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Invisibility Studies

Surveillance, Transparency and the Hidden in Contemporary Culture


Edited By Henriette Steiner and Kristin Veel

Invisibility Studies explores current changes in the relationship between what we consider visible and what invisible in different areas of contemporary culture. Contributions trace how these changes make their marks on various cultural fields and investigate the cultural significance of these developments, such as transparency and privacy in urban architecture and the silent invasion of surveillance technologies into everyday life. The book contends that when it comes to the changing relationship of the visible and the invisible, the connection between seeing and not being seen is an exchange conditioned by physical and social settings that create certain possibilities for visibility and visuality, yet exclude others. The richness and complexity of this cultural framework means that no single discipline or interdisciplinary approach could capture it single-handedly. Invisibility Studies begins this conversation by bringing together scholars across the fields of architectural history and theory, art, film and literature, philosophy, cultural theory and contemporary anthropology as well as featuring work by a collective of artists.
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7 Spaces of Difference, Different Spaces: A Study of Urban Transformations in an Old Paint Factory


One day in 2010 two friends who shared a history as squatters and underground cultural activists were taking a walk in the industrial area of Amager. During the walk, the two friends, Christian Fumz and Jesper Koefoed-Melson, discovered a site kept in a state of hibernation. What they found was an old abandoned paint factory at Prags Boulevard 43 (henceforth PB43), which used to belong to the company Sadolin and Holmblad and is now owned by AkzoNobel; they imagined how the place had the potential to become something other than a fenced off, abandoned factory. In order to realise the potential of the abandoned site, they decided to form the organisation, which aims at putting empty buildings into use by negotiating low rents for artist and providers of underground cultural activities.1 They made a proposal to the owners, AkzoNobel: if the latter would agree to receive no rent for the site, would pay the annual property tax and organise a revitalisation, which they managed to convince AkzoNobel would increase the economic value of the place, and brand the company as a socially responsible corporation rather than a polluting industry. AkzoNobel agreed to sign a two-year contract putting in charge of their vacant premises at Prags Boulevard 43.

This chapter explores the dynamics at play in an urban transformation. Through the mentioned example of the transformation of an old industrial factory in eastern Copenhagen into a centre for cultural events, I intend to illustrate...

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