Exhibition / La Ville mobile_
Curator / Constance Rubini_
How environmental challenges influence our transportation modes? In a constantly moving world, where can we spend time wasting it ? How do the applications of the digital revolution shape new urban behaviours? How can designers, urban planners, or elected officials act on such moving organisms as cities ?
All these questions are in the field of urban culture. The exhibition keeps questioning this, in an attempt to picture what future cities will look like.

The exhibition entitled La Ville mobile is intended as a trip within modern, expanding big cities, in which the rules and requirements related to mobility imply a novel view of our environment.
Through hundreds of pictures, atypical objects, and ambitious projects, the six-step exhibition invites us to dive into our own world in perpetual motion.

The city – a thrilling, collective, and shared space
Millions of people meet, live, work, and move within cities every day. Cities are not only living environments; we seize them collectively, in regular or exceptional big symbolic events. Marathons across New York or Paris, music festivals, carnivals, Gay Pride: all these activities contribute to defining the identity of cities, and help inhabitants appropriate their own cities.

Despite overcrowded streets, enjoy moving around in cities
In saturated big cities, where public transport does not always meet all expectations, and where driving depends on the traffic, the need to move around cannot be reduced to a limited activity. City-dwellers can choose many different transport options, according to their wishes and time schedules. Hybrid vehicles, eco-friendly innovating public transport, bicycles, urban sports, etc. – all these options make mobility a new field of freedom.

How cities impact our perception of time
Urban space is the field of a race for time efficiency. Distances are no longer calculated in kilometres, but in amounts of time. This capitalistic approach leads to designing ever faster and efficient transport solutions. So do new technologies. Couldn’t we imagine some kind of “slow motion”? Moving around in cities would not be an obligation any longer. We could enjoy contemplating urban landscapes, strolling around the streets, doing physical exercise. Current urban policies do comply with this demand. Pedestrians are the main focus of many ongoing projects: open spaces, parks, banks, and urban walks are enhanced.

Reviving the essence of public space – a place for sharing, meeting people, free of charge
In cities, you can enjoy meeting people by chance. Dwellers regularly appropriate public spaces, enjoying their free access. Spontaneous football games on squares, the Centre Pompidou esplanade turning into a street stage, chairs on Broadway during summertime. Squares change with what happens on them: markets, pétanque games, outdoor cinema, etc. Although malls and train stations are the new urban centres, squares still symbolise cities as places of conviviality and collectivism. Designers and architects do their best to make it welcoming. A city should also offer opportunities for a lunch break, between appointments, or a nice and quiet spot to do some work.

Public space and street furniture policies
Although the street seems to be the last truly free space, it is still not a place where everyone is free and equal. Debatable choices are made in public policies, between the need to supply pedestrians with the necessary equipment for life in an urban environment, and the fear of seeing populations deemed as undesirable taking hold of such equipment. Dissuasive furniture, VCR, and authoritarian signs make the street a space where bodies have to keep moving. Some artists and designers highlight the need to consider these marginalised populations, by denouncing their exclusion and offering mobile accommodation or shared space solutions.

How can we act on cities ?
Interfering in the city atmosphere does not only happen by installing new structures or furniture. The relation to cities is changed sensibly through slight, diffuse signs of courtesy and care given to inhabitants by policy-makers. Beyond the infrastructure already in place, occasional interventions here and there, or quiet signs on micro-phenomena insure the success of urban projects. Designers are observers. Their projects are successful when resulting from good comprehension and good understanding between them and cities. Five designers, graphic designers, architects, and urban planers show how they perceive cities, through five specific projects:

• Laurence Madrelle in Yverdon- les- Bains, Switzerland
• Ruedi Baur in Montréal, Canada
• Urban Think Tank in Caracas, Venezuela
• Michel Corajoud in Bordeaux, France
• Alexandre Chemetoff in Saint-Etienne, France

Feasible utopias
Cities have been the objects of dreams, scenarios, and fantasies through the ages. From Albert Robida’s aircrafts hung on the Saint-Jacques Tower to Archigram’s Walking Cities, from futuristic American illustrations in the 1950s to enhanced reality, cities initiate amazing inventions and critical fictions. Even though some of these visions may sound senseless to us, they are a hotbed of future ideas and utopias, some of which could come true...
Soyuz Chair,
Nelly Ben Hayoum

Crédits: Nick Ballon