This lecture examines the impact of globalization on the urban imaginary in relation to a recent art exhibition, commissioned by the Dutch government in 2009, in which a group of contemporary New York artists were invited to photograph Amsterdam to mark the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s discovery of Manhattan.
Registering a long history of transnational exchange between the two cities, the selected artists sought to produce work capable of defamiliarizing established images of Amsterdam. The claim of the exhibition was that seeing Amsterdam through the lens of New York photographers enabled new and surprising perspectives on four key aspects of the city: the street, the night, the water, and the outskirts. Interrogating this claim, the lecture will analyze individual artworks, the marketing and staging strategies of the exhibition, and—most importantly—the role that transnational exchange can play in both resisting and reinforcing dominant, globalized images of contemporary city spaces.
Christoph Lindner is Professor of Literature and Director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He is also a Research Affiliate at the University of London Institute in Paris. His recent books include Globalization, Violence, and the Visual Culture of Cities (2010), Urban Space and Cityscapes (2006), and Fictions of Commodity Culture (2003).