Monday, 22 October 2007

Solitude Film Program at Storefront in New York

Performance Z-A: a Pavilion and 26 Days of Events at Storefront for Art and Architecture
B: Oct 15 - Film Program »Searching for an Ideal Urbanity«

Recent video and film artworks by artists-in-residence at Akademie Schloss Solitude ( 
The film program was organized as an adjunct public event to the exhibition »Searching for an Ideal Urbanity« an interdisciplinary project curated by the Italian architect Fabrizio Gallanti in cooperation with fellows of Akademie Schloss Solitude, which was presented at Solitude in spring of 2007. The works in the film program deal with different forms of urbanity, taking a sociological, architectural or narrative approach.

(1) Alexander Schellow »Spots« (Series since 2005, DVD, based on approx. 36 drawings each, 9 x 16cm, felt pen on transparent paper)
(2) Sanford Biggers and Jennifer Zackin »A small world« (1999-2002), 6.30 min.
(3) Susanne Bürner »Ohne Titel« (2004), 5.30 min.
(4) Susanne Bürner »50.000.000 can't be wrong« (2006), 6.24 min.
(5) Korpys/Löffler and Marcus Kaiser, »Super Sam« (2002), 13 min. (with English subtitles)
(6) Susanne Bürner »huts« (2007), 2.30 min.
(7) Krassimir Terziev »A Place (Playground)« (2004), 10 min.
(8) Daniel Kunle and Holger Lauinger »Neuland« (2006), 75 min. (with English subtitles)

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Idealurbs go to NY

A selection of videos and movies from The "Searching for an ideal Urbanity" show will be screened during the Performance Z-A: a Pavilion and 26 Days of Events at Storefront
in New York.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Searching for an Ideal Urbanity

Images from the Opening - March 29, 2007

Thursday, 3 May 2007



Lecture by Matthias Sauerbruch
» On the Concept of Urbanity in German Architecture in the Past 20 Years«
Thursday, May 3, 2007, 8 pm

The architect Matthias Sauerbruch lectures on the use and misuse of the concept of “urbanity” in the German architecture scene over the past 20 years.

The architecture office sauerbruch hutton was founded in 1989 by Louisa Hutton and Matthias Sauerbruch. The office’s constructions and projects share a unified planning approach, which combines functionality, high architectural standards and ecological sustainability. Among already- realized projects are office and commercial buildings, laboratories and production facilities, schools and residential buildings, renovations and landmark preservation as well as urban-planning designs. Sauerbruch hutton has been awarded with numerous national and international prizes, among them the AIA award and the German architectural prize. Matthias Sauerbruch is a member of the Akademie curatorial board and has been a professor in the architecture department of the State Academy of Visual Arts Stuttgart since 2001.

The lecture will be held in German but there will be printed material available in English!

Public Workshop »Building Urbanity«
Friday, May 4, 2007, 10 am to 6 pm

In this public workshop, SMAQ discusses the 45 hectars of urban culture in the desert of Dubai, Jean-Francois Chevrier speaks on the philosopher Henri Lefebvre and the concept of urbanity, and Fabrizio Gallanti discusses current issues in urban planning with Pier Vittorio Aureli.

All discussions will take place in English. Detailed program attached!

Film Program »Searching for an Ideal Urbanity«
Saturday, Mai 5, 2007, 6 pm

The film program ends the official events connected to the exhibition “Searching for an Ideal Urbanity.” Films by Susanne Bürner, Daniel Kunle and Holger Lauinger, Korpys/Löffler and Q Takeki Maeda/Jay Chung will be shown starting at 6pm.

(1) Jay Chung & Q Takeki Maeda »Caducean City« (2006), 22 min.
(2) Daniel Kunle and Holger Lauinger »NICHT-MEHR | NOCH-NICHT« (2004), 82 min. (with english subtitles)
(3) Korpys/Löffler »Digging Deep« (1999), 42 min. . (with english subtitles)
(4) Susanne Bürner »Ohne Titel« 4 (2004), 5'30 min.
(5) Susanne Bürner »huts« (2007), 2'30 min.
(6) Florian Zeyfang, Judith Hopf and Natascha Sadr Haghighian »Proprio Aperto« (2005), 5'30 min.
(7) Christoph Wermke »Abhauen« (2004), 12 min.
(8) Susanne Bürner »Finistère« (2005), 5'40 min.
(9) Susanne Bürner »50.000.000 can't be wrong« (2006), 6'24 min.
(10) Korpys/Löffler and Marcus Kaiser, »Super Sam« (2002), 13 min. (with english subtitles)
(11) Daniel Kunle and Holger Lauinger »NEULAND« (2006), 75 min.

Between the screenings a three-second-video by Alexander Schellow from the »Spots« series will be shown.

May 4, 2007, 10 am to 6 pm

In this public workshop, SMAQ discusses the 45 hectars of urban culture in the desert of Dubai, Jean-Francois Chevrier speaks on the philosopher Henri Lefebvre and the concept of urbanity, and Fabrizio Gallanti discusses current issues in urban planning with Pier Vittorio Aureli.

All discussions will take place in English!


10 am – 1 pm Introduction by Fabrizio Gallanti and Jean-Baptiste Joly
»Building Urbanity«, Pier Vittorio Aureli
»The Question of Urbanity and the Loss of Public Space Today«,
Jean-Francois Chevrier

Pier Vittorio Aureli studied architecture at the Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia (IUAV) as well as earning his doctorate at the Berlage Institut of the TU Delft. He now is an instructor at the Berlage Institute and a guest professor at the Architectural Association in London and Columbia University in New York. Aureli is currently working on the publication »The Possibility of an Absolute Architecture, a Study on the Representation of the City through Architectural Form, from Bramante to Mies«.

Jean-François Chevrier has instructed contemporary art history at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris since 1988. It is there he began his international career as an author and curator. In his essays, Chervier deals with the relationship between literature and art; in his catalog essays with photography of the 20th and 21st century. Chevrier is among the most recognized theorists in the areas of photography, literature and art.

Fabrizio Gallanti, a doctor of architectural history, is a cofounder of the architecture collective A12 (Genoa/Milan), which has participated in numerous international exhibitions. After a longer residence in Santiago de Chile as a professor for architecture at the Pontifica University Catolica, Gallanti now lives and works as an architect in Milan and writes for such architecture magazines as Abitare, Domus and 32. Gallanti was a Solitude fellow in 1997, and served as jury chairman from 2002 – 2006.

1 pm – 2:30 pm Lunch Break

2:30 pm – 6 pm » How to Develop a 45 ha Masterplan for a New Urban Area in Dubai?«, SMAQ
»Evasions of Urbanity«, Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss

SMAQ (Berlin/Rotterdam) is a collaborative studio that operates in the field of architecture, urbanism and research. Directed by the architects Sabine Müller and Andreas Quednau, SMAQ was founded in 2001 and is based in Berlin and Rotterdam. The studio has contributed to a number of urban research projects in Germany, Latin America and Africa. The two architects have been selected to present their work in exhibitions and installations and their projects have been published in books and journals internationally. SMAQ has received prizes in several renowned international competitions including Europan 5, 6, 7 and 8, the Sarajevo Concert Hall Competition and the competition Possible Futures’. SMAQ’s work has been awarded the prestigious Egon Eiermann Award and the Hans Schaefers Award. Sabine Müller was an Akademie fellow in 2001 and Andreas Quednau in 2004.

Sabine Müller (*1969 in Kiel) has worked for the offices of West 8 (Rotterdam), Asymptote (New York) and von Gerkan, Marg & Partner (Hamburg). She is currently assistant professor at Karlsruhe University of Technology (Germany). Andreas Quednau (*1967 in Berlin) has worked for the offices of Kees Christiaanse - KCAP (Rotterdam), Diller+Scofidio and Michael Sorkin (both New York) and Arata Isozaki & Associates (Berlin). He is currently assistant professor at Berlin University of Technology (Germany).

Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss studied architecture at the University of Belgrade and at Harvard University’s School of Design. He realizes his architectural projects under the name »Normal Architecture Office«, and research projects under »School of Missing Studies«. In 2006 he published »Almost Architecture« during his Solitude fellowship, introducing architectural projects and interconnecting them with political texts about the impossibility of planning public space in post-communist countries with conventional architectural forms and content. Weiss is currently employed with Herzog de Meuron Architects in Basel. Srdjan Jovanovic Weiss was an Akademie fellow during 2004/2005.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

The Situational Drive.
A Weekend Conference at Cooper Union, New York.

Friday, 6 April 2007

Urban Shelter by Annett Zinsmeister / searching for an ideal urbanity, contribution

Every dwelling is a construction of defense. Architectural spaces were made from the beginning as shelter; a horizontal sheet as awning and a vertical enclosure as protection from corporal threat. A vertical shield, first as a border to houses, then growing towns, needed to be transformed and adapted in its dimensions and shape to guarantee protection against an aggressive force. Due to the generated surpluses by urban co- production, towns have been an objective of aggression and armed raids since their very beginning.

The rapid development of war technology in the 20th century generated new dimensions of warfare. This fact leads to the question of urban defense today and in future times (even facing the use of conventional weaponry).

In Searching for an Ideal Urbanity, my installation shows elements of a research and design project starting in Sarajevo in 1996 (directly after the end of the siege). The installation contains the film „A trip to Sarajevo“ (1996, 8 mm), a screening of panoramic views and a presentation of spatial research and architectural design for an area at the former frontline in the city center of Sarajevo.

The research project is about the magnitude of urban destruction due to the use of specific weaponry and questions the spatial possibilities of urban shelters today.

In using different media, the installation reflects upon and demonstrates the impact of visual media and the customization of perception.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Hans Ulrich Obrist Intro

Hans Ulrich Obrist was juror for literature at the Akademie Schloss Solitude between 2002 and 2004. He wrote this very beautiful preface to the book "Did someone say participate", edited by Shumon Basar and Markus Miessen and published by MIT Press.

I think it is very close to the working methodology that was used for the "Searching for an ideal urbanity" show. So instead of rewriting what was so clearly stated, I simply put his text here.


Participation Lasts Forever

Hans Ulrich Obrist

(Everything started with Alexander Dorner) As a high school student, I came across a second hand bookstore in St Gallen that had a copy of Alexander Dorner’s Ways Beyond Art. Dorner ran the
Hannover Museum in northern Germany in the 1920s, defined the museum as an energy plant, a Kraftwerk. He invited artists such as El Lissitzky to develop new and dynamic displays for what he called the "museum on the move." While operating in the pseudo-neutral spaces that dated from the nineteenth century, dominant at the time of his Hannover "reign", Dorner managed to define the museum's functions in ways that are relevant today. On various occasions, he spoke or wrote of “the museum in a state of permanent transformation”; “the museum as oscillating between object and process”; the "elastic museum," i.e. flexible displays within an adaptable building; and crucially, “the museum as a bridge built between artists and a variety of scientific disciplines.” Of this last aspect Dorner said “We cannot understand the forces which are effective in the visual production of today if we don't examine other fields of life.” This is something that I have tried to introduce in my curatorial work – by inviting architects, philosophers, film-makers and political thinkers into the orbit of the exhibition. If we consider the life of an exhibition as ongoing, we can view it as a complex dynamic learning system. One should renounce the closed, paralysing homogeneity of the traditional exhibition master plan. Artworks would be allowed to extend tentacles to other works – and other fields of knowledge. The curator mustn't stand in the way of such growth.

Harald Szeemann – considered by many as the first true independent curator – defined this long list of the “curator as generalist” which has been growing ever since:

The curator is administrator, sensitive art-lover, writer of prefaces, librarian, manager, accountant, animator, conservator, financier, and diplomat.

To which Barbara Vanderlinden and I added: fundraiser, researcher, teacher, editor, blogger, web-master, documentarian, and most important of all: someone who has conversations. Conversations with artists and other practitioners. Curators are agents of trans-disciplinarity. Last but not least there is the notion of the translator. The curator must negotiate between the different realities and fields implicated in exhibition-making. Indeed, there have been periods when I wondered whether I could spend my whole life in the art world or whether it was too narrow. As a result, I constantly ventured into other geographies and other disciplines. For example, my science research occurred through exhibitions like Bridge the Gap, Laboratorium, and
Art and Brain. In addition, ever since the exhibitions Mutations and Cities on the Move, I have retained a strong tie to architecture and urbanism – which continues through my involvement with Domus. But, I never left the art-world. The art-world permits this enormous degree of freedom. It allows you to make these external connections.

One main difference to Szeemann is important. I think there is less a question of authorship – as in the “auteur” – but curating as teamwork. Curatorial teams started in the 1990s due to the complexity of more and more global research. Collaborative curatorial models replaced the single curator in phenomena like Manifesta and new Biennales. Questioning the need for curatorial master-plans also stems from my experience with urbanism. In the 1950s, many urbanists questioned Le Corbusier's master-planned structures, into which everything had to fit in a modernist way. They began redefining dialogues with the local and the global. I have been greatly influenced by theories of urbanism, namely by architects like Cedric Price's “Non-plan”, Yona Friedman's amazing capacity of self-organization, and Oskar Hanson's “open form”. This influence is on-going. The exhibition is not just one exhibition; it's more like an archipelago. And then obviously it’s the task of the curator to link all these archipelagos, to make it legible for an audience to experience: the convention is to have isolated distinct objects or distinct monographic presentations of artists, which is one possibility but there are many other possibilities. In the strictly segregated situation of group shows, very often artists don’t know what their neighbour is doing – and this seems strange to me.

The role of the curator is to create free space, not occupy existing space. It’s reminiscent of an idea that Felix Feneon developed in the early 20th century: of the curator being a pedestrian bridge. In my practice, the curator has to bridge gaps and build bridges between artists, publics, institutions, and other types of communities. The crux of this work is building temporary communities, by connecting different people and practices, and creating the conditions for triggering sparks between them. To put it simply, curating is being involved in the creation, production, realization and promotion of ephemeral situations. While exhibitions may seem futile in this sense, they are an extremely interesting activity because they allow both artists and architects to test reality. Take the example of architecture – within the architectural
exhibition architects have induced the most interesting display features: from Mies van der Rohe to Peter and Alison Smithson, Zaha Hadid to Shigeru Ban, generations of architects have often begun to develop their language through exhibition designs.

First I was inviting artists and architects to art museums. Then I was increasingly asked to curate in the architecture or science world and things started to go back and forth. In the writer Edouard Glissant's words, “The idea of a non-linear time [... or the] coexistence of several time zones would of course allow for a great variety of different contact zones...” This is to say that perhaps the exhibition could become a reciprocal contact zone between the museum and the city.

Another interesting thing is this whole idea of “local” and the “global”. At the moment we are experiencing a mushroom-like explosion of biennales all over the world. There are hundreds of new ones coming up. There are positive and negative aspects of this. The positive aspect is obviously that it allows laboratories of new ideas to have more opportunities, which I think is development. It also shows that the world is multi-centred: we no longer have one or two centres, we have a prolificness of many centres. We can only understand the global if we are at the same time looking very carefully and in a focussed way at local conditions.

La Cohée du Lamentin, by Edouard Glissant, was published in 2005, and considers the nature pf producing reality today. It links very much with an interest I have in unrealised public projects. While public art entails a negotiation with reality that produces innovative, exciting work, it also implicates multiple parties, running the constant risk of censure. Bertrand Lavier once said, his only unrealised projects went unrealised because everyone agreed upon them! Unrealised endeavours in the visual arts (public commissions that were postponed or censored; competition
runner-ups; partially-realised plans; missed opportunities; or
”desk-drawer” projects) generally remain unnoticed. Since 1990, I have been gathering these projects into a “reservoir of ideas”. Throughout my 500 or more interviews with artists, architects, scientists and others, my only persistent question has been about unrealised projects. The penultimate step of this project is the foundation of an Agency for Unrealised Projects, architectural and artistic, at the Serpentine Gallery,
London, which will be co-directed by Julia Peyton Jones and myself. Rather than discussing unrealised projects for utopia or archive’s sake, we want to produce reality. We firmly believe that the past is an important toolkit and many of these projects could easily happen in a different social framework. (This project will also be in collaboration with E-Flux).


PARTICIPATION has been used a lot lately. What does this word mean today
after it has been turned into a cliché so often? How can people participate? Also how can the architect or curator participate? Who has the initiative?

At the beginning, participation was very “authentic” (according to Yona Friedman, and Giancarlo de Carlo). Then it became politically instrumentalized and often degraded. When Rem Koolhaas and I asked de Carlo about this issue he said: “I agree with you. If you consider the era of the 60s, there were at the same time two things which were very important. One was the rebellion of the students, and the other one was a new consciousness in the trade-unions. During that time, I had made two projects: one was for a housing complex in
Terni, and the other one was the urban plan for the new center of Rimini, both based on the idea of participation. Then after that moment a more bureaucratic period began, when participation became
something very formalistic and stupid. The problem to me had changed: the question was how to make an architecture which can intrinsically be participated, and this becomes a question of language. How can the language be such that it favours and
pushes participation? I think that this question still has to be explored, in many different fields: So I believe that the crucial issue is to use language that people can understand, penetrate and eventually use. So the process in my opinion takes a lot longer. Participation is something that you should start – and this is
something that you should not forget– it lasts forever.”

There is only a now and there is only a here. If we lost memory there is no time, there is only now. If we cannot move there is no space: it becomes virtual. As Yona Friedman once told me: “The only real thing is the here and now. The future is an intellectual construction.”

I recently asked artists and architects for their definition of the future. The incomplete list follows here:

the future will be chrome
Rirkrit Tiravanija

the future will be curved
Olafur Eliasson

the future will be "in the name of the future"
Anri Sala

the future will be so subjective
Tino Sehgal

the future will be bouclette
Douglas Gordon

the future will be curious
Nico Dockx

the future will be obsolete
Tacita Dean

the future will be asymmetric
Pedro Reyes

the future will be a slap in the face.
Cao Fei

the future will be delayed
Loris Greaud

the future does not exist but in snapshots
Philippe Parreno

the future will be tropical
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

future? must be mistaken
Trisha Donnelly

the future will be overgrown and decayed
Simryn Gill

the future will be tense
John Baldessari

Zukunft ist lecker
Hans-Peter Feldmann

Zukunft ist wichtiger als Freizeit
Helmut Kohl (proposed by Carsten Höller)

a future fuelled by human waste
Matthew Barney

the future is going nowhere without us
Paul Chan

the future is now – the future is it
Doug Aitken

the future is one night, just look up
Tomas Saraceno

the future will be a remake...
Didier Fiuza Faustino

the future is what we construct from what we remember of the past – the
present is the time of instantaneous revelation
Lawrence Weiner

the future is this place at a different time.
Bruce Sterling

the future will be widely reproduced and distributed
Cory Doctorow

the future will be whatever we make it
Jacque Fresco

the future will involve splendour and poverty
Arto Lindsay

the future is uncertain because it will be what we make it
Immanuel Wallerstein

the future is waiting – the future will be self-organized
Raqs Media Collective

Dum Spero/While I breathe, I hope
Nancy Spero

this is not the future
Jordan Wolfson

the future is a dog/l'avenir c'est la femme
Jacques Herzog & Pierre de Meuron

on its way; it was here yesterday
Hreinn Fridfinnsson

the future will be an armchair strategist, the future will be like no snow
on the broken bridge
Yang Fudong

the future always flies in under the radar
Martha Rosler

suture that future
Peter Doig

'To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow' (Shakespeare)
Richard Hamilton

the future is overrated
Cerith Wyn Evans

futuro = $B!g(B
Hector Zamorra

the future is a large pharmacy with a memory deficit
David Askevold

the future will be bamboo
Tay Kheng Soon

the future will be ousss
Koo Jeong-A

the future will be...grains, particles & bits.
the future will be...ripples, waves & flow.
the future will be...mix, swarms, multitudes.
the future will be...the future we deserve but with some surprises, if
only some of us take notice.
Vito Acconci

In the future...the earth as a weapon...

the future is our excuse
Joseph Grigely and Amy Vogel

the future will be repeated
Marlene Dumas

ok, ok i'll tell you about the future; but i am very busy right now;
give me a couple of days more to finish some things and i'll get back to
Jimmie Durham

future is instant
Yung Ho Chang

”The future is not”
Zaha Hadid

the future is private
Anton Vidokle

the future will be layered and inconsistent
Liam Gillick

the future is a piano wire in a pussy powering something important
Matthew Ronay

in the future perhaps there will be no past
Daniel Birnbaum

the future is menace
Carolee Schneemann

the future is a forget-me-not
Molly Nesbit

the future is an knowing exchange of glances
Sarah Morris

The future: Scratching on things I could disavow
Walid Raad

the future is our own wishful thinking.
Liu Ding

le futur est un étoilement
Edouard Glissant

the future is now
Maurizio Cattelan

the future has a silver lining
Thomas Demand

the future is now and here
Yona Friedman