After touring the globe offering free programmes and projects concerned with the urban, the BMW Guggenheim Lab has finally returned home to New York with a final exhibition. Running until 5 January, the exhibition showcases some of the best contributors and Lab team members who helped bring the project to life throughout their international journey.
A chance to reflect on the ideas and concepts that sprung out of the Lab’s global encounters in New York, Berlin and Mumbai and publicly document the process, Participatory City provides both a chance for nostalgia for those who have already experienced the Lab, as well as a new and intriguing adventure for those who haven’t. It explores the people and places that created the Lab as well as delving into the interactive 100 Urban Trends glossary, spanning from bike politics to bailouts, which helps sums up the project’s major themes.
The exhibition also spreads out beyond the gallery walls, featuring public programmes investigating architecture, urbanism and the ways in which the city and the public space converse with one another. Michael Flowers, Director of Analytics for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Office of Policy and Strategic Planning (often known as the “geek squad”) will discuss the role that urban data plays in New York City improvements, while New York Lab team member, Charles Montgomery, will celebrate the launch of his forthcoming book, Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design. A work from Mumbai Lab team member and architect, Neville Mars, Water Bench also dots the city of New York, its unique function as a bench and harvester of rainwater raising questions about the importance of design solutions aimed at water conservation.
Meanwhile, the Cinematic Sites, a series of city films covering locations from Vienna to Cairo, and the BMW Guggenheim Lab Youtube channel, featuring informal videos from people and organisations around the world in response to the Lab, finally take the Lab’s ideas out onto a multimedia platform.
Organised by Curator Maria Nicanor, Participatory City is a merges together three different cities’ response to this unique project that bridges art and conservation.
Participating City: 100 Urban Trends from the BMW Guggenheim Lab, until 5 Jan, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street) New York, NY 10128-0173.
1. Installation view: Participatory City: 100 Urban Trends from the BMW Guggenheim Lab, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, October 11, 2013–January 5, 2014, Photo: David Heald © Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.