Concrete & Ink: Storytelling and the Future of Visionary Architecture

On Time and Future

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    © Ariel Davis for Theatrum Mundi

Past Event

This event was on Fri 14 Feb, 1.30 – 6pm

This second day of discussions focuses on time and future through two panel discussions that will attempt to expose conventional concepts of time moving constantly ahead in a straight line from past to future and challenge narratives of linear, forward planning.

13.45-15.15 To Infinity & Beyond: What is Time? 

How do artists, writers and architects deal with real and imaginary time? How do they form mechanisms that allow for both obsolescence and maturity? Is the future always in front of us?

This session looks at alternative concepts of time to challenge ideas of the future and how it can be narrated across art and architecture, including contributions from choreographer Adesola Akinleye, writer Crystal Bennes and games developer Jodie Azhar. Chaired by Theatrum Mundi’s Associate Director (Europe) Justinien Tribillon.

16.00-17.30 Urban Planners or Necromancers? Of Blueprints & Crystal Balls

What does it mean to plan? Is the idea of planning the urban a chimera? Can anticipation be a science or is it more to do with magic? Can we bend planning to be less linear and more circular?

In this session chaired by architect and curator Océane Ragoucy, we bring together artists that craft narratives of the future and professional planners who develop foresight for immediate action. It will include contributions by writer Nina Léger, urbanists and researchers Emmanuelle Chiappone-Piriou and Gwenaëlle d’Aboville.

In association with Theatrum Mundi.


About the participants

Adesola Akinleye is an artist-scholar choreographer. She began her career as a dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem (USA), later working in UK Companies such as Green Candle and Union. Over the past twenty years she has created dance works ranging from live performance that is often site-specific and involves a cross-section of the community to dance films, installations and texts. Her work is characterised by an interest in voicing people’s lived-experiences in Places through creative moving portraiture. A key aspect of her process is the artistry of opening creative practices to everyone from ballerinas to women in low wage employment to performance for young audiences.

Jodie Azhar is the CEO of Teazelcat Games, a studio focused on story-driven games, where she is currently directing their unannounced debut title. Prior to this she spent a decade working as a technical artist at various game development studios, most recently as the Technical Art Director for the Total War franchise at Creative Assembly.
She is an award winning developer, in 2019 was featured as one of 100 of the most influential women in games in the UK, and in 2016 was one of BAFTA’s Breakthrough Brits.

Crystal Bennes is an Edinburgh-based artist, writer and researcher exploring topics from science to architecture.

Emmanuelle Chiappone-Piriou works as an independent author and curator. She trained as an architect (ENSA La Villette) and architecture historian (Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne). Her current research and projects focus on the frictions between architecture, art and computation and their political and aesthetical implications. She is a PhD candidate and external lecturer at TU Wien, and a lecturer at ENSA Paris Malaquais. Emmanuelle has collaborated to numerous exhibitions and publications, notably at Centre Pompidou and OMA/AMO. From 2011 to 2016, she held the position of Program Curator at the Frac Centre, co-curating Naturalizing Architecture (2013), The City as a Vision (2014) and Reliefs (2015).

Gwenaëlle d’Aboville is urbanist. She co-founded the French agency Ville Ouverte in 2004. With her team of urbanists, architects and cartographers, she works for French cities, planning agencies, private or public housing agencies in the fields of planning and urban projects. Public participation is part of all their works as a way to building better, more sensible and sustainable programs.

Nina Leger is a writer and an art critic. She lives between Paris and Marseille where she teaches Art History at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Her critically acclaimed novel Mise en pièces (Gallimard, 2017) won the Prix Anaïs Nin, and is published in English by Granta as The Collection (2019). Nina Leger has been awarded a Lagardère Grant for her upcoming literary project dedicated to the French Technopole Sophia-Antipolis. Her other writings include several texts for artists’ books, exhibition catalogues and art history journals.

Océane Ragoucy is an architect and curator living and working in Paris. As an architect, her personal research mainly focuses on alternative forms of thought and the production of architecture, and what is invisible in space, cities and the underground. This research often takes the form of articles, cultural programmes, exhibitions, fanzines and publications. Since 2012, she has been the director of strategy and R&D at TVK, a French architecture and urban design office. In between others, she is the co-curator of the publishing project Printing on Fire since 2014, has been an artist-researcher associated to the prefiguration of the Villa Medici in Paris’ outskirts in 2015, took part in the Young Researchers Committee of Milano Triennale French Section in 2019 and is a member of Theatrum Mundi Europe board.

Justinien Tribillon is a Associate Director for Europe at Theatrum Mundi. Justinien has co-founded and is an editor of Migrant Journal, a six-issue publication looking at migration in all its forms and its impact on space. As a writer, Justinien regularly contributes to various publications such as MONU, Failed States or The Guardian. He is regularly invited to give talks and participate to panels, recently at Tate Britain in London, Proyector gallery in Mexico DC, the Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture or at MoMA PS1 in New York city. Justinien is currently a PhD candidate at University College London, Bartlett School of Planning where he is also a tutor in urban studies. His doctoral research is on Paris’s Boulevard Périphérique as a social-spatial border between the city proper and the banlieues.

Related Events


Concrete & Ink: Opening Panel Discussion

Thurs 13 Feb, 7pm
£9.50/£7.50 concs

In this opening panel discussion chaired by architecture and design curator Meneesha Kellay, philosopher Julian Baggini sets the scene for the weekend’s debates on imagination, time, future and alternative possibilities of narrating what’s to come.


Concrete & Ink: Storytelling and the Future of Visionary Architecture

Sat 15 Feb, 11am – 6pm
£9.50/£7.50 concs

The final day of the symposium includes a free walk in Harlow Town, Essex and screenings, followed by a panel discussion with filmmaker Christopher Ian Smith and writer Alison Irvine, chaired by Theatrum Mundi’s Marta Michalowska.