The playground is the stage for performance, the staircase is the auditorium,
the alleyway is the space for personal encounters with stories and architecture
welcome to Konesh.
Konesh is a journal and a migrating platform for critical and creative spatial practices. We curate and create site-specific performances, workshops, exhibitions, walks, explorations, and debates. In the spirit of playful and critical experimentation and collaboration, Konesh was founded in spring 2018 at Goldsmiths, University of London, by doctoral researchers Saba Zavarei and Vanessa Lehmann. Konesh was created as an art forum for urban debates with a strong focus on academic exploration as well as practical and creative thought.
Since its inception Konesh has further grown and expanded both in reach as well as thematic efforts. Through the online presence as well as live broadcasted events, Konesh crosses geographical boundaries and thresholds between the material and the digital world. Konesh brings together architects, artists, activists, designers, economists, philosophers and members of local communities and has so far organized events in London (2018) and Cairo (2019). In its journal and live events, Konesh creates unexpected encounters with urban art, architecture, infrastructures, and landscapes as well as between people joining the discussion from different parts of the world and different perspectives.
The aim is to create a forum for critical encounters on the conditions of urban and planetary life and the aesthetic, political and social processes upon which life is built. Beyond critical reflection, Konesh also seeks to provide alternative and creative solutions; hence the name Konesh, deriving from the Persian word for deliberate act and action.
For Konesh’s first edition, we were joined by guest editor Louise Rondel, to bring together different voices on the topic of scale. Rather than just being a mere synonym for size, scale is encountered throughout this issue as a relationship, as a tool and as a provocation.
With contributions from disciplines ranging from political philosophy to design theory, from curatorial practice to astronomic art research, different vantage points and fields of practice are looked at in order to question and understand what kind of tool for thought or practice scaling offers?
The different pieces intersect in questioning of the politics and the poetics of scale, and its practical, semantic as well as utopic dimensions. In these different contributions you can find opinion pieces dealing with questions such as: When does scaling become a politicized device or battle ground? How does a social movement scale up? How can it proliferate through various spaces or from the physical to the digital realm? What role does scale play in the process of urban design and how can a misuse of scale lead to losses of human connection and urban heritage? What new ideas or opportunities can open up when things get blown out of scale like a giant balloon floating through Chicago or Tbilisi? How do they renegotiate the urban fabric and ways of engaging with the city? How do oversized fabrics make us think anew the relationship between the female body in relation to the scale of its surroundings?
Our discussion of scale also migrated beyond this journal and into the physical space in a performance and workshop event in May 2018 in South East London. Artist and Konesh co-founder Saba Zavarei led a participatory performance at the event with reference to the recent feminist protest movement in Iran. Germany-based artist Ina Weise commented on the scale of buildings as representations of power in an installation, making reference to one of her previous site-specific works that took place in Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina in collaboration with Nima Keshtkar. Speaking about the politics that underlie his large-scale international mural artworks, Iranian public artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo was touching upon the sublime and the experience of scale in his paintings. Alex Rhys-Taylor, urban sociologist at Goldsmiths took the audience on an exploration of the sensoria that suffuse urban spaces, metropolitan sensibilities and the formation of urban geography.
For the publication of this first issue we would like to thank all the contributors for their patience and generosity. Thanks also to the Alumni and Friends Fund at Goldsmiths for making this printed version possible. Much appreciation to Agathe Barré, Eef Veldkamp and Faiza Ahmad Khan who helped us to realize the scale event in London and to the Goldsmiths Student Union for their financial support. We are also thankful for the initial seed funding for Konesh from the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths and in particular to Emma Jackson. Special gratitude goes to David L. Martin for his continuous support and advice and to Raheleh Nasiran who has taken our online presence to the next level. We would particularly like to thank Louise Rondel, PhD researcher at Goldsmiths, who joined us to guest edit the first Konesh issue and co-organize the London event.
And now, the exploration goes on. After the first issue on scale, the second issue of Konesh will touch upon stories, memories and space on the theme of trace.
Join the debate at www.konesh.space, or attend our site-specific events, always livestreamed on our social media platforms.
Konesh Editorial Team