What are the social, environmental, and political consequences of our urban lifestyles?
This year, Sex and the City, New York City’s most influential archisocial manifesto, turns twenty. The series, an often prescient telling of the cultural trends that have played out in the two decades since its release, follows the glitz and un-glamour of its four main characters through a tumultuous period of transformation for our beloved city: the late 1990s and early 2000s.
For Sex and the So-Called City, Andrés Jaque / Office for Political Innovation in collaboration with Miguel de Guzmán / Imagen Subliminal, make use of lifestyle forensics to unveil and present the underlying themes of Sex and the City, unblackboxing New York City’s obvious (and therefore invisible) blueprints. These investigations collectively offer a groundbreaking – and sometimes shocking – understanding of the outcomes and impacts of contemporary urban life.
The exhibition dives deeply into issues such as real estate development, energy generation, reproduction, the hypercapitalization of society, and of course, sex, opening up conversations about the relationship of these issues to design, architecture, and the production of the city. In a time when our experiences and our surroundings are highly designed, what does New York City, the ultimate capital of choice, offer us? How many degrees of separation from questionable ethical practices do we feel comfortable with? How has the contemporary image of the city created new forms of design thinking and practice?
This forensic study of the city’s contemporary culture is presented in the form of a transmedia studio with 360-degree videos capturing interior and exterior landscapes that play host to the narratives and issues the series explores. Alongside the media room is an installation of evidentiary objects comprising the complex network of materiality that occupies and animates our urban context. A public program with two major events will utilize the space and the items to stage and film four new episodes on particular themes, capturing the objects, bodies, and actions of our lived experiences in the city.
Allowing for sometimes uncomfortable reflections about the consequences of our choices and designs, Sex and the So-Called City portrays snapshots of a new urban lifestyle, provoking us to contemplate the depths beneath the images that inundate our fictional – and real – imaginary of New York City.