Henri Lefebvre famously lamented the demise of the Old Town: “As yet there are not that many traffic lights in Mourenx. But in a sense the place is already nothing but traffic lights, do this, don’t do that” (Lefebvre). He urged to introduce “surprise” and “possibilities” to the New Town, and to “think of it as a place of privileged experiment where at last men are about to conquer and control their everyday lives.[…]” (Lefebvre).
The Traffic Lights Pop-up combines entries by students and invited artists. Student participants formed several working groups, each devising their response to Lefebvre. Foucault’s dictum “Liberty is practice” (Foucault), de Certeau’s “second poetic geography,” (de Certeau), along with other sources from Baudrillard to Douglas Coupland, provided additional guidance. Salvador Dali’s Lobster Phone (1938) and Rene Magritte’s Golconda (1953) served as examples of how to elevate a casual snapshot of traffic lights.
Student Group Prehistoric
Invited contributions cover diverse geography from Beirut to Montreal to Brazil as captured by professional and amateur artists. Pop-Up exhibits disregard conventional hierarchies of professional status, location on the map, and subject matter. Traffic lights, we argue, merit close-up exposure.
Student Group Sci-Fi
In contrast to Lefebvre, Andy Warhol celebrates the New Town: “My ideal city would be completely new. No antics. All buildings would be new. Old buildings are unnatural spaces” (Philosophy of Andy Warhol). Warhol’s philosophy appears to find advocates in today’s Vancouver and its flamboyant utility-box art. This debate on the pros and cons of the New Town continues in Part Two across more destinations, both real and imaginary.