Urban Representation Labs

Berenice Abbott: Untitled (Blossom Restaurant, 103 Bowery)

Berenice Abbott, Untitled (Blossom Restaurant, 103 Bowery), gift of Arthur and Marilyn Penn, Class of 1956, Collection of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University | © Berenice Abbott / Commerce Graphics Ltd., Inc.

Urban Representation Labs are intended to bring students and faculty into direct contact with complex urban representations spanning a wide media spectrum and evoking a broad set of humanist discourses. Whether as a singular idea or place, or as a hybrid notion and space, how and why have cities given shape and form to the practice of politics and the exchange of capital, and to the notion of utopia and the exchange of desire? What might be gleaned about the role of the new diasporic city, and how have themes of cosmopolitanism, exile, and the colonial city figured in urban planning, architectural design, literary writing, and artistic production? Students in the Urban Representation Labs will leverage archival materials at Cornell to launch new observations and explore unanticipated approaches to urban culture that derive from previously understudied archival materials. The goal is twofold: to demystify the representational technologies involved in presenting the city, and to unpack the political, cultural, and aesthetic values and priorities embedded in every form of presentation.

A research stipend in the form of a Mellon Fellowship is available to enrolled students.