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Kate Newby was born in Auckland in 1979. She studied at Elam School of Fine Arts, graduating with a BFA in 2001 and returning there to undertake a Doctor of Fine Arts, which she completed in 2015. Though quickly establishing herself in the Auckland art scene – she was a founder of Gambia Castle, an artist-run space that operated between 2007 and 2010 on and in the vicinity of Auckland’s Karangahape Road – her career can be charted as a series of itinerant opportunities, with exhibitions in destinations as various as Melbourne, Mexico City, Brussels, Los Angeles, Lisbon, Toronto, Vienna, London, and elsewhere.

Newby has undertaken residencies in Germany, Australia, the US, Mexico and Canada, including Chinati Foundation (Marfa, 2012), Fogo Island (Newfoundland, 2012-3), and ISCP (NYC, 2012). She won the Walters Prize in 2012, and was recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 2019. She has recently moved from Brooklyn, New York, to Floresville, TX.  

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With works and materials by Alternativ stad, Bevara Slussen, Bostadsvrålet, Marc Camille Chaimowicz, CRUSH, Filmform, Avprivatisera Hagsätra, Högdalens Vänner, Adelita Husni-Bey, Kate Newby, Norra Järva stadsdelsråd, Malin Pettersson Öberg, Sonia Sagan / Orten i fokus, Secretary, Söderorts Institut För Andra Visioner (SIFAV), Våra Hem, Fredrik Vaerslev, Peter Wächtler and others.

The Promise is an exhibition and events series that explore the city as a political space, and the role of architecture and design in shaping a context for our lives. With more people than ever living and working in urban agglomerations and with a growing importance of commercial and political centers, the space of the city has become one of the most contested issues of today. The Promise highlights the complex organization of space through the built environment, but also the invisible structures of ownership, policies and legal regulations that control access to resources and determine social interactions. Engaging specifically with the surrounding of Index and the city of Stockholm, the project consists of a series of newly commissioned artworks by Swedish and international artists. In addition, the exhibition presents an extensive selection of works, materials and documents that trace the history of urban struggles, conflicts and resistance, a series of talks and events, and a three-part film program throughout the summer.

Questions the project deals with are: How do a city’s inhabitants live together, and how does the city’s design – its architecture, urban design, landscape, and infrastructure – impact on the conditions of living? Since the early modernist movement, design has often been considered to have a critical social function. Revolving around a minimum standard of living and equal access to space, air, light, and water, modernist planning was a promise for a better society for all. On the other hand, planning can only create frameworks for living, and the power of design to shape a new reality has been overestimated, neglecting the many and diverse relationships between people and their environment. Late-modern planning since the 1960s – from the impressive yet ambivalent Million Program to the modernization of Stockholm’s city center – marks a paradoxical moment, in which design principles with ambitious social ideas created spatial solutions with often significant shortcomings, and many were met with resistance. After the deregulation of housing policies since the 1990s, various forms of divisions within the city of Stockholm have become more profoundly articulated, especially in terms of the housing market, leading to a stark dynamic of gentrification, segregation, and social inequality. The Promise engages with what the geographer David Harvey described as “the right to the city” – the possibility to not only access urban resources, but also the ability to impact on space in order to change the way we live.

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