press release

For the third international edition of the GOING PUBLIC project, the main theme under discussion is that of the New Europe, as seen through the flow of peoples, economies and cultures from East to West – and vice versa – starting with the theories of De Certeau and Baumann. This multi-level project is based principally on collective urban artistic research, with workshops across the territory held together with local groups (the elderly, students, immigrants etc.) featuring works of art created especially for the event, together with film shows and a public debate on the theme in hand.

Two important events set the scene for the 2005 research. The initial stage of the project took place in Larissa, in Tessalia (Greece), hosted by the town itself, during the opening of the Contemporary Arts Centre. Communities & Territory is the title of the first section of the work, which has involved international artists in a variety of territorial workshops near the border between Macedonia and Albania. The aim was to shed light on life in those areas bordering on the Balkans, on the migratory flows and the activities of the small communities to be found in Larissa – a key point of passage between East and West – which originate from the whole Balkan area as well as eastern Europe (Roms, Vlachos, refugees from Turkey, Russia, Albania, Serbia, etc.… ). The second part will take place this autumn in Modena, Italy, focusing on the Baltic regions, with artists from central/eastern Europe. After the previous edition of GOING PUBLIC (from Gibraltar to Cyprus), the aim this year is to trace a vertical axis from the Balkans to the Baltic region.

The relationship between community and territory, between city and citizens lies at the heart of all the most recent debates. The preoccupation with both urban and rural order, social policy and territorial management by common cultural denomination were debated in a public meeting in Larissa, with contribution from Carlos Basualdo, Marti Peran, Yorgos Tzirtzilakis, Filippo Fabbrica (there with first “Love Difference” workshop abroad for the Fondazione Pistoletto). As well as the artists, the meeting was also attended by the students of Architecture and Anthropology at the University of Volos. The provocation launched by the Going Public projects is based on an analysis of these motivations, of the counterpoising of administratively bureaucratic models of territory and community management on one hand, and the use of public spaces in living culture, through the social customs which the inhabitants nurture in their day to day lives on the other.

Carlos Basualdo opened with an important intervention on the need for interdisciplinary approaches, collective works, not one-off but long-term projects, for constructive institutional relationships, for interventions which make a clean break with the cultural activities of the 1970s, when many artists shunned all forms of mediation with institutions, museums and galleries. Territory is not a place but an action! Basualdo’s attention focuses on spontaneous intervention, on the revaluation of so-called “popular culture”, the transformational or rather revolutionary processes.

Marti Peran believes that transformation now takes place through the cultural projects which can be shared and “used” by local communities. He is openly in favour of participatory and public activities. Yorgos Tzirtzilakis re-elaborates several of Bourriaud’s theories on “relational aesthetics”, on the exploration of the possibilities offered by human relationships, interpersonal exchanges, and social interaction. In his opinion, the “community” is that which is “common”, just as – according to Agamben – the only true value lies in the common man. Thus it is the community itself which creates the sense of territory.

There is a clear notion of the need for works to be participated in and not simply looked at. With this in mind, the participation of Rirkrit Tiravanija and his new installation project in Going Public ’05 is fundamental: a soft orange floor, a TV station and an archive of “experiences” collected in collaboration with the “Portikus” Centre in Frankfurt.

Considerations on immigration imply a concept of State, of territory; they mean shedding light on that which risks being left in the dark. Among the various projects created for the event, special attention should be given to the research project carried out by Hariklia Hari entitled Post Programmed City-Territory. From topography to social form. An ex military base, with shipping containers to be used “in emergencies” (earthquakes, floods, etc…) at the beginning of the ‘90s, after the collapse of the USSR became a base for Russian immigrants. To this day, this community of “Pontians”, despite the various promises made by the local authorities, live inside the shipping containers in a state of degradation, social exclusion, an “exception state”.

And it is these ““exception states” which constitute the primary research element of the entire Going Public project. As the works of the various artists on show demonstrate, raising this kind of criticism is clearly very important today: mapping the Rom district and show the existence of a new city within Papadimitriou; from the divisions to the dialogue, which still characterise the Island of Cyprus in the works of Charalambidis and Loizidou, to the gathering of personal data and memories in Conti’s “Memory Box”; from the structure of Vlahos’ prisons to the “War Game” of Personal Cinema; right up to the spontaneous interventions in urban spaces by Pablo Leon de la Barra, Fabiana de Barros, Chaves & Mantilla and Marietica Portc.

Exploring the multi-faceted and unexpected ways in which public spaces may be exploited, documenting transformations, safeguarding the minimum levels of social interaction, and enacting artistic and cultural practices which interface with the city and its inhabitants. These are the themes which make the Going Public project effective and relevant, and which translate both the artistic experience and the observation of the participants into the language of common and contemporary communication.


only in german

Going Public 05 /2
Communities and Territories: From Balkans to Baltic
Künstlerischer Direktor: Claudia Zanfi

mit Atelier van Lieshout, Pawel Althamer, Ursula Biemann, Pavel Braila, Mircea Cantor & Version Magazine, Calin Dan, Razvan Ion & Critical Factor, Gzregorz Klaman, Medusa Group, Dan Perjovschi, Aldo Runfola, Stefan Rusu, Franco Vaccari