Cities mirror us. What happens when our city becomes over-designed and over-regulated? Is there still space for diversity, or does the city tend towards some vague notion of a model citizen? Who has the right to the city and who doesn't?
Sometimes, control is heavy handed — police, barricades, closed circuit cameras — but more often than not, it happens in the invisible seams of its architecture. It's the spikes in public spaces to discourage loiterers, the railings in void decks to stop kids from playing football, the hedges that grow outwards to prevent you sitting on the curb. We get so used to it that we don't realise how little agency we have. Or we do, and we are helpless.
At The Substation, artists work alongside architects, designers, historians, urban planners to examine the precarity of urban life. The city, in its imperfection, even unruliness, offers multiple possibilities for those unwilling to accept this helplessness. It's in the margins, the in-betweens, and the elusive public and civic spaces that we might find our individual and collective identity. That we might find ways to make the city ours.