Civilian Stories/SPUD: Visualizing Vacancy


Friday April 4th, 2014, 6:00PMCivilian Stories, The Society for the Prevention of Unnecessary Demolition (SPUD), Urban Film and Design (UFD) and the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning and Design (AUPD) @ UMKC invite you to preview work in progress related to the condition of vacant land and housing in Kansas City, Missouri.  At Front/Space (217 W. 18th, KCMO), SPUD and UFD will present a short film entitled “Virgil’s House” about the demolition of composer Virgil Thomson’s childhood home and the Requiem for Virgil Thomson performed on the site of his house at 2629 Wabash in KCMO in August 2013.

Students from the Urban Planning and Design program at UMKC will also present the results of their planning and design research focused on vacant land as an opportunity for ecological urbanism. A team of students has been engaged in a semester-long investigation of vacant land in Kansas City Missouri seeking to find new solutions and opportunities for rebuilding urbanism, creating green infrastructure, restoring ecosystem services, and promoting a sense of appreciation for neighborhoods that are often ignored or marginalized.

Visualizing Vacancy is part of the Civilian exhibition series at Front/Space, a prelude to the release of The Civilian, a journal for art, literature, and civics. Throughout spring and summer, Front/Space will continue to host this series of exhibitions critical to accounting for political-economic forces that characterize the relationships between art, literature, government, and the public.

Racial segregation and vacancy in the urban core is the product of a century of urban development politics. For Civilian Stories as a critical journal, this recurring theme cannot be ignored. From here we will move toward our own politics of vacancy.

Virgil Thomson (1896-1989) was a man from this metropolis who fostered the ascendence of the American sound into high-modern circles of composition. But what could we call the American way of composition in our cities? When Virgil Thomson left the city, did he know the home that fostered his America would be erased?


For more information –please contact Jacob Wagner, Department of Architecture, urban Planning and
Design @ UMKC, 816.235.6053. or Kent Szlauderbach, Front/Space, 315.250.8088

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