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August 11, 2011

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BMW Guggenheim Lab in New York Launching Six-Year Worldwide Tour

Innovative Mobile Laboratory Explores City Life, Offers More than 100 Free Public Programs in New York. Berlin and Mumbai are Next Stops in Nine-City Global Initiative.

New York - The BMW Guggenheim Lab launches its nine-city worldwide tour tomorrow in Manhattan’s East Village. A combination of think tank, public forum and community center, the BMW Guggenheim Lab will offer free programs that explore the challenges of today’s cities within a mobile structure that was designed to house this urban experiment. Over the next six years, the BMW Guggenheim Lab will go through three successive cycles, each with its own theme and specially designed mobile structure.

Each structure will travel to three different locations, building on-site and online communities around the BMW Guggenheim Lab that raise awareness of important issues, generate ideas specific to each urban situation, and engage with innovative and sustainable designs, yielding lasting benefits for cities around the world. At the conclusion of the first cycle, in 2013, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York will present a special exhibition of the findings of the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s inaugural three-city tour — to New York, Berlin, and Mumbai. The itineraries of the subsequent two-year cycles will be announced at a later date.

The inaugural BMW Guggenheim Lab is located at First Park, Houston at 2nd Avenue , a New York City Parks property, and is open free of charge Wednesdays to Sundays, from August 3 through October 16. A diverse range of more than 100 programs will address the theme for the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s first cycle, Confronting Comfort, exploring how urban environments can be made more responsive to people’s needs, how a balance can be found between notions of individual versus collective comfort, and how the urgent need for environmental and social responsibility can be met. Programs include Urbanology, a large-scale interactive group game that can be played both on-site and online, as well as workshops, experiments, discussions, screenings, and off-site tours.

The BMW Guggenheim Lab website and blog at bmwguggenheimlab.org offer a global audience a variety of ways to participate in this multidisciplinary urban project. Activities at the BMW Guggenheim Lab will be reported on through the blog, which will also feature posts by notable guest writers and regular interviews with the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s collaborators. Members of the public are invited to join the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s dedicated social communities on Twitter (@BMWGuggLab, use hashtag #BGLab), Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and Foursquare.


“New York City has long been an urban laboratory for new ideas and innovative enterprises so we are pleased to host the inaugural BMW Guggenheim Lab experiment,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “This creative project provides an important opportunity for New Yorkers to connect and share ideas, and we look forward to the conversations that will take place when the Lab travels around the world.”

“Tomorrow’s launch of the BMW Guggenheim Lab in New York City is just the beginning of what we expect to be an incredible journey,” stated Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation. “The Guggenheim is taking its commitment to education, scholarship, and design innovation one step further. We’re taking it on the road. From New York to Berlin to Mumbai and beyond, we will address the enormously important issues our major cities are facing today and engage others along the way. We sincerely thank BMW for collaborating with us on this worthy endeavor.”

“As a company, we like to take action,” said Harald Krüger, Member of the Board of Management BMW AG. “We are interested in fostering an open dialogue about the challenges ahead for all of us. The world premiere of the global, six-year BMW Guggenheim Lab initiative is a true milestone for BMW, building upon our experience in both sustainability and cultural engagement. We are thrilled to support a multidisciplinary platform for forward-looking ideas and new solutions for megacities. With a great collaborator like the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, we are confident the BMW Guggenheim Lab will thrive.”

BMW Guggenheim Lab Programming in New York The BMW Guggenheim Lab addresses issues of contemporary urban life through free programs designed to spark curiosity and interaction, encouraging visitors to participate in the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s research by generating questions, answers, ideas, and dialogue.

A central component of the BMW Guggenheim Lab’s programming in New York is Urbanology, a large group game that can be played on-site, in an interactive installation, as well as online at bmwguggenheimlab.org. Participants role-play scenarios for city transformation and become advocates for education, housing, health care, sustainability, infrastructure, and mobility as they build a city that matches their specific needs and values. The game experience for Urbanology was developed by Local Projects, and the physical design was created by ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles].

Leading architects, academics, innovators, and entrepreneurs who will give public talks at the BMW Guggenheim Lab in New York include BMW Guggenheim Lab design architect Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (co-principal of Atelier Bow-Wow); BMW Guggenheim Lab Advisory Committee members Elizabeth Diller (founding principal of Diller Scofidio + Renfro), Nicholas Humphrey (emeritus professor of psychology at the London School of Economics), and Juliet Schor (professor of sociology at Boston College); Saskia Sassen (Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University); and Gabrielle Hamilton(chef and owner of the restaurant Prune).

An ongoing series of off-site experiments will allow participants to use special equipment to measure the effect that different areas of the city have on the brain and body. Another series, organized by spurse, a creative consulting and design collaborative, will explore the complexities of comfort through a multiweek series of on- and off-site programs with public participation.

Screenings will take place at the BMW Guggenheim Lab on Wednesdays and Sundays. The first two screenings will feature Blank City by Celine Danhier (2011, USA/France, 94 min.) on August 3; and Last Address by Ira Sachs (2010, USA, 9 min.) and Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russellby Matt Wolf (2008, USA, 71 min.) on August 7.

For the full programming schedule, which will be updated regularly, please go to bmwguggenheimlab.org.

Photos: BMW

(August 2, 2011)

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