Spatial distortion and intensification of human relations
Through three different urban performances, the paper investigates how, when and under which circumstances urban space is transformed and distorted from its every day use and power relations. Distortion is an annual street festival in Copenhagen with the objective to distort the functional city. By showing instant intensification of space, I exemplify how affective relations are established and how public (and the Nordic idea of public) space temporarily turns into an affective space of encounters and intensive relations. Tyler Ashley’s dance performance Half-Mythical, half Legendary Americanism on the High Line, New York during Performa 2011. With the dance performance I want to illustrate how the bio political shaping of the body becomes intensified and transformed during the performance. Ashley does not only choreograph the individual body and the body of the - formerly - passive spectator, he creates an intensive space for the empowerment and liberation of the body. Occupy Wall street and its action in the autumn 2001 is the ultimate example of how urban political performances intensifies and transform every day spaces. Through examples of how OWS tactically appropriates and transforms urban space, I seek to show how representational space, for instance the public square, is transformed and distorted by heterogeneous and unforeseen modes of operating. Despite differing in their goal and outset, I wish to unfold an alternative to urban transformation practices in planning and architecture. Whereas urban planners and architects worldwide call for user participation governed by the authorities, these urban performances act. On the backdrop of their acting of ideas in public, I propose a potential for urban transformation taking urban social diversity as its point of departure.