© 2016 Joseph Heathcott

Visual and material cultures of cities

The city is simultaneously a real and imagined place.  What we call 'the urban' emerges from the mutually constitutive relationship between 'the real' (the city as a physical space, networked condition, and site of accumulations) and 'the imagined' (how we perceive, mediate, and make sense of the city that surrounds us).  Thus, our understanding of cities takes shape at the nexus of the visual and material realms.  Much of my work explores this nexus, both in terms of how the city is envisioned in professional practices such as planning and architecture, and how the material forms and spaces of the city shape our urban imaginaries.  I am interested both in the representation of the city, as well as representations deployed in the city through advertising, exhibition, planning documents, and other practices.

Aerial States. Traveling exhibit under development.
"Architecture, Urban Form, and Assemblage Aesthetics in Mexico City's Street Markets." International Journal of Architectural Research 13, 1 (2019).
"Official Magic: Tourism, Planning, and the Urban Imaginary in Mexico City." Paper presented at the conference on "Urban World-Making," University of Amsterdam, June 2017.
Two pieces installed for the juried show "Being Sentient / Sentient Being." Curated by Aneta Georgievska-Shine for the Allegheny Arts Council, Cumberland, MD
9 Sept - 20 Sept 2017
"Temporalities of Infrastructure:
Acceleration and Deceleration in the Post-Industrial Imaginary." Paper presented at the First Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infrastructure Paris, 2017
Capturing the City: Photographs from the Streets of St. Louis, 1900-1930. Co-authored with Angela Dietz. Missouri Historical Society and the University of Chicago Press, 2016.
"Urban Powerpointing." Collage for juried group show, Thompson Gallery, Weston, MA, Feb-Mar 2016.
Evaluating the Quality of the 5Pointz Graffiti Murals under the Visual Artists Rights Act, Amicus Brief Filed for the U.S. District Court, 20 July 2015.
"The World in a Cup: Coffee, from Kitchen Table to World Stage." The Montreal Review. January 2015.
"The Known City: Visual Cultures of Urbanism in the Twentieth Century." Lecture at the Museu da Electricidade, Lisbon; Glasgow School of Art, Scotland; Chelsea College of Art and Design. 2010-2011.
"A Meal in Old Stone Town, Zanzibar." Photographic essay in The Inquisitive Eater (June 2013).
"Rendering the City: The Use of Photographs as 'Evidence' in Urban Planning." Lecture in the Urban Planning Lecture Series, GSAPP, Columbia University, Feb 2012.
"Through a City, Darkly." Catalogue essay for In Light: An Exhibition of Photographs by Chris Wainwright. Amsterdam: Castrum Peregrini, 2011.
"Art of the State: Photography and Governmentality in the 1930s and 1970s." Lecture for the Photography Research Institute, Central St. Martin's College of Art, London, Feb 2011.
"The Metropolis and the Technological Sublime after World War II." Lecture at the University of Maastricht, The Netherlands, May 2010.
"Architecture, Urban Form, and the Postwar American City." Lecture delivered for the
Ghent Urban Studies Team at the Royal Library, Brussels, Belgium, May 2005.
"Block Signs." Photographic essay with Damon Rich. In Public Phenomena, ed. Temporary Services. Chicago: Half Letter Press, 2008.
"Reading the Accidental Archive: Architecture, Ephemera, and Landscape as Evidence of Urban Public Culture." Winterthur Portfolio 41, 2 (December 2007).
"Brick by Brick." An exhibit on the history of the St. Louis brick industry, drawn from the Giles collection. Cupples House Museum and Institute , April 2004 - September 2004. Guest curator.
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