NINE URBAN BIOTOPES - NEGOTIATING THE FUTURE OF URBAN LIVING

5 Participating countries:

Summary

Nine Urban Biotopes- Negotiating the Future of Urban Living

Nine Urban Biotopes - Negotiating the Future of Urban Living (9UB) was an international, socially engaged art project delivering artistic research and cultural exchange. It did this both within and among social citizen and art initiatives in cities in South Africa and Europe in 2014.

The participating initiatives all distinguish themselves by addressing vital matters of concern with regard to contemporary urban living in innovative ways. They work about and respond to issues of safety and housing, youth and migration, education and environment, mobility and economic subsistence. They do so ›on the ground‹ and ›in the thick of life‹ in each city, which is the reason why they are referred to as ›urban biotopes‹ giving the overall project its name.

The aim of 9UB was to establish both a ›trans-local‹ and ›trans-continental‹ dialogue by interweaving and connecting new context-specific, socially engaged art projects into the existing social activities of these biotopes. It did so in order to expose, discuss and share different ›intentions, methods and techniques‹ of imaginative urban practices for building ›sustainable cities‹ and, in order to learn from each other, theoretically and practically.

From January through September 2014, nine artistic projects were produced in nine urban settings. Four European artists - Armin Linke, Antje Schiffers, Marjetica Potrč and Anthony Schrag - worked in South Africa while at the same time five South Africans - Athi-Patra Ruga, Dan Halter, Taswald Pillay, Terry Kurgan and Rangoato Hlasane - worked in Europe. Three projects ran simultaneously; each for a period of three consecutive months.

By combining, linking and implementing 9UB within a South African – European partnership structure – local answers to global questions were discussed such that they were able to shed light on a range of sustainable solutions and innovative ideas regarding urban development issues on both sides of the equator.

As the final product of the project, this e-Publication both reflects this process and expands its terrain by including contributions from a range of writers, photographers, public intellectuals, urban practitioners and activists including  Bruno Latour, Michael Keith, Sophie Hope, Michael Guggenheim, Marcos L. Rosa, Adam Greenfield, Taryn Mackay, Henk Borgdorff and Alexander Opper amongst others.

Results

Description

From January through September 2014, nine artistic
projects were produced in nine urban settings. Four
European artists worked in South Africa while at the
same time five South Africans worked in Europe.
Three projects ran simultaneously; each for a period
of three consecutive months. Integrated reporters
represented each process of each participatory arts
project by means of web-based communication and
social networks.
By combining, linking and implementing 9UB within a
South African – European partnership structure – local
answers to global questions were discussed such that
they were able to shed light on a range of sustainable
solutions and innovative ideas regarding urban
development issues on both sides of the equator.


Other data
Url:
File(s):
9UB_BIOTOPES_INFOS_A4.pdf
Typology: Method 2 - Cooperation processes
Description

As the final product of the project, this e-Publication
both reflects this process and expands
its terrain by including contributions from a
range of writers, photographers, public intellectuals,
urban practitioners and activists, including
Bruno Latour, Michael Keith, Sophie Hope,
Michael Guggenheim, Marcos L. Rosa, Adam
Greenfield, Taryn Mackay, Henk Borgdorff and
Alexander Opper, amongst others.


Other data
Url:
ISBN 978-3-00-049053-8

File(s):
9UB_ePublication_sample.pdf
Typology: Product 8 - Material productions out of events projects publications, CD-Rom, CDs, DVD, tapes, artistic products etc
Description

Full information about the process and the outcome of the project and link to images


Other data
Url:
File(s):
9UB PM ePublication.pdf
Typology: Experience 4 - Exchange of ideas and good practice
Description

9UB’s evaluation was built into and conducted throughout the overall project with research trips to most
of the different residencies and discharged into a final report in the e-Publication. A special report with regards to safety issues was produced by the evaluation team and an
academic paper presentation was given during the UIA World Architecture Conference.


Other data
Url:
File(s):
CUCR-9UB-Safety_Report-Feb2015.pdf
Typology: Product 1 - Reports and studies
Description

9UB’s evaluation was built into and conducted throughout the overall project with research trips to most
of the different residencies and discharged into a final report in the e-Publication. The critical assessment
included more than 40 interviews with participants and partners. An interim report was produced right
after the final planning meeting of the European partners in Paris.


Other data
File(s):
9UB-CUCR_interim report_web.pdf
Typology: Product 1 - Reports and studies
Description

In Torino, the project partner Istituto Wesen engages with immigrants from the south of Italy, who have
been planting informal vegetable gardens around the Fiat-factory in Mirafiori in the south of Turin since
the mid 1950s. Immigrants first created these gardens surrounding their company supplied
accommodation, as a way of maintaining a sense of their own identities outside of the big factory, and
also as a way of building social networks and convivial meeting places. Almost 60 years later, in a period
of deep economic crisis and unemployment in Italy, these urban gardens still symbolise community life;
providing essential food for families, but also offering up places of integration and aggregation.
The South African artist Dan Halter gardened with community members. Dan Halter likes to call himself
a »fabricator«, who interacts with his art practice from within a social matrix. He often remakes or
reconstructs existing things and objects that are completely plucked out of thin air, drawing attention to
those aspects of these things that are truth and fiction.Together they planted vegetable seedlings in trays
and Halter introduced the concept of the Space Invader originally designed in 1978 for the famous
computer game’s symbol of an alien, which in the case of Dan’s practice stands for immigrants. When the
seedlings sprouted, they lent their colour to each tray that formed a pixel in the creation of a »Mirafiori
Space Invader«on the lawns of Colonnetti Park.


Other data
File(s):
Turin_Press review.pdf
Typology: Product 8 - Material productions out of events projects publications, CD-Rom, CDs, DVD, tapes, artistic products etc
Description

A complex system of integrated reporters, social network managers and a viral marketing strategy
produced nearly 90 short videos of the process of the nine projects in five countries and on two
continents to present them on the common website www.urban-biotopes.net as well as on several
social network platforms, e.g. vimeo, youtube and flickr to end up as content on a 9UB facebook site in
order to be shared by partners and friends around the internet.


Other data
Url:
File(s):
9UB_timeline website.jpg
Typology: Product 9 - Websites, databases
Description

transformative role of creativity in building safer and more livable cities. dala emerged as a response to
the growing need for a sustainable space for creative practitioners actively engaging in art/architecture
for social change.
The photographer and media-artist Armin Linke prefers to work in collaborative ways. Moreover he
combines different media to blur the boundary between fiction and reality. He is working on an ongoing
archive of human activity in the context of the most diverse and varied natural and manmade landscapes.
These issues and interests see him travel to different parts of the world: Palestinian refugee camps or
uninhabited islands in the Mediterranean Sea that are used industrially.
Linke collaborated in a research process with dala, the local organisation of street traders and the
cooperative for hawkers and informal business. Every day thousands of street traders commute by foot
between the townships of the faraway hills and the business centre of Durban. The project invited their
photographs and opinions and enabled insight into their daily practise. Ten video portraits were
produced and installed into the city market. The final local presentation of the project was a platform for
statements of passersby about the inner city market district, which is currently highly endangered by master plans to build a shopping mall on its spot.


Other data
File(s):
Durban Compliments and complaints.jpg
Typology: Product 8 - Material productions out of events projects publications, CD-Rom, CDs, DVD, tapes, artistic products etc
Description

Cape Town, 'The Mother City' was the first European settlement in South Africa. Today it is one of the
most multicultural cities in the world, reflecting its role as a major destination for tourists, immigrants
and expatriates to South Africa. Cape Town is also home to diverse communities who speak the three
main languages of the Western Cape – English, Afrikaans and Xhosa – and who still live in largely
segregated ways.
The artist Antje Schiffers understands being on the move as an essential part of her artistic practice. She
is interested in the realities of life of different social groups and how economical, political and social
conditions –locally and also globally – determine someone’s everyday life. Her research method involves
exchanging goods with the people she encounters while she is on the move. These transactions include
products of her artwork that are often exchanged for everyday items, such as texts or videos made with
the different people she meets. Antje Schiffers and her partner Thomas Sprenger, assisted by local
resident Ziphozakhe Hlobo, attempted to work within and across the complex fabric of Cape Town
society. Cape Town Community Television (CTV) was their partner in terms of facilitating contacts with
communities within the city. The project evolved into a stop-motion film composed of Antje’s drawings,
lyrically and subtly representing what it was that Cape Town had to teach them.


Other data
File(s):
Cape Town_poster.jpg
Typology: Product 8 - Material productions out of events projects publications, CD-Rom, CDs, DVD, tapes, artistic products etc
Description

In Torino, the project partner Istituto Wesen engages with immigrants from the south of Italy, who have
been planting informal vegetable gardens around the Fiat-factory in Mirafiori in the south of Turin since
the mid 1950s. Immigrants first created these gardens surrounding their company supplied
accommodation, as a way of maintaining a sense of their own identities outside of the big factory, and
also as a way of building social networks and convivial meeting places. Almost 60 years later, in a period
of deep economic crisis and unemployment in Italy, these urban gardens still symbolise community life;
providing essential food for families, but also offering up places of integration and aggregation.
The South African artist Dan Halter gardened with community members. Dan Halter likes to call himself
a »fabricator«, who interacts with his art practice from within a social matrix. He often remakes or
reconstructs existing things and objects that are completely plucked out of thin air, drawing attention to
those aspects of these things that are truth and fiction.Together they planted vegetable seedlings in trays
and Halter introduced the concept of the Space Invader originally designed in 1978 for the famous
computer game’s symbol of an alien, which in the case of Dan’s practice stands for immigrants. When the
seedlings sprouted, they lent their colour to each tray that formed a pixel in the creation of a »Mirafiori
Space Invader«on the lawns of Colonnetti Park.


Other data
File(s):
Turin_final event poster_14th June.jpg
Typology: Product 8 - Material productions out of events projects publications, CD-Rom, CDs, DVD, tapes, artistic products etc
Description

9UB’s evaluation was built into and conducted throughout the overall project with research trips to most
of the different residencies and discharged into a final report in the e-Publication. The critical assessment
included more than 40 interviews with participants and partners. An interim report was produced right
after the final planning meeting of the European partners in Paris.


Other data
Url:
File(s):
Excerpt 9UB e_Publication_Evaluation.pdf
Typology: Product 1 - Reports and studies

Disclaimer

The European Commission is not responsible for any uploaded or submitted content. Such content expresses the views of its author(s) only.

Coordinator

urban dialogues

Bergstr. , 71, 10115, Berlin
stefan.horn@urbandialogues.de
+49.30.609 400 93


Partners

Quatorze
rue Saint Just, 19 93100 Montreuil
+33 982 918 218
South London Fine Art Gallery and Library
Peckham Road, 65 SE5 8UH London
+442077036120
South London Fine Art Gallery and Library
Peckham Road, 65 SE5 8UH London
+442077036120
Goldsmiths College University of London
Lewsiham Way New Cross, null SE14 6NW London
0207 919 7171
Goldsmiths College University of London
Lewsiham Way New Cross, null SE14 6NW London
0207 919 7171
Goethe-Institut e.V.
Dachauer Str., 122 80637 München
+49 89 15921-0
id22: Institute for Creative Sustainability
Marienburger Str., 40 10405 Berlin
+49 (030) 47 37 23 08
PLANACT
Juta Street, Braamfontein, 28 2001 Johannesburg
+27 11 4036291
Cape Town TV
Lower Scott Road, 18 7925 Cape Town
+27 21 448 0448
dala
Banfield Crescent, Puntan's Hill, Morningside, 56 4091 Durban
+27 735151308
Drama for Life Wits University
Jan Smuts, 1 6000 Johannesburg
+2711 7174735
istituto wesen
via Genebrea, 19 10063 Perosa Argentina
+39 0121 81338