Hands-on art interventions students‘ research

Team members

Christian Segundo Matilde, Annick Senn, Brenda Sieber, Celine Signer, Noémie Sommer, Nils Sommer, Lisa Spagnoletti, Sara Spreiter, Stefan Stadelmann, Nicole Steiner, Liza Stoll, Aaron Streicher-Porte, Romy Streit, Salomé Studer, Marino Stupan, Pascal Sulser

That means art interventions

Gentrification shapes not only public space but also social space. In large cities around the globe, interest groups are forming to promote cultural space. Through citizens‘ initiatives that are not parallel to current legislation, social space is being shaped. Innovative projects are emerging in a variety of fields. Shared communities organize themselves, pop-ups emerge and art projects are implemented. In short, urban life is not only evolving as a result, it is also benefiting from it. Topics are brought onto the urban agenda from within society and opportunities for citizens to participate are designed. The innovative character of these projects enriches large parts of urban life in Rotterdam. 

Some videos from youtube introduce the topic

It all started with the crazy idea of a pumpkin exhibition. Today they have four adventure farms, a pumpkin exhibition, and four farm shops. They organize events and seminars from A to Z. They grow various crops on their fields – from pumpkin to asparagus to chickpeas. The regional specialties are then refined in the farm’s own manufactory, kitchen, and bakery. Not only good for the environment but today also a popular destination for young and old.
The 23,000 m² site of the textile factory „Companhia de Fiação e Tecidos Lisbonense“ was built in 1846. After economic problems, the factory closed down and the printing house that was subsequently located here did not survive either. So the area in the Alcântara district under the Ponte de 25 Abril was forgotten for many years. In 2012, the old factory returned as the LX Factory, an island of creativity in the middle of the city: start-ups as well as agencies and studios from the advertising, media and fashion industries settled here, bars, cafés and restaurants opened, artists came and with them street art. This is how the old ruin became this wonderfully hip place.
At Reffen, Copenhagen, gastronomy and entrepreneurship, craft and culture, intimacy and community come together. In an area of 6000 m2, more than 50 enthusiastic chefs and creative artisans share their great passion for food and craftsmanship: the new entrepreneurs have their stand for three years while they learn to stand on their own feet. At the same time, it is a place where Copenhageners actively participate in the development of the neighborhood and weekly events bring locals and foreign visitors together. Reffen is meant to be a nesting box for new entrepreneurs, to give back to the Copenhagen community, and be a playground for entrepreneurs, creative craftsmen and local heroes. „Reduce and reuse“ is the motto. All stall holders will be carefully selected for their skills, quality, and concept and must be committed to working according to the motto. In return, they will receive a reduction in rent if they are certified with the organic seal. Moreover, most of the reefing is built from recycled materials and the stalls are actually old shipping containers. At the same time, they take care to reduce food waste and energy consumption, use sustainable cutlery and take social responsibility.
Highline was the former west side industrial railway line.
The defunct Industrial railway line of the 20th century was then converted into an elevated public park that has multiple access points, with each point having a key component to engage users to explore the complete park. Highline is mostly used as a public park thus it has only a few certain and specific uses pertaining to the need it has a public utility at the beginning and a few eateries under the buildings from where the Highline passes. The edge along the Highline is visually permeable as the high line is elevated it gives a clear view across the streets and is a distinctive feature of this elevated park. The overall stretch of the Highline is around 2.6km.
Metropol Parasol explores the capability of the Plaza de la Encarnacion to turn into a new contemporary urban focus. Its unique role is to function as a unique urban space inside the thick texture of the medieval downtown of Seville that takes into consideration an incredible variety of uses, for example, Identity, trade, and recreation. An exceptional infrastructure activates the square, making it a city-level public space for sightseers and local users. The parasol is made out of timber structure and offers an archeological exhibition hall, a farmer’s market, a raised plaza, different bars, and cafés underneath and inside the parasol, at the top, the parasol offers an exceptional view of Sevilla.

informativ text

Whilst improving the quality of life and people’s surroundings, hands-on art inventions enable a level of communal participation, implementing the public vision for the project. This is quite contradictory to the frequently used term “public art”, as this usually implies its installation at a physical distance. Touching or interacting with it is rarely allowed, hence negatively impacting the viewers‘ ability to connect to said object. (https://segd.org/participatory-public-art)
Arguably one of the most famous hands-on art inventions is Burning Man. Located in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, the festival/art exhibition is held in a dry deserted, and hot place, quite contrary to Rotterdam. It might still offer some insights into what inventions could fit the coastal city. As the name suggests, the Festival involves the exhibition of Murals and the burning of an effigy. The central aspect is ten principles for visitors to follow, including “participation, inclusion, gifting and leaving no trace. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burning_Man)
Another source of inspiration is Park(ing) Day which, like Burning Man, originated in San Francisco. The goal is the repurposing of parking spaces to cater to a broader range of public interests. At first, the parking space was changed to a public park for people to enjoy. (https://segd.org/participatory-public-art)
Last but not least, a great example of a hands-on art invention is the Art exhibition “Bad Ragartz”. It takes place in Bad Ragaz, Switzerland, and includes many sculptures that are placed around the town, merging with its surrounding objects such as trees, bridges, walls or buildings. Partially as a visitor, you’re invited to interact with the sculptures or the artists themselves. But it’s not limited to visible things. With acoustic signals all around it’s an auditive experience as well. For both children and adults, a great adventure.

Ideas on the topic

Desired place
The people write, illustrate wishes or draw caricatures on the floor of the square, this could be a kind of communication to the rulers
a public place where, on sundays, things that are no longer needed could be exchanged instead of paying → similar to the LeihBar in Bern maybe?
Dance Place
Dance group, young and old meet at a certain place in the evening to dance (style doesn’t matter)
Workshops for Kids
Activities all around the subject of Sustainability
Raised Beds for planting
Residents can plant vegetables, herbs, etc. and all may use them
Mobile phone/PC workshop for over 70s 
accompanied by young people who give a kind of „tutorial
Murals can be used to invite people to linger in places that are not appealing. Local artists or even residents can bring their art to the people on walls and streets, at the same time benches and other seating can be installed

Park benches with two seats where you can meet „strangers“ and start a conversation with them.

Links on the topic

https://www.deutschlandfunk.de/mit-kunst-gegen-den-niedergang-100.html ⁄