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Demo:Polis: The Right to Public Space

Research output: Other contribution

  • Wilfried Wang
  • Barbara Hoidn
  • Ruth Dalton
  • Christoph Hoelscher
  • Stefan Müller Arisona
Publication date12/03/2016
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The era of old certainties, of self-satisfaction, is over. Public Space, its use, and the shaping of it are the future subjects of negotiations. The public is raising new demands regarding the fundamental principles of democracy and the design of Public Space. In cities, Public Space is the network of streets, squares, and parks that constitutes and represents urban communities. Public Space is, because we are civic society. DEMO:POLIS presents the pluralism of the contemporary meaning of Public Space. Exemplary projects, models, designs, and concepts by artists and architects as well as participatory processes highlight the potentials inherent in Public Space for our civic society. Incorporating plans and models, photographs and films, the exhibition DEMO:POLIS illustrates how architects, city planners, artists, students and the general public design and use public space. Examples range from Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York, to the Campo de Cebada in Madrid, to the Tempelhofer Feld in Berlin. The exhibition shows spatial designs that affect both small squares as well as entire strips of coast. It displays documentation from demonstrations and critical art interventions and gives insights into the work of successful bottom-up initiatives for safeguarding public spaces. Viewers are invited to take part in interactive discussion events to co-create the cities of the future. On display are works by Barkow & Leibinger, Foster + Partners, Hans Haacke, Seán Harrington and A2 Architects, Reinhild Hoffmann, Kleihues + Kleihues, Lacaton & Vassal, Andrés Mignucci, Elfi Mikesch, Rozana Montiel, Michael Najjar, Michael Ruetz, Stih & Schnock, Sadar + Vuga, Michael van Valkenburgh, Wermke/Leinkauf, Zuloark, et al.In October 2015, as part of a scholarly workshop, students at four higher education institutions discussed the central issues in the exhibition and afterwards drafted contributions to it. The workshop, led by Barbara Hoidn, focused on the town of Anklam (13,000 residents) and the city of Berlin (3.5 million residents) as the object of the research and draft designs. The art works and urban and architectural designs are intended to constructively critique and contribute to the public space debate. The participating universities were: Technische Universität Berlin (Matthias Graf von Ballestrem, Regine Leibinger); Media Lab Berlin (Albert Lang, TUB, Jörg Stollmann, TUB, Thomas Arslan, UdK, Nina Fischer, UdK; Kunsthochschule Weißensee: Hannes Brunner, Günter Nest; Fachhochschule Potsdam: Bernd Albers, Heike Hanada. An extensive catalogue is published in an English and a German edition by Park Books, Zurich. A diverse event programme during the course of the exhibition continues the debates it activates. At the symposium, marking the opening on 11 and 12 March, talks will be given by Andrew Keen, Blanca Zúñiga, Wermke/Leinkauf, Seán Harrington, Peter Carroll, representatives of 100% Tempelhofer Feld, et al. Every Tuesday the “Urban Parliament” opens a forum for debates, in which, among other aims, activists from city initiatives and visitors will prepare the “Berlin Urban Rights Charta”. Academy fellows present their projects for the exhibition in a programme night of events. “Decentralized Music” introduces musical models of communitarisation through concerts and actions. During the 36-hour conference “Public Space: Fights and Fictions”, a cooperation with the Goethe-Institut, participants from around the world will discuss the developments and threats to public space. Führungen und Werkstätten für Kinder und Jugendliche vermitteln die Inhalte der Ausstellung.The exhibition is curated by Wilfried Wang, Berlin, member of the Akademie der Künste and O’Neil Ford Professor, University of Texas at Austin; Barbara Hoidn, Berlin, is the editor of the catalogue. An exhibition by the Akademie der Künste. With kind support of the University of Texas at Austin, School of Architecture, as well as the Society of Friends of the Akademie der Künste.