The Commons between Action and Distraction

In his reflections upon ‘public space’ George Baird starts from the writings of the philosophers Hannah Arendt and Walter Benjamin and explores the tension between their concepts of action and distraction. He develops an understanding of urban figures that propel the opportunities of awareness, which means a change from the distracted perception towards the possibility of action. Baird will finish his lecture by investigating the work of Atelier Bow-Wow, and the instruments that are used within this practice to establish ‘common’ spaces by interviewing Momoyo Kaijima and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto.

George Baird is emeritus professor of architectural design at the University of Toronto, and writer of numerous books on architecture and public space. Amongst them Public Space: Cultural/Political Theory, Streetphotography (2011).