NORMAL x 4
Direct Urbanism in Graz
The Cultural Year Graz 2020 is an exceptional opportunity to address relevant issues of urban development at the periphery, in "peri-urban" spaces, which - although the majority of the population lives in such spaces - are hardly in the interest of planning. For many years, these areas have been transformed by unrestrained building activity, without being based on urban development concepts. As a result, there is a lack of identifiable identities - apart from the notion of the unspectacular, if not of "boredom". These peri-urban areas in Graz have been developing an image similar to many other cities in Europe.
Prism Object #1, photos mounted on cardboard, 30 x 70 cm
NORMAL is based on an ongoing exchange between the periphery (urban interventions) and the centre (exhibtions at HDA and Forum Stadtpark). As final event the 4 districts will be connected by 4 hikes along the periphery, thus creating a new hike trail.
What is "normal"?
Normality from the perspective of artists and urban practitioners can mean something quite different from what it means for
those parts of the population marked by increasing fear of career disadvantages due to deviant behaviour or simply resentment or envy from their neighbors. When these different normalities collide, they can be given space through special artistic settings thus creating a productive force that breaks up the dominant form of normality.
What is normal is particularly defined by the feedback of our fellow human beings. Who do we ask for an assessment? Whose opinion do we find relevant? What is perceived as normal is in motion; it changes over time according to the development of society.
NORMAL addresses the „majority of the unspectacular“
Graz has - also internationally - an outstanding reputation for architecture, while at the same time the city is characterized by a high degree of fragmentation. As the city experiencing the highest percentage of growth in Austria, it is therefore all the more important to deal with these less noticed districts on the outskirts of the city.
How can innovative artistic-urbanistic methods contribute to producing a new "centrality" (Lefebvre) and identity of these peri-urban areas, which inspite of showing similar phenomena are all very different? This is all the more urgent since the established district centres with their social structures are now under threat. These "peri-urban" areas are marked by an enormous consumption of space by supermarkets and shopping centres with their individual parking lots, and by densification. These lack qualities of public space, instead extinguishing still existing social (infra)structures.
Research in 4 peri-urban districts: Andritz, Waltendorf, Liebenau, Wetzelsdorf, 2019
The research provided the basis for developing the projects.
Direct urbanism and related "other urbanisms“
Direct urbanism is a method transparadiso has developed and continuously refined to respond to current social challenges of urban planning. In doing so, artistic-ubanistic strategies for a socially committed urban planning is developed, which is integrated into a longer-term urban planning process. Direct urbanism connects planning and action. Although many urbanisms committed to the common good and social issues (performative urbanism, instant urbanism, etc.) have emerged since the mid/late 1990s, they have hardly found their way into being commissioned by urban planning departments to date.
transparadiso invited three international urban practitioners (architects/ artist teams) to realize a project for NORMAL
together with a project by transparadiso.
Four urban interventions in 4 peri-urban districts:
Andritz (North): public works (London, UK) "PLATZEN - School for Civic Action"
Waltendorf (East): transparadiso (Vienna/ Graz, A) "The Third World Congress of the Missing Things"
Liebenau (South): orizzontale (Rome, I) "FLUSSFLUSS - Castaway on the Mur"
Wetzelsdorf (West): Georg Winter (Stuttgart/ Saarbrücken, D) "DancePlantField"
As a starting point, transparadiso provided research on the history and possible topics for engagement. The projects will be realized in cooperation with local organisations and considered as essential impulses for the longer term development of the districts. By furthering an exchange among the teams and discussing their specific methods throughout the whole process transparadiso aims at creating more visibility for these practices – based on the projects created for the specific sites.
NORMAL takes the topic of the Culture Year Graz 2020 „HOW WE WANT TO LIVE TOGETHER“ and their quest for asking for visions seriously: The process and results of NORMAL will be discussed on an ongoing basis with the districts and the authorities of the City of Graz.
public works held their first public action for PLATZEN - School for Civic Action at Andritz Main Square, Oct.2020
At the main square in Andritz, public works will be holding PLATZEN – School for Civic Action in May 2021. Following on from the School for Civic Action that public works carried out in Roskilde (DK) in 2018-2020, they will ask what role a district’s main square can play in relation to the city's main square. The exhibition presents themes for PLATZEN that public works collected during their first intervention in October 2020.
transparadiso presented the Third World Congress of the Missing Things at the parish St.Paul/ Eisteichsiedlung, Oct.2020
On 3 and 4 July 2021, transparadiso will focus on the Eisteichsiedlung estate in Waltendorf where they will transform the car park of St. Paul’s parish into an informal congress centre for the Third World Congress of the Missing Things (in cooperation with St. Paul’s parish). The website www.missingthings.org collects the contributions to Missing Things for this non-hierarchical congress, which in particular also discusses community values and challenges the individual to take up responsibility for society. Visitors are invited to contribute “missing things” which will be added to the exhibits as postcards.
orizzontale presented FLUSSFLUSS - Castaway on the Mur at the Youth Centre Grünanger, Oct. 2020
On the new beach at Grünanger in Liebenau, orizzontale will realise FLUSSFLUSS - Castaway on the Mur in April / May 2021 (in cooperation with the Grünanger Youth Centre): “Residents are invited to dream together and build a floating system of platforms.” A buoy with the sign FLUSSFLUSS will appear in the water to mark the start of the exhibition, signalling the collective activation of the site. orizzontale will then work on the FLUSSFLUSS manifesto, collecting and documenting the values and wishes of local actors.
Georg Winter / AG AST held their first workshop on the field in Wetzelsdorf for initiating the DancePlantPlan, Aug. 2020
In spring 2020, Georg Winter / AG AST began working on the DancePlantPlan in Wetzelsdorf, installing the DancePlantField (https://tanzpflanzplan.at/, in cooperation with the Grottenhof Agricultural and Forestry School). This is activated with local residents using performative artistic interventions. DancePlantPlan addresses the issue of converting agricultural land on the outskirts of the city into new housing estates, contrasting the recent hype for urban gardening taking place in the city centre.
Video NORMAL: see also Ö1/ Reparatur der Zukunft.
NORMAL is a project of the
Culture Year GRAZ 2020:
Partner of transparadiso:
Michael Petrowitsch (Graz, A)
public works (London, GB)
orizzontale (Rome, I)
Georg Winter (Stuttgart/ Saarbrücken, D)
HdA Graz/ House of Architecture
Media partner: dérive
In collaboration with:
The Graz Districts: Andritz, Waltendorf, Liebenau, Wetzelsdorf
and local organizations in the districts
Introducing the projects on site
with the Indikatormobil:
HdA/ House of Architecture, Graz
Jan.27- Feb.24, 2021
Link to press information.
Realization of the projects in the
April - July 2021
Urban periphery hikes:
connecting the 4 districts at the periphery and conceiving a new hike trail.
Forum Stadtpark, Graz
Barbara Holub/ Paul Rajakovics. Die Normalität des Unspektakulären, in: dérive 79, p.50-52
article for download:
Bettina Landl. Experimentelle Handlungsweisen