10/25/13 - 10/27/13

Second Global Conference was presented by the
New Museum in partnership with Sesc
October 25–27, 2013

Cover Image:

Sesc Pompeia. Photo: Marco Antonio

The second Global Conference, IDEAS CITY: São Paulo, was organized by the New Museum in partnership with Sesc and took place at Sesc Pompeia from October 25–27, simultaneously with the X São Paulo Architecture Biennial.

IDEAS CITY explores the future of cities around the globe with the belief that arts and culture are essential to the vitality of urban centers, making them better places to live, work, and create. Founded by the New Museum in 2011, IDEAS CITY is a major collaborative initiative between hundreds of arts, education, and civic organizations. It provides an important platform for artists, architects, designers, urban planners, cultural critics, sociologists, technologists, and community leaders to exchange ideas, locate problems, propose solutions, and engage the public’s participation.

The biennial IDEAS CITY Festival, taking place every other May, is held in New York City, while the Global Conferences are organized in international cities around the world. Examining the unique situation of each city, the Global Conferences broaden the discussion of urgent issues and expand the network of people and ideas, helping to grow an international community focused on intertwining the arts and urban futures.

IDEAS CITY 2012/13 Topic: Untapped Capital
As the world’s resources continue to be endangered, depleted, and destroyed, we need to not only focus on new solutions and practices but also develop new approaches. Rather than focusing on deficits, this year’s IDEAS CITY encourages an examination of surplus capital that may be under-recognized or underutilized. There are many ways of thinking about what Untapped Capital could be: people, ideas, networks, raw materials, varied resources, and modes of communication.

Conference footage will be available shortly.


Friday October 25, 7 PM BRST
KEYNOTE by Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Architect
Photo: Alexandre Nunis
Paulo Mendes da Rocha is one of the world’s greatest architects. He deservedly won two of architecture’s premier honors, the Mies van der Rohe Award (2000) and the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2006). Mendes da Rocha’s career began with an explosion of creativity when, at thirty, he established his architectural practice in São Paulo and won a competition to design the now legendary Paulistano Athletic Club. In addition to announcing his presence as a new force in the architecture group the Paulista School, it soon became clear that he was also an important Brazilian architect. A litany of his buildings runs for pages and includes a curriculum’s worth of innovation and grace. Mendes da Rocha is a pragmatist and a humanist—qualities that have made him a brilliant teacher since his first post at the University of São Paulo in the early ’60s until 1969 (when he was expelled by the military dictatorship). He returned to the University in 1980, where he continued to liberate the minds of his students. “In my view,” he has said, “architecture is not about technique; it is itself technique. It has nothing to do with this material or that technology. Technique is not about the opportunity to use new materials, but rather it is about handling and organizing the right resources. This is architecture: the arrangement and application of technical knowledge—each and every time—in an appropriate and possibly distinctive way.”* *Paulo Mendes da Rocha in conversation with Ruth Verde Zein, BOMB Magazine 102 (Winter 2008).

Saturday October 26, 10–11 AM BRST

Photo: Claudia Mifano

CONVERSATION 1 – Harnessing Resistance: Anger as Untapped Capital
What is a city? Is it a physical place or something else? Who are its citizens? How do they connect, and how do they make decisions? What are the frustrations they experience when trying to find a community and enter a conversation? When a collective dialogue moves toward consensus and mobilization, how important is anger to sustain the initiative? How can anger be turned into constructive behavior? How can architecture and technology play a part in empowering the marginalized and disenfranchised? Are some cities better suited to mobilization than others?


Teddy Cruz
Teddy Cruz is known for his research on the Tijuana/San Diego border, advancing border neighborhoods as sites of cultural production from which to rethink urban policy, affordable housing, and civic infrastructure. In 2008 he was selected to represent the US in the Venice Architecture Biennale, and in 2011 he was a recipient of the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award. Cruz is a professor in public culture and urbanism at University of California, San Diego, where he founded the Center for Urban Ecologies.

Adam Greenfield
Adam Greenfield is the Founder and Managing Director of Urbanscale and a New York City-based writer and urbanist. His books include Everyware: The Dawning Age of Ubiquitous Computing (2006) and the forthcoming The City is Here for You to Use. With his wife, artist Nurri Kim, Greenfield is cofounder of Do projects, which since 2010 has conducted innovative walking tours dedicated to investigating the ways in which digital networks gather information from and return it to the street. Greenfield teaches at New York University’s graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program.

Saturday October 26, 11:30 AM–1:30 PM BRST

Photo: Claudia Mifano

PANEL 1 – Whose Downtown is it?: Colonizing, Conceptualizing, Capitalizing
The word “downtown” has become a metaphor for something that is problematic, challenging, inspiring, and/or tragically flawed. The downtowns of the world have been subjected to endless surgeries—cosmetic, noninvasive, high-risk, and doomed. Art and architecture have frequently been promoted as part of the treatment as well. Downtown is inevitably a disputed territory with myriad forces fighting for control of it, be it the citizens, the government, or private developers. Are the catchphrases—revitalization, restoration, renewal—admirable goals or merely antique terminologies that need to be replaced? What are new solutions for mapping the myths and realities of what we think of as downtown?


Guilherme Wisnik
Guilherme Wisnik is an architectural historian. He is the curator of “Margin” (2010), a public art project, “Rio Oir” with Cildo Meireles (2011), and the X São Paulo Architecture Biennial. His books include Lucio Costa (2001), Caetano Veloso (2005), Critical State (2009), and Oscar Niemeyer (2011). He wrote numerous chapters and essays in Phaidon’s Brazil’s Modern Architecture (2004).


Yaşar A. Adanalı
Yaşar Adnan Adanalı is an urban researcher and activist based in Istanbul. He is finalizing his PhD dissertation on the neoliberal urban transformation of Istanbul. His research focuses on the spatiality of democracy. In addition to Istanbul, he has been working in cities in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. He maintains two urban blogs, Mutlukent (Happy City) and Reclaim Istanbul. He received an Urban Planning Journalism Award from the Turkish Chamber of Urban Planners in 2011.

Ana Paula Cohen
Ana Paula Cohen is an independent curator, editor, and writer. She is a visiting professor at the California College of the Arts, San Francisco, and curator of “Embodied Archeology of Architecture and Landscape” in Tel Aviv (2013). From 2009–10, Cohen was the curator-in-residence at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in New York. She was also co-curator with Ivo Mesquita for the 28th São Paulo Biennial, “In Living Contact” (2008). In 2007, Cohen co-curated the project “Encuentro Internacional de Medellín 07” in Colombia.

Suketu Mehta
Suketu Mehta is the New York–based author of Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found (2005), which won the Kiriyama Prize and the Hutch Crossword Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, the Lettre Ulysses Prize, and the Guardian First Book Award. He has won the Whiting Writers Award and the O. Henry Prize. Mehta is Associate Professor of Journalism at New York University. He is currently working on a nonfiction book about immigrants in contemporary New York, for which he was awarded a 2007 Guggenheim fellowship.

Charles Renfro
Charles Renfro is a partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which Fast Company has called the most innovative design practice in the profession and one of the fifty most innovative companies in the world. Renfro is on the faculty of Columbia University. His writing and interviews have been published internationally, and he currently serves on the board of the Storefront for Art and Architecture.

Saturday October 26, 3–3:25 PM BRST

An interrogative interruption by one of our IDEAS CITY partners, Eva Franch i Gilabert.

Eva Franch i Gilabert
Eva Franch i Gilabert is Executive Director and Chief Curator at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York. She is also curator of the American Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. She is an architect, researcher, curator, teacher, and founder of OOAA (office of architectural affairs). At Storefront, her most recent projects include the exhibitions “No Shame: Storefront for Sale” (2013) and “POP: Protocols, Obsessions, Positions” (2013), as well as commissioning major design projects.

Saturday October 26, 3:30–5:30 PM BRST

Photo: Claudia Mifano

PANEL 2 – Bridging Divides: People, Technology, Networks
Technology comes with no moral compass. It’s neither good nor bad. It’s simply what you make of it, and that’s where the compass spins wildly. What is our relationship to technology and what do we want to do with it? It’s there for everyone, and its applications are changing every second. In the clusters below the cloud, people are thinking about where we are and where we can go. Have we reached the reality of everyone’s empowerment through inclusion in the social network, or is that a mass hallucination?


Arto Lindsay
Arto Lindsay is a composer, singer, guitarist, artist, and producer. He has recorded eleven solo albums and a variety of others with DNA, Lounge Lizards, Golden Palominos, and Ambitious Lover. He has produced records for Caetano Veloso, Marisa Monte, Laurie Anderson, and David Byrne and collaborated with artists such as Vito Acconci, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. Lindsay also creates performance installations and parades. Combining a variety of elements (music, technology, choreography), the parades began as a collaboration with Matthew Barney and continue today with one just generated for the “33rd Panorama of Brazilian Art” at São Paulo’s Museum of Modern Art.


Giselle Beiguelman
Giselle Beiguelman is a media artist and professor at the School of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo. Her work includes interventions in public spaces, networked projects, and mobile art applications. She has exhibited internationally at art venues like ZKM (Karlsruhe, Germany), Gallery @ Calit2 (UCSD, US), and the São Paulo Biennial. She is Editor of seLecT magazine and the author of many books and articles about contemporary nomadism and digital culture practices. Her website is

Carlos Leite
Carlos Leite is an architect and urbanist. He is a professor at the School of Architecture and Urbanism and Coordinator of Smart Informal Territories Lab, Mackenzie Presbyterian University, São Paulo, and has been visiting professor and lecturer at several schools in the US, including Berkeley, Stanford, Columbia, and Parsons. He has also taught in Canada, Barcelona, and the Netherlands. Leite is Principal at Stuchi & Leite Projetos & Consultoria, and the author of Cidades Sustentáveis, Cidades Inteligentes (Sustainable Cities, Smart Cities), published in 2012. Leite will present with Jeff Anderson, Biourban Creative Occupation.

Jillian C. York
Jillian C. York is Director for International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Her work focuses on free expression, particularly in the Arab world. She has written for a variety of publications, including Al Jazeera, the Atlantic, the Guardian, Foreign Policy, and CNN. York recently contributed a chapter to the volume Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society (2013).

Saturday October 26, 6–7 PM BRST

Photo: Claudia Mifano

CONVERSATION 2 – Embracing Provocation: The Arts and Shaping Identity”:
Geography and art are important partners. Critics constantly debate the role of place in the creation of art. Is it inevitable that artists from São Paulo and Rio will have different styles and priorities any more than it is assumed that artists from New York and Los Angeles do? Do artists find an essential energy in their environment? Do artists shape their cities and are they shaped by their cities? How can the cities of tomorrow contribute meaningfully to culture, and to the well-being of artists? What makes for a culturally nourishing city? What is the greatest strength that artists can receive from their city? What can they give back?


Jac Leirner
Jac Leirner was born and raised in São Paulo, which continues to be her center of activity. Leirner’s conceptual practice is known internationally and her work is in the collections of the Tate Modern, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and the Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo. She has exhibited in the Venice Biennale, the São Paulo Biennial, and Documenta. Her recent retrospective at the São Paulo Pinacoteca do Estado won the APCA prize for best exhibition of the year.

Jonathas de Andrade
Jonathas de Andrade lives and works in Recife. His art investigates things within the culture that are in danger of vanishing. He has participated in the 12th Lyon Biennal (2013), the 2nd New Museum Triennial (2012), the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011), the 29th São Paulo Biennial (2010), and the 7th Mercosul Biennial (2009). He recently received a special jury prize for the Future Generation Art Prize Exhibition (2012) at the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine.

Lucia Koch
Lucia Koch is an artist who analyzes and implements architectural space. She was born in Porto Alegre and lives and works in São Paulo. Koch has participated in the 11th Sharjah Biennial (2013), the 11th Lyon Biennial (2011), the 27th São Paulo Biennial (2006), the 2nd, 5th, and 8th editions of the Mercosul Biennial (1999, 2007, 2013) and the 8th Istanbul Biennial (2003).

Sunday October 27, 1–3:30 & 4:30–7 PM BRST

World Café WORKSHOPS (Two Sessions)
Photo: Claudia Mifano
The IDEAS CITY Workshops explored the theme of Untapped Capital discussed at the panels on a pragmatic and grassroots level, with regional artists, architects, designers, urban planners, technologists, sociologists, entrepreneurs, community advocates, and students. Directed in the World Café format (an innovative “group-sourcing” practice), six workshop leaders headed up two sessions, followed by a discussion among participants. The workshops were closed to the public.

Photo: Claudia Mifano

Workshop Leaders:

Fernanda Brenner (Artist; Founder and Director, Pivô)
Martin Corullon (Architect; Founder, METRO Arquitetos)
Renato Cymbalista (Professor of Urban History, FAU-USP)
Daniel Lima (Artist and Activist)
Ligia Nobre (Architectural Historian; Co-curator, X São Paulo Architecture Biennial)
Benjamin Seroussi (Curator; Advisory Board, Casa do Povo)

About Sesc
Created by the goods, services, and tourism business community in 1946, Sesc has adopted education and social transformation as its cornerstones across all twenty-seven of Brazil’s states. Innovating through new models of cultural action, it is geared towards a diverse public comprised of different age groups and social classes. Sesc has a network of more than thirty cultural and sports centers in the state of São Paulo, as well as centers specializing in dentistry, film, and research and training in the cultural field. Activities are offered in the arts, sports and physical fitness, digital culture, social tourism, health and diet, combating food waste, and sustainability education, in addition to generational programs and socio-educational communications initiatives. With a focus on permanent education, Sesc fosters personal autonomy, social interaction, and contact with diverse expressions and manners of thinking, acting, and feeling.

Sesc Pompeia



Lead Sponsors

Presenting Partner

IDEAS CITY is made possible by a grant from Goldman Sachs Gives
at the recommendation of David B. Heller & Hermine Riegerl Heller.

Producing support is provided by Lonti Ebers and Andrea and José Olympio Pereira.

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