Artists Hans Venhuizen, Andre Dekker / Observatorium, Sabrina Lindemann / Mobiel projectbureau OpTrek and architect Iris Schutten talk about their recently published books that share a common field of interest: the relations between art and social and spatial planning.
Sabrina Lindemann, Iris Schutten
Hotel Transvaal catalyzing Urban Transformation
Dutch title: Stedelijke transformatie in de Tussentijd Hotel Transvaal als impuls in de wijk
Many urban neighbourhoods in the Netherlands are being radically transformed. The usual preoccupation is with the intended end result, how it will look when everything is finished. But what happens in the interim? This book shows the opportunities such a period can offer.
In the many years that elapse between demolition and the completion of new building projects, entire generations grow up among boarded-up houses, with vastly scaled-down local services and in disintegrating communities. But the interim can also be exploited as a time with its own qualities and potential. It calls for temporary initiatives that add social and cultural capital in a period in which a neighbourhood’s vitality is under pressure on all fronts: initiatives that show how the transformation process can also influence the final outcome.
In these essays and interviews, people from various social, cultural, and commercial walks of life take a close look at all aspects of ‘interim thinking’, and suggest a wide range of possible activities. Concepts originating in art and design can serve as direct sources of inspiration for specific projects. This volume demonstrates that no one involved in urban regeneration can aff ord to avoid taking an active approach to the interim.
Texts/authors: Sabrina Lindemann, Iris Schutten (eds), Chris Keulemans, Bram Esser, Siebe Thissen, Gijs van Oenen, Robert Temel, Willem Sulsters, Klaus Overmeyer, Maarten Hajer and Wytske Versteeg
Graphic design: Stout/Kramer
Published by SUN/Trancity
OpTrek in Transvaal. On the Role of Public Art in Urban Development. Interventions and Research
The artist organisation, Mobiel Projectbureau OpTrek, an initiative of Sabrina Lindemann and Annechien Meier, has been studying the drastic restructuring scheme that will continue to grip the multi-ethnic district Transvaal in The Hague until 2014. This operation involves the demolition of some three thousand dwellings, to make way for 1,600 new homes, most of them in a higher price class. OpTrek invited artists to study these changes and to make them visible for a wider audience, as well as to explore the underlying political policies. In this publication an overview of art projects, interviews, debates, interventions and research between 2002-2009 is presented.
Authors/Texts: Veronica Hekking, Sabrina Lindemann, Annechien Meier [eds], Sandra Spijkerman, Elke Krasny, Saskia Monshouwer, Leeke Reinders and Ton van de Pennen.
Graphic design: Harmine Louwé.
Published by Jap Sam Books
Big Pieces of Time
Noise barriers, urban parks, prisons, coal heaps, railway stations, housing estates, motorways and industrial heritage are all part of Observatorium’s field of operations. This unique consortium of three artists has developed a philosophy and a working procedure intended to make the grey areas and interfaces of urban design, landscape architecture, architecture and art productive. Instead of creating autonomous art in public space, Observatorium uses the media of sculpture and installation to make functional facilities that are monumental, symbolic and meaningful. Big Pieces of Time is both an overview and the outcome of this design philosophy – informing, philosophizing, inspiring, discipline-hopping and obliging. The photographs by Geert van de Camp, drawings by Ruud Reutelingsperger and narratives by Andre Dekker give an evocative and effervescent account of the genesis of the different projects and how they are used by the public. The book concludes with a complete list of works, ranging from small scale handwork to large scale urban design, on a string that ties the cities of New York, Rotterdam, Essen, Dresden and Krasnoyarsk.
Graphic design: Karelse & den Besten
Published by 010 Publishers
Warten auf den Fluss Das Neue Emschertal im Wandel der Kunst. Ein Lesebuch
Observatorium participated in the public art event EMSCHERKUNST.2010 in the Ruhr area. The sculpture Waiting for the River was regarded a good example for the future development of the Emscher Park in the Ruhr area for which the authorities have coined the description ‘productive park’. The book Waiting for the River (in German only) describes the use and the visions of the visitors and guests spending the night in the wasteland that is bound to be transformed.
Published by Emschergenossenschaft / Regionalverband Ruhr / Observatorium, Klartext Verlag
Game Urbanism deals with the culture of spatial planning. Hans Venhuizen advances a broad understanding of culture that encompasses cultural history, heritage, architecture and art, as well as the culture of the current residents of a region and the idiosyncrasy of a place. In his search for a more specific identity for cities and areas, Venhuizen links the worlds of culture and space to each other in different ways. In this, his focus is always on the culture of spatial planning itself, and the game is his most important instrument. The relation between playfulness and seriousness is a key feature in all of Venhuizen’s projects. The game is capable of involving participants in an assignment on an equal basis. Moreover, it simplifies complex situations, reveals the wishes and interests of those involved, and provides pleasure in uncertain processes of change.
Texts/authors: Hans Venhuizen, Charles Landry and Francien van Westrenen
Graphic design: Janna and Hilde Meeus
Published by Valiz