space&designstrategies? Now what is that? The very first question should be about which space we are actually referring to. Are we talking about the private? Then it's about walls, floors and ceilings and, the main thing, is it warm and comfortable? The question becomes superfluous, because conventional distinctions between private and public have been obsolete for a long time. The private sphere is political, as feminist thinkers already determined back in the 1970s, referring to the need to open up and expose all private matters. Since then, the boundaries between private and public space have shifted several times. Today, private acts are performed in public space as a matter of course. We allow glimpses into the most intimate spaces and, at the same time, we barricade ourselves in hermetically sealed apartments. Public space, on the other hand, has seen more surveillance and regulation than ever before. Thus, space has simultaneously expanded and shrunk in recent decades. Above all, space (housing, public space, open space, landscapes) has become a highly sought-after commodity. Space is linked to politics, money, markets and power. The use of space is directly linked to status, income, and social forms and norms. Probably because of this, we tend to accept space, the way it is, all too quickly, as given and unchangeable, with all its restrictions and constrictions. Space, landscape, city, and public sphere are concepts that also need to be constantly redefined against a constantly reconfiguring political and economic background. This requires strategies as well.
But in many cases, there is resistance to the regimentations that determine our urban or suburban life. Public space belongs to all of us, the credo of this resistance goes. And it is true. We who live in urban or rural environments are part of this space and we should be able to shape it significantly. Urban politics and suburban planning logic are not something to be accepted without resistance. If the pavement is wide enough, why shouldn't I be able to sit there with my chair? The green space in the park should not be walked on? Then we start an initiative for urban gardening or throw seed bombs. Users want to participate in decisions concerning the space and to have a say in the future of the city, the country and the landscape. Especially the younger generation is no longer willing to accept the disastrous approach to cities, landscapes, the climate or social injustice. Space, in all its formulations (built, social, political, cultural space), has thus become negotiable. At the same time, publicly available space has increasingly become the site of protests, manifestations, and demonstrations. This makes the strategies which are employed particularly interesting. And this is exactly where space&designstrategies picks up as a site-specific artistic practice in space. In principle, (almost) every space can be occupied, used and interpreted. We do not want to leave the production of space to bureaucracy and technocracy. We are looking for effective artistic strategies and practices for a better handling of city and country space. We combine artistic strategies across all media with those of architecture and design, in an open, inspiring and experimental way. You want to become a researcher in the real laboratory of city, country and landscape? Then space&designstrategies is the right place foryou!
Sabine Pollak, 2022