Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape

Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape

Van Alen Institute

Photo: Cameron Blaylock. Courtesy of Van Alen Institute.
October 30, 2013


This fall, Van Alen Institute introduces Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape, a multi-year inquiry of competitions, public programs, and research to explore the experience of escape in the urban environment. 

Elsewhere will guide the Institute’s upcoming projects to investigate key questions of the contemporary urban experience: How and why do we escape from urban life? What prompts us to escape to the city? What forms of escape can we find within the urban environment? And how might the experience of going “elsewhere” contribute to our well-being? The Institute will use this process to expand its focus to the patchwork of suburban, semi-urban, and rural landscapes around cities to better understand the complexities of the extended urban environment, acting beyond the confines of the city and across regions.

Elsewhere will examine how both the form and organization of the built environment influence our need for escape. As part of this initiative, the Institute’s design competitions, research investigations, and public events will leverage partnerships to connect key issues in architecture, design, and planning with insights from fields including public health, technology, economics, and sociology.

Van Alen will kick off Elsewhere with four days of festival-style programs, running from November 12 to 17 at the Institute and select venues throughout New York City. Program collaborators include Performa, ISSUE Project Room, Cohabitation Strategies, Columbia University Astronomy Outreach, and Columbia University School of the Arts. With offerings including performances, conversations, tours, installations, and workshops, the fall lineup will engage a diverse range of topics to provoke, enlighten, question, and critically examine the ideas of Elsewhere.

View the full schedule of events and RSVP at www.vanalen.org/elsewhere

Fall events include:
Elsewhere: An Evening of Escape 
Tuesday, November 12, 7–9pm
ISSUE Project Room, 22 Boerum Place

In an evening of performances, talks, and reflections, Van Alen celebrates the launch of Elsewhere with a diverse lineup featuring sociologist Richard Sennett, sound artist and curator Maria Chavez, architect and author Keller Easterling, musician and artist Joseph Keckler, city planner Ron Shiffman, writer and artist Evan Calder Williams, and more, to explore how and why we escape the city. Hosted in collaboration with ISSUE Project Room.

We Live with Animals
Friday, November 15, 7–10pm
Van Alen Institute, 30 West 22nd Street

We Live with Animals is an installation developed by Catherine Seavitt and Denise Hoffman-Brandt that uncovers and compiles surprising tales of human and animal interaction in the city. Join us for an evening of storytelling with performers including Aki Sasamoto, Adam Wade, Tamar Ettun, and more. Plaques detailing these encounters will be on view at Van Alen’s gallery before being placed across NYC’s boroughs through a series of tours. Presented as part of Performa 13.

Cities, Not Nations? 
Sunday, November 17, 5–7pm
Van Alen Institute, 30 West 22nd Street

In the face of networked societies and economies that defy national borders, some argue that cities are superseding nations in their ability to address our most pressing challenges. Join Dr. Benjamin Barber, Vishaan Chakrabarti; and Alexandros Washburn in a conversation on the potential of cities as sites of problem-solving and innovation. The evening’s discussion will be moderated by Saskia Sassen.

About Van Alen Institute
Since its founding in 1894, Van Alen Institute has promoted innovative thinking about the role of architecture and design in civic life. Today the Institute’s competitions, research, and public programs shape the public conversation and bring design excellence to the built environment of cities and sites around the world. Learn more at www.vanalen.org.

Elsewhere is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


RSVP for Elsewhere: Escape and the Urban Landscape
Van Alen Institute
October 30, 2013

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