URBAN DESIGN AND CIVIL PROTEST: A SOCIO-SPATIAL LABORATORY

What makes citizens choose a particular form of protest? How does space function as mediator between these citizens and their political acts? Whose power and control drive negotiations between citizens and regimes during protests?

Addressing these questions, this exhibition offers a window into how people use, manipulate, claim, and appropriate urban space while advocating for their own values. It should be noted that the exhibit looks at these issues in a socio-spatial context, without any consideration of moral and political narratives.

Complementing existing architectural and planning theories that explore the role of built spaces in constructing national identity, the exhibition investigates urban spaces as cultural artifacts within intricate power geometries. The visualization of citizens using urban landscape during protests, as offered by this exhibit, teaches us about the socio-political meaning of space. This act of “concretizing” the differences and similarities of protests through sound and image sheds light on the way practices of both citizens and governments are manifested in, and negotiated through, space. In other words, in the framework of this exhibit, urban space is seen as a strategic instrument through which participants choose to confront each other.

As a laboratory for examining the socio-spatial dynamics of protest, the exhibition looks at the relationship between three themes: Boundaries, Voice, and Appropriation, as the key interrelated elements of protest, which become its Spatial Choreography. These themes are investigated, both separately and in relation to one another, as abstractions that re-position space as an actor in the discourse of protest.