Congress: June 26th – 29th, Video by Abbildungszentrum Peter Ott / Doro Carl for Park Fiction, 2003, with: Ala Plastica/La Plata Isola Art Center+Office for Urban Transformation/Mailand expertbase/Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg Maclovio Rojas+Borderhack/Tijuana Sarai Media Lab/Delhi Galerie für Landschaftskunst Hamburg Lignas Musicbox Hamburg Park Fiction / Hamburg Schwabinggrad Ballett Hamburg, and contributions from individuals: Jochen Becker, Sabeth Buchmann, Stephan Dillemuth Subcurators: Margit Czenki. Christiane Mennicke, Christoph Schäfer Organization: Bernadette Hengst Publicity and Public Relations: Wanda Wieczorek Backed by: Hafenrandverein für selbstbestimmtes Leben und Wohnen auf St. Pauli, e.V.
One year after Documenta11, the installation by Park Fiction returns to Hamburg. At the place of it’s origin, the work will be shown for the first time in St.Pauli, on the Reeperbahn. After seven years of production of desires, Park Fiction is in the midst of realization. The first palmtrees, designed by residents, are standing in the Park! Just the right time to make this successful process, where „Art and politics made each other more clever“ accessible in its model-like state. Plus: the Original crane model by Andreas Siekmann!
Urbanism and the appropriation of cities have meanwhile become central questions in art discourse. What appeared to be a marginal theme skirting the outer limits of the art system has, with increasing dominance, settled down at biennials and international exhibitions, coming into its own as a separate, vivid branch in art. Especially now, at the end of the industrial age, new methods of urban practice are developing all over the world, which broaden the idea of the possibility for artist actions and interventions in the city space. These projects find their own space and areas of work, and cooperating with non-art fields, out of the perspective of daily life, intervene in economic, information and academic city planning systems. This network of local knowledge challenges the global power of the media, and the state and economic authorities. The congress Unlikely Encounters in Urban Space will give groups from various countries and fields of work the possibility to join discussions and establish connections and relationships between various practises and objectives. It is about nothing less than the research of the possibility on the horizon of an experimental urbanism of the multitude.
Opening: June 19, 5p.m., Reeperbahn 1
with Ute Meta Bauer,
Schwabinggrad Ballett, Gino & Children from the School Friedrichstrasse
Exhibition : June 19 to July 6, daily from 12 a.m. to 10 p.m. at night
Great: Free Entry!
Super: Afternoon tours to the park area!
Congress: June 26th – 29th
The congress Unlikely Encounters in Urban Space will, with the experiences of Park Fiction in the back, open the view to the globalised horizon, and will create relations between similar projects in different countries. Groups from different professional backgrounds will present their constituent practices, connect discussions, and create links between the diverse practices and goals. It’s about nothing less, then the exploration of the possibilities of an urbanism of the multitudes, appearing at the horizon now.
… constitute social relations without being commissioned by authorities
to do so – avoiding to adress the state directly, as much as
avoiding trench battles with power. Constituent practices much rather study on streetlevel, connect arts and social movements, invent new games, engage in alternative forms of science, squat land, build new settlements and whole cities, redefine public space – and thus challenge dominating systems of urban planning, and reality description.
Groups that develop tools, attitudes, courage, practices, programs, that
make unlikely encounters, meetings and connections more likely, search for
them, jump over cultural or class barriers, go where no one goes. They do not let their activities be reduced to symbolic action, mirroring, critique, negation, or analysis of their powerlessness nor do they muddle along in their assigned corner.
Local Knowledge – Global Exchange:
The private living space, the space of everyday life, everyday knowledge and
everyday poetry – is the level most devalued, culturally, economically, and
in political thinking. But here exactly is the very source of the dawning
urban revolution,. From here it is getting it’s direction. How can the local
knowledge develop a tension with the global forces? How can local knowledges
and movements exchange with each other and challenge the global powers?
Ala Plastica works on the rhizomatic linking of ecological, social, and artistic methods. In the former La Plata zoo, the group occupied the former library in early 1991 to reconstruct from there the public space destroyed by the dictatorship. Ala Plastica combine direct interventions, analyses of satellite photos, and precisely defined concepts to a parallel universe without giving up the symbolic potential of art.
With projects at the Rio de La Plata, polluted by Shell, Ala Plastica is successful both in intervening directly into ecologic and social systems, while exposing at the same time the structures, that cause the global catastrophes – the difference between local and global knowledge. They confront global stupidity with a radical alternative approach.
Maclovio Rojas / Borderhack In dramatic difficulties is currently the settlement Maclovio Rojas. we invited them to the congress because of the impressive selforganisation, autonomous and independent schools, aguascalientes, a center for political theory and philosophy. The ejido, led mostly by women from southern mexico, organises a clever networking policy with artists and other parts of the civil society on both sides of the border. Maclovio Rojas is thus a very special example for constituent practices and independent urbanism by the people.
Maclovio Rojas is today accepted by the federal government, but exposed to heavy repression by the local government. This is mainly directed against the community organisers. Although the 197 hectar land have been bought by the settlers in 1995 for 37 Million pesos, the police again and again imprisons the charismatic leaders or puts out warrants of arrest against them for „squatting“.
Luis Humberto Rosales (Borderhack) is a medical doctor and founder of Indymedia Tijuana
Isola Art Center / OUT- Office for Urban Transformation
Between auto mechanics, old-established metal workers, and young communists, OUT organises exhibitions and discussions on art and urbanism, in a squatted factory.
Isola, an affordable residential district, close to the centre of Milan, will, according to plans of the city-government, be split in two by an access road to direct large amounts of traffic from the suburbs right through the district to the “City of Fashion” – a gigantic investors’ project. Residents, artists, and political groups have united to prevent this project. The “Stecca” factory, located at a strategic point, has been occupied, drawing public attention to the threat posed to it and the surrounding park. Bert Theis planted Milan’s first ‘palma clandestina’ (illegally immigrated palm-tree) in the park. Since April, the „Cinema Park Fiction“ is located in the “Stecca”.
Expertbase organised the Make World Conference in Munich and conceived an anonymous employment exchange system for “illegal” immigrants. This strategy is based on acknowledging the autonomy of migration, while refraining from addressing the state with protests and thus confirming its authority. The state’s imaginary omnipotence is effectively subverted on a daily basis by immigration and the everyday practice of migrants. “Basta con Berlusconi, Bossi et Fini, bienvenuti clandestini!”.
The Galerie für Landschaftskunst works on artistic conceptions of nature, location, urban and landscape space. The Gallery’s unwieldy name („Museum of places far away“), practice and concepts are a protective shield against an all-too-easy appropriation and misrepresentation of their artistic work; they allow the group to repeatedly define their work anew and interact with various fields.
From the Alster Research Station developed in co-operation with Mark Dion, the gallery organised various research efforts on the well-known Hamburg inland water in the summer of 2002. The Alster Research Station confronted the current greedy and reduced ways of viewing the Alster with a number of informal research projects.
Located on a refurbished barge, it became the starting-point for interdisciplinary projects, walks, collections, painting projects, scuba-diving, lectures, and an exhibition venue. At berths along the Binnenalster and downtown, the barge functioned as a magnifying glass bringing together diverse perspectives in a parallel universe.
Based on a precise analysis of the interrelationships between the radio broadcasting format and different urban spaces, Ligna develops playful interventions which at all times result from and are situated within the context of social movements.
Ligna, has been expanding the collective frame of its work since last year to interventions in public and semi-public spaces with the aim of questioning and subverting the dominant bans and exclusion mechanisms in force there.
The meanwhile legendary intervention at Hamburg’s main station in May 2002, “Ligna’s Radio Ballet”, choreographed the re-introduction of forbidden gestures over the FSK frequency.
At the radio demo which took place in December 2002, Ligna combined the radio’s organising function with a subversive strategy. With regard to Christmas trade all political demonstrations were prohibited in downtown Hamburg – although prominent demo sites such as the inner-city were urgently necessary in the wake of the Bambule protests. Ligna circumvented the demonstration ban by calling for a dispersion.
Park Fiction is host of the congress. Under the leitmotif: „Someday, desire will will leave the house and hit the streets…. They’ll put an end to the reign of boredom and bureaucratically managed misery“, a group of interventionist residents stopped the plans for construction on the last remaining site at the harbour wall, and has managed to get a collectively designed park instead. This „production of desires“ resisted the dominant interests of economic policy propagated by the ImageCity. „Infotainment“ formed the basis for the planning process, reflecting the social, historical, and political importance of gardens and parks and the construction of public spaces.
In order to make it possible for people to articulate their wishes, Park Fiction developed various tools for the planning process, organised like a game.
After eight years of radical democratic urban planning and negotiations, Park Fiction is now being realised. „The park is a utopian place; its model is paradise…. The park shows us what the world could be like“ (film quote).
Sarai is an experimental field for collective digital work, an urban research centre, and a media lab. Founded by members of Raqs Media Collective, Sarai reads urban everyday life and publishes fantastic readers that accomplish the feat of dealing with urban studies, academic analyses of the city’s hotbed of rumours, and everyday poetry – with dignity and in a horizontal way. Sarai’s work is not limited to the Internet or the art business, however, but conveys open source concepts to other social fields – to the city.
In Delhi’s self-organised, informal settlements, which are constantly under the threat of being demolished, Sarai operates computer labs and urban studies centres called Cybermohallah. Young people describe the cities within the city that remain uncharted territory on official maps. With their sensitive accounts of improvised settlements, the youths not only create a fragmentary urban literature of the mega-cities; their poetry, which is published in Hindi and English, reinforces the settlements on a second level. A medium completely remote from power turns into an element of constituent power.
Already before the congress, Shveta Sarda from Sarai will make workshops with youths from St.Pauli in collaboration with Park Fiction
Schwabinggrad Ballet was founded when musicians from Hamburg’s best bands were searching for ways to intervene in public spaces in an unexpected manner. Although groups such as “Die Goldenen Zitronen” (The Golden Lemons), “Die Sterne” (The Stars), “Die Braut haut ins Auge” (The bride hits into the eye) or “Parole Trixi” have been active for years in the field between aesthetics and politics, individual members were no longer satisfied with the form of support concerts. Flexible performance strategies were therefore developed. Theatrical elements were increasingly included and street musicals were developed for specific situations.
The Schwabinggrad Ballet operates rhizomatically and is not dependent on permanent members; it is expanded by additional artists and activists depending on the occasion. The ballet focuses on the fight against the racification of public space and gentrification, as well as on anti-war actions. Schwabinggrad is part of a network operating the Buttclub and organising discussions, readings, exhibitions, concerts, reading circles, and actions. Schwabinggrad (whose name combines the Nazi’s greatest defeat and the Federal Republic’s first innocent street-musician riots) developed the Hellas Musical for the No Border camps in Forst (2000), Frankfurt a.M. (2001) and Strasbourg (2002).