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TWO ANTITHETICAL ARCHIVES CAUGHT IN A CRUEL DIALECTIC

LONDON-BASED ARTIST NILS NORMAN has long challenged both the confines of artistic production and the pitfalls of urban planning. To this end, he has methodically catalogued two types of spatial engineering: the child’s playground, on the one hand, and what he calls “Urbanomics,” on the other—infrastructures of restriction, from fortified planters to antigraffiti patterning, in which the decorative effectively meets the deterrent. Since Norman began these ongoing archival projects more than a decade ago, both realms have only become more topical; as recreation and social interaction become increasingly capitalized territories and the panopticon extends to Prism proportions, attempts to reimagine our shared environments are proliferating (an entire section of this year’s Carnegie International, for example, will be devoted to playground design). For this special project, Norman puts

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