Urban Intervention Practice Intervention [ act or fact of intervening ] [ interference of one state in the affairs upon another ] [ interference so as to modify a process or situation ] Meaning / Definition Urban Intervention (UI) practice in the city can be understood as a participatory act performed to stimulate community involvement in order to create social awareness regarding urban issues.
Evolution of the Concept Church Procession Europe (Early Centuries - BCs) Church procession route, illustrates public participation in the social event
Evolution of the Concept Festival and Parade * Horse Race- Palio Siena Piazza Del Campo, Italy (2 nd July, 16 th August, 17 th Century onwards) * Royale Progress London, UK (1911) Various, city events led to active public participation and socio-cultural activities.
Influential Practices Fluxus George Maciunas New York, USA (1963) Fluxus is a movement/style which attempts to understand, what happens when different media intersects. Artists use everyday objects, sound, images and text to create new combinations. Art works turns out to be very brief in nature and have an element of humor.
Influential Practices Situationist International Guy Debord Paris, France (1957) Situationist International (SI) were an avant-garde group of European cultural and political dissidents who criticized those experiences of life overpowered by the capitalist society and suggested, the construction of situations favorable to the superior qualities of human desire.
Influential Practices Situationist International Guy Debord Paris, France (1957) They devised various techniques to provoke individuals into actively engaging with both their bodies and environment around them by finding new ways of exploring the city. “……… let the citizens themselves decide what spaces and architecture they want to live in and how they wish to live in.” - Situationist City - Spectacle of Society
Categories Performative Interventions Performance, Participation, Media Art Social Interventions Making Visible. Social Impact, Re-enacting the Situation Political Interventions Provocative Spatial Interventions Architectural, Land Art
Performance Happening Allan Karpow New York, USA (1957) * Yard, 1961 * Calling, 1966 Happenings are multidisciplinary events which involve active participation of the audience. New media art has eliminated the boundary between the art work and its viewer. The interactions between the audience and the artwork makes audience, in a sense, an active part of the art work.
Performance Music Artists Performances Jimmy Hadnrix Madonna A strong message is conveyed through lyrics, music and the stage act as part of live performance.
Performance Love Parade Berlin (1989 onwards) Redefining a public space by conducting annual electronic music and dance festivals. It is also conceived as a demonstration for spreading peace and harmony through international music and love.
Participation Open Public Library Michael Clegg and Martin Guttmann Graz (1991) It is conceived as a temporary institution which can be operated by the neighborhood community. It attempts to question the working of the conventional library.
Participation Baloon Pavilion Roumlabor Berlin (2008) It is a mobile, hot-air balloon pavilion that is used to change public space into temporary quarters for the community to get together. A bubble-like dome inflates out of the back of a standard delivery truck and organically situates itself in relation to the surroundings, creating a exclusive structure that changes with different environments.
Participation Stadium Maurizio Cattelan Italy (1991) An extra long table-football game that would accommodate as many players as an actual football/ soccer game requires. Here, Italian team played by Senegalese immigrants who suffered racism in Italy plays versus another team wearing a Nazi slogan on their shirts.
Media Art Radio Ballet Leipzig (2002) Around 500 participants, no dancers or actors – were invited to enter the station, equipped with radios and earphones. By means of which they could listen to a radio program consisting of a choreography gestures (to beg, to sit or lie down on the floor etc). These suggestions were interrupted by reflections on the public space. It was neither demonstration nor mass ornamentation but an act of free association in a public space.
Media Art Traffic Island Sculpture Lars Spuybroek Netherlands (2005) General mood of the city inhabitants is captured through the online survey which is analyzed and interpreted in a symbolic color scheme on the traffic island sculpture. For example, red for love, blue for happiness, yellow for fear and green for hatred.
Media Art Media Projections Usman Haque Evoke- Cathedral, York Minster(2007) Burble- Singapore (2006) Patterns are generated in real time by words, sounds, music and noise levels produced collectively by the public. The categories are derived from their particular voice characteristics.
Making Visible Zebra Crossing Gerhard Lang Kassel (1993) It is getting difficult for the pedestrian to move freely in the city because of the controlled traffic regulations. This installation questions the authority by the literal interpretation of zebra stripes as pedestrian crossing on the busy vehicular street in the city of Kassel.
Making Visible Wind Shield Pedestrian Public demands for a dedicated pedestrian zone by performing a contradictory act of walking with windshield on a busy vehicular street.
Making Visible Surveillance Camera Players Michael Carter and Bill Brown New York (1996) The Surveillance Camera Players (SCP) is a small, informal group of people who are unconditionally opposed to the installation and use of video surveillance cameras in public places.
Social Impact 7000 Oaks Joseph Beuys Kassel(1982) It called for the planting of 7000 trees, each paired with a columnar basalt brought form a quarry. The stones were initially heaped on the lawn in front of the building. He started planting trees with its accompanying stele. This action continued for 5 years diminishing the original pile of stones; indicating the progress of the project which offered significant opportunities for utilizing 'public' open space socially.
Social Impact Where Colleague Corbinian Bohm, Michael Gruber Munich (2003) Garbage truck drivers clicked a photograph of the neighborhood in their native place. These images were then placed on the garbage trucks. In turn, it became a moving exhibition of personal stories to their colleagues and all other viewers from the places where the trucks drove to.
Social Impact Documenta Public Garden Kassel (1987) A public garden is designed and developed by active participation of the neighborhood community.
Re-enacting the Situation Dreadful Details Eric Baudelaire France (2008) Political conflict is captured by a staged scenario to provoke debate over crisis in the middle eastern nations and its international affairs.
Re-enacting the Situation People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Activities International PETA's core belief is in right of all beings—human and nonhuman alike—to be free from harm. They spread the message by practicing controversial tactics in the public space; mostly by adopting nudity as a powerful strategy.
Re-enacting the Situation Works of Space Hijackers London (2009) The Space Hijackers are Anarchitects, who oppose the hierarchy that is put upon us by Architects, Planners and owners of space. By creating new and contrasting myths and stories within space, they create 'Anarchitecture', devoid of hierarchy and control.
Provocative Monday Demonstration Leipzig (1989) The Monday demonstrations in East Germany were a series of peaceful political protests against the socialist authoritarian government of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) that took place every Monday evening to demand rights such as the freedom to travel to foreign countries and to elect a democratic government. These attempts led to the fall of the Berlin wall and reunification of east and west Germany.
Provocative Wrapped Reitschstag Christo and Jeanne Claude 24 th June,1995 Berlin (1971-95) It was built in 1894, burned in 1933, destroyed in 1945, it was restored in the 60’s, but it always remained the symbol of Democracy. Wrapping it took 24 years in preparation not only artistic but also political debate. At last, for a period of two weeks, the fabric, shaped by the blue ropes, created a flow of folds highlighting the features and proportions of the structure, revealing the essence of it.
Provocative Bansky Graffiti Bristol (1992- Onwards) Known for his contempt for the government in labeling graffiti as vandalism, Banksy displays his art on public surfaces such as walls and even goes as far as building physical prop pieces. “ . . . Remember crime against property is not real crime. People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at a graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access. “
Provocative Iron Curtain Christo and Jeanne Claude Rue Visconti, Paris (1962) Rue Visconti is one of the narrowest but culturally alive streets in Paris. This ‘Iron Curtain’ was used as a barricade to transform the street into a dead end (same can be extended to an entire city). It was built during the time of conflict in Europe when The Berlin Wall in Germany and post war protests were taking place in Paris.
Provocative French Open Gianni Motti Paris (2004) The artist protested by sitting in the VIP stand opposite the television cameras that were transmitting the French Open live along with a parallel event covering the arrival of George Bush. He attended the match with his head covered by a hood, alluding to the treatment of prisoners at Abu Gharaib jail.
Provocative Reclaim the Streets (RTS) London (1991 onwars) It’s a non-violent act of reclaiming major road/ highway to stage a party. While this may obstruct the regular user of these spaces such as car drivers and public bus riders, the philosophy of RTS is that it is vehicular traffic, not pedestrians, who are causing the obstruction, and that by occupying the road they are in fact opening up public space.
Architectural PRADA Marfa Michael Elmgreen, Ingar Dragset Texas (2005) The sculpture is meant to look like a Prada store, with minimalist white stucco walls and a window display housing real Prada products. But there is no working door. A few days later the installation was vandalized. The building was broken into and all of its contents were stolen, and the word "Dumb" and the phrase "Dum Dum" were spray painted on the sides of the structure.
Architectural Momentarily Monument Braunschweig’s (2007) The structural intervention consists of erecting a broad staircase in front of the theater connecting to the balcony of the ballroom. During the festival, audiences enter and leave the theater directly via the steps. The red carpet used on the staircase and in the ballroom becomes both an invitation and an emblem for the festival, visible from afar.
Architectural Michael Rakowitz New York (1998) The artist custom builds inflatable shelters for homeless people that attach to the exterior outtake vents of a building’s HVAC system. Custom designed for each individual their oddness in the streetscape gives visibility to the homeless, past whom ordinary people walk by without a second glance.
Land Art Spiral Jetty Robert Smithson Great Salt Lake, Utah (1970) It is formed by 1,500-foot-long, 15-foot-wide counterclockwise coil jutting from the shore of the lake. At the time of its construction, the water level of the lake was low because of a drought. Within a few years, the water level returned to normal and submerged the jetty for the next three decades. Later it kept on emerging based on seasonal changes.
Land Art Battery Park Agnes Dense Manhattan, New York (1982) The artist planted a two-acre field of wheat in a vacant lot in downtown Manhattan. The artwork yielded 1,000 lbs. of wheat in the middle of New York City to comment on "human values and misplaced priorities". The harvested grain then traveled to 28 cities worldwide in "The International Art Show for the End of World Hunger" and was symbolically planted around the globe.
Land Art Ant Farm Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels Amarillio, Texas (1974) The Ant Farm consists of used Cadillac automobiles, representing a number of evolutions of the car line from 1949 to 1963, half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt.
Credits Bauhaus Kolleg XI CIAM Urbanism II UNIVERCITIES This presentation is restructured by the author from the content provided at The Buahaus Kolleg course during 2009-2010 * Case studies and content is been partially referred from the presentation provided by the faculties.