BUCHAREST, ROMANIA.- Democracy – art – publicness: the pilot project Spaţiul Public Bucureşti | Public Art Bucharest consists of interventions, debates and actions throughout the whole of 2007. The project Spaţiul Public Bucureşti | Public Art Bucharest 2007 creates a platform for transdisciplinary discussions and debates exploring how public art encourages a critical engagement with the structures of power which are dominant in the public sphere. Thus, public art in Bucharest will no longer be equivalent merely to monuments in the city’s squares, or to urban furniture and ornaments, but will become a measuring unit for the cultural and democratic state of society.
For the pilot stage of the project, to take place in 2007, the following Romanian artists with international profile were invited: Mircea Cantor, Anetta Mona Chişa in collaboration with Lucia Tkáčová, Nicoleta Esinencu, H.arta, Daniel Knorr, Dan Perjovschi, and Lia Perjovschi. The artists’ projects confront the public with a series of contemporary themes relevant both from an international perspective and for a context in which the exercise of democracy has not been yet fully incorporated. The streets, squares and markets of the city, public and private institutions, public transportation, and mass media channels constitute settings for the artists’ interventions.
Within the artists’ projects a central role is hold by a multifunctional project space, which will open in September, with a program of activities every day for one month. Structured to host hot issues of the present by inviting professionals from different fields to talk about them, the project space will be addressed not only to an audience with a cultural background, but also to young people, a casual street audience or people frequenting bars. Alongside discussions and workshops, a variety of activities will be staged, such as lectures, film projections, musical performances, club events. Hence, the project space will bring together a large spectrum of urban scenes in a unitary set.
Bucharest is one of the fastest developing cities in Europe, however one where post-communism and globalization created specific tensions and eccentric juxtapositions in the architecture, urbanism or social life. The ways in which people in the city perceive, experiment and respond to these tensions define an active public space. The challenges of a city such as Bucharest, where unresolved issues of the recent past are back-dropped by the speed of capitalist expansion are to be acknowledged by the cultural discourse and analysed in open public debates.
Bucharest needs to be recognized as a European cultural metropolis, and as such it needs those structures which can stimulate an exchange of ideas in tune with the contemporary international developments. The project Spaţiul Public Bucureşti | Public Art Bucharest 2007 follows three objectives:
1. To support Bucharest’s synchronization with the evolution of contemporary art and to create awareness about the importance of the public space; 2. On a medium term, the project aims at creating a self-sustained initiative regarding public art; 3. Over a longer period of time this self-sustained initiative allows a consistent realization of public art projects with continuity.
Spaţiul Public Bucureşti | Public Art Bucharest 2007 offers different patterns that encourage the people to interact with society. The project needs to be continued, with the purpose of confronting the inhabitants of Bucharest with the city they live in, harnessing their determination to assume an active role in defining the public sphere, and of creating a cultural profile for the city.
Spaţiul Public Bucureşti | Public Art Bucharest 2007 is curated by Marius Babias and Sabine Hentzsch.
Spaţiul Public Bucureşti | Public Art Bucharest 2007 is a pilot project initiated by the partner institutions Goethe-Institut Bukarest, Institutul Cultural Roman (ICR), and Allianz Kulturstiftung. The project is financially supported by the Cultural Programme of the German EU Presidency in 2007 provided by the German Foreign Office, and Erste Foundation. Also, the project is supported by the Order of Architects in Romania and by the Swiss Cultural Programme South-East Europe and Ukraine, a programme of SDC (Swiss Development Cooperation) and Pro Helvetia. The artist book series is published by IDEA Publishing House Cluj and Walther König Cologne. The project magazine is published in collaboration with Suplimentul de Cultură. The project website www.spatiul-public.ro is developed and run by E-cart.ro.