the accident(al) which generates the energy to recreate and reshape the city.
The exhibition showcased 20 projects by a total of 60 participants from Italy and abroad, the majority of which were also presented by their authors in a public conference. In parallel, Urban Transcripts launched its first workshop; conducted by a team of 13 tutors from Italy and abroad, the workshop was attended by a total of 36 Italian and international students. Events were hosted in venues across the city: Urban Center Roma XI in the neighbourhood of Garbatella, Roma Tre “Mattatoio” by the Tiber, Roma Tre “DipSU” at the quarter of Madonna dei Monti, ESC Atelier in San Lorenzo, as well as in public spaces in Rome.