Temporary events provide a fertile field of investigation to the growing interdisciplinary research addressing spatial-temporal patterns. The studies on cultural and creative industries address the proliferation of festivals as multifaceted phenomena, involving discourses on social meaning and impact, effects on tourism, management and marketing in city-branding processes. At the same time, organization studies and socioeconomic geography dedicate an increasing interest to temporary events, questioning the notions of proximity and distance, local and global, continuity and intermittence in the transformation of production, distribution and consumption spaces.
Within this framework, comics inspire diverse, multi-layered and often diverging forms of cultural and commercial events: if some comic conventions (or Comic-Con) are large-scale showcases for pop and fantasy culture, other meetings address niche audiences and advocate a specific un-conventional character. An investigation of the spatially embedded interactions taking place during these events opens up to theoretical and methodological questions: How to describe the time-bound mediation between diverse actors and artifacts? How to reconnect the concentration of these activities to a broader network of dispersed interactions operating across multiple time geographies? How to evaluate the effects at multiple scales of these temporary, cyclical or long-term relations?
The analysis of a main case, Lucca Comics and Games, in relation to its ‘setting’ provides materials to approach these questions. The event is currently the largest European comic-convention in terms of attendance, taking place since 1966 in the historically preserved city centre of Lucca (Italy). This exceptional interaction between an ‘atmospherically’ qualified urban landscape, an internationally recognized event and a multifaceted community will be explored in the context of an international ‘project ecology’, contributing to a ‘work-in-progress’ geography of the comic festivals.
Dania Marzo is an architect and Ph.D. candidate in Analysis and Management of Cultural Heritage at IMT School for Advanced Studied Lucca. Within the framework of the research unit LYNX - Center for the Interdisciplinary Analysis of Images, Objects, Spaces (lynx.imtlucca.it ), she investigates the relations between built heritage as a living space and the social practices taking place in it. In her Ph.D. thesis, she explores the dynamics, the spatial interactions and the effects of temporary events on urban landscapes, research focuses that she further elaborated during her three-months stay as a guest researcher in the IRS Department “Dynamics of Economic Spaces”.
Dania graduated from the University of Florence with a research and project thesis on the re-use of the Girifalco Fortress in Cortona. As an architect, she collaborated with offices in Berlin and Florence, mainly in the field of restoration and reuse of built Heritage; she participated in the final project, works’ direction and management of the Innocenti Museum’s renewal (Brunelleschi’s Spedale degli Innocenti in Florence), coordinated by Ipostudio Architetti. She currently collaborates with the office for architecture, landscape and cities de Gayardon Bureau (www.degayardonbureau.com), operating at the threshold between project and research, with a strong focus on public spaces.