The title says it: Space is not a given that exists on its own, but instead something that must be continually renegotiated in the wake of the heterogeneous production of spaces by means of positioning and intervention. This implies the possibility that space figures as something entirely different in each case and, thus, that the historicity of space and possible spatial arrangements will become conceivable and visually accessible. In this context it is one of the great paradoxes that the subversion, which accompanies it, seldom takes effect in obscurity, but is instead usually executed in the form of a public commission.
Post-Soviet countries, in particular, are currently experiencing a phase of transition and redistribution. The climate is marked by revision, on the one hand, and by reorientation, on the other. Due to this exceptional situation, artists now see increasing chances for state and private cultural institutions in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan to employ art in public spaces as an initial spark for the development of civil society and of new artistic approaches. This is the point of departure for the SPACE for SPACE project. The possibilities of disrupting the previously valid divisions within a segmented public – along with the corresponding distribution of the visible and invisible, the feasible and infeasible – through artistic intervention are to be jointly explored in this project.
SPACE for SPACE is a processual multi-phase project currently being initiated and logistically supported by the Goethe-Institut in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. It will be taking place in Almaty, Yerevan, Kaliningrad, Minsk, Novosibirsk, Tashkent, Tiflis and Uljanovsk.
The preliminary phase is based on joint discussions of art in public space, visual-spatial materialisation, and intercultural exchange. It is being conceived for the eight locations largely by the artistic director Petra Reichensperger with positions added by the local project managers Akbar Khakimov, Oleg Bogdanov, Anna Gor, Ludmila Ivashina, Eva Khachatryan, Yulija Sorokina, Olga Tatosyan, Nino Tchogoshvili and Pavel Wojnizkij.
Susanne Altmann, Kamola Akilov, Ruben Arevshatyan, Vardan Azatyan, Friedrich von Borries, Anna Gor, Nazareth Karoya, Khatuna Khabuliani, Akbar Khakimov, Alexander Kotlomanow, Betlemi Mikrorayon, Dirck Möllmann, Alisa Prudnikowa, Petra Reichensperger, Heinz Schütz,Yulija Sorokina, Gio Sumbadze, Vera Tollmann, Olesya Turkina, Nata Vatsadze and Pawel Wojnizkij will present artistic strategies of appropriating space, report on the general paradoxes of art in public space, and thereby reflect specific cultural contexts. Thematic workshops for artists will be offered by Marc Bijl, Tamara Grcic, Daniel Knorr, Ulrike Mohr, Olaf Nicolai, Christoph Schäfer, Suse Weber and Georg Zey for inges idee.
After conducting round table discussions, seminars, and workshops, an open call for art in public space is planned for local artists in some of the locations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia next year. The project proposals that are submitted will be subsequently presented to the public and awarded prizes by an international jury. The award recipients from the open competition will be given the opportunity to enter into an exchange with other artists and initiators of art in public space during a tour through Germany.
In addition to initiating spaces for possibilities, an important goal is to transform many of the nominated project proposals into spaces of sensory experience in conjunction with local decision makers. Which artistic projects can be successfully realised will not least of all depend upon the local approval process. Thus, we come full circle back to the tense, exciting and – according to the diagnosis made at the outset – paradoxical field in which public art and art in public space operates.