„Infrastructuring pleasure“ by Aurelio Castro Varela 

Montjuïc is a long flat-topped hill overlooking the harbour of Barcelona from the southeast border of the city. From 1915 onwards it underwent a profound transformation turning it into the site of the 1929 International Exhibition. Aurelio Castro Varela delves into this turning point, examining the aesthetic role of infrastructures in delivering pleasure on the hill before and during the dazzling, monumental display that characterized the event. He elaborates on two distinct regimes of pleasure by theorising their material forms as functional to and expressive of specific ways of having fun. Thus, such enquiry concerns the ambient conditions, sensorial landscapes and architectural elements through which pleasure took shape in Montjuïc from the mid-nineteenth century to 1936.

“Changes, continuities and the public in Paral·lel and the 5th District in Barcelona (1914-19)” by Marc Geli 

Paral·lel Avenue and the old 5th District formed Barcelona’s underworld in the early 20th century. PhD candidate Marc Geli investigates this area in the period 1914 to 1919. During these years of the First World War, the city experienced drastic changes due to Spain’s neutrality in the conflict. The arrival of foreign capitals allowed, among other influences, the change of the leisure offers, a more relaxed morality and the cosmopolization of Barcelona. Paral·lel Avenue and the 5th District became the epicenter of the entertainment industry across classes, but how far did this seeming equality of classes reach exactly? Along with an analysis of the change – as well as its continuities – of the traditional entertainment models, this research scrutinizes how accessible the new leisure offers were to all social classes or where boundaries emerged.

The Om street (Fifth District) in 1934. Many of the leisure activities took place among huge poverty.
The Om street (Fifth District) in 1934. Many of the leisure activities took place among huge poverty. Source: Arxiu Fotogràfic de Barcelona, Margaret Michaelis.

„Mapping Pleasure“ by Laurenz Gottstein and Alina L Just

Laurenz Gottstein and Alina L Just have conducted a comprehensive mapping of historical address data to identify Hamburg’s pleasurescapes of the past. The maps visualize the spatial entertainment hub of Reeperbahn that evolved in proximity to the port and its maritime practices, but they also shed light on largely forgotten entertainment quarters from the early 1900s. Eventually, we see how entertainment structures mirror the different historical stages of urban development, and that Hamburg’s cityscape of pleasure culture used to be much more diversified.  

Pleasurescapes in Hamburg 1910

Pleasurescapes in Hamburg 1925

Pleasurescapes in Hamburg 1935

To determine the addresses and locations, we used the historical address books from 1910, 1925 and 1935. The Hamburg State Library has digitised these and published them online: https://agora.sub.uni-hamburg.de/subhh-adress/digbib/start.

The names of the categories are based on the original terms in the address books. With the help of historical maps and street directories we placed the points as accurately as possible. Because many street names have changed since 1910, the addresses given here may be confusing. They reflect the official status at that time.

To learn about the full methodological background of Laurenz‘ and Alina’s mapping project, please read their article on the PortCityFutures-Blog!

26 November – Pleasurescapes panel at the „Stadt nach Acht“ Conference Berlin

On 26 November you can meet part of the Pleasurescapes team live in Berlin. Our Hamburg researchers Lisa Kosok and Alina Just will present our project at the „Stadt nach Acht“ („City after Eight“) Conference. Together with Lars Amenda they will talk about our project and historical perspectives on key agents of entertainment culture in the pleasurescape of Hamburg St. Pauli. Tickets for the conference with many interesting talks on nightlife are available online.

More information: „Pleasurescapes: Pleasure and Nightlife as Driving Forces for Urban Development“ [Panel in English]: 26 November, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM, Holzmarkt (Säälchen), Berlin.