Adam Bergholm

Adam Bergholm
Doctoral Student
Department of Design, Interior Architecture and Visual Communication / Graphic Design and Illustration
De-Imagineering Cities In my work I experiment with imagineering and intervening the urban commons, through practices of altering and repurposing existing structures. The work is informal and transgressive in its methodology with the core intention to investigate and participate in the shaping and making of the city. Art and research provides a key to access such a city in the making; a space where we can challenge the preconceptions of what is possible, to take risks and to imagine alternative strategies for the creation of realities. As the concept of imagineering suggests; imagination-engineering possibilities to hypothetically look behind reality and to shape it. Imagination, as the material that reality is made from. The term Imagineering is however toxically connected to its use in e.g. urban regeneration politics. With the wordplay of de-imagineering I argue that the production of imagination is fundamental for the change of current conditions and should as such be reappropriated. In this sense it’s a critical, even anarchist, ethic; one that denounces everything that cuts us off from and diminishes our power to act.(1) Not only imagination is held in the deposit and account holdings of corporate and commercial actors, but so are many of the tactics that are designed to contest this hegemony, Counter culture is continuously being transformed to fit as capitalism’s sanitizing tools in “redeveloping” cities, co-opted and instrumentalized in processes of gentrification. In my work this manifests the ethical issue of having a practice that risks to end up fueling the dominant system in opposition. On a larger note it has been studied how e.g. post-anarchist theory is being studied, appropriated and put in practice of State operated war.(2) To acknowledge these ethical concequences I’m advocating what Stevphen Shukaitis calls a “strategic necessity to obfuscate and encode the intentions, knowledges and understanding of subversive (...) It is a necessity particularly for artistic-political-media interventions, as we have learned all to well and paradoxically not well enough, are prime arenas for the decomposition of subversive energies. This would be not an art for the public, of an assumed or pre-given audience, but an art of the undercommons as described by Stefano Harney; a strategic reframing of artistic-political interventions around taking very seriously the question of with whom and why one is communicating”.(3) This posture brings the project to a liminal position; between a service of public de-imagineering and a knowledge production within the undercommons. Underground and Invisibility are accordingly advocated as key concepts through-out the project, both culturally and geologically. These are promoting a space and practice — real and imagined — whose lines and contours are undecidable and therefore contestable, out of touch for cultural appropriation. My research is continuously confronted with a number of ethical issues, concerning e.g. confidentiality, anonymity and matters of sustainability. In my own practice as well as in my field work of tracking and following European underground Right to the City collectives, working with e.g. unauthorized tunneling, cartography, infiltration, deface, cultural programming, informal distribution of knowledge and (an-)archiving. 1. The Anarchist Ethic in the Age of the Anti-Globalization Movement, Anonymous, 2001. 2. Lethal Theory, Eyal Weizman, 2007 3. The Composition of Movements to Come, Stevphen Shukaitis, 2016