John Newling is a British artist with an international reputation, who has installed works across Europe and the USA. Over the decades he has produced large scale works within the public domain, such as major commissions for The Post Office and The Inland Revenue, and his many exhibitions include a retrospective at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. As part of the Talks and Debates series, John presented some of his past projects and discussed the concept of liminality in relation to cities.
Andreas Lang was born in Oberhausen, Germany in 1968 and graduated from the Architectural Association London in 1999. He currently teaches at the Architectural Association, London and is a founding member of Public Works.
Public Works is an art/architecture collective consisting of Architects Sandra Denicke-Polcher, Torange Khonsari, Andreas Lang and Artists Kathrin Böhm and Stefan Saffer. The team has been collaborating since 1998 and specialise in consultation and design projects for public spaces and institutions. Their interest lies in the relationship between institutions that offer and govern public space, and the users of those spaces. Public Works create designs which address and articulate the dynamics and agendas of both groups; to find architectural solutions that bridge the contradicting interests. The group use on-site interventions in order to continuously feed the brief making and design process in both master planning and building projects. Their contribution as artists/architects is to propose and implement communication and physical structures that support and make use of the existing local networks and resources and at the same time offer, propose and stimulate new activities and ways of exchange.
The legacy of conceptual art has enabled artists to refine modes of practice that can, at the same time be speculative critical investigations and creative interventions. Within the process of urban regeneration, the artist is therefore able to map the existing territory and to exhume the hidden or potential values a community may bring to the identity of new places or revision of old ones.
The talk presents three art projects that are both strategic investigations and proposals for change. In each project the analysis of the existing social conditions are in themselves creative acts that seek to momentarily transform a situation in order to make space for mutual speculation.
muf is a collaborative practice of art and architecture committed to public realm projects.
Melissa Mean, head of the Cities Programme at Demos, spoke about ‘People Make Places’, an in-depth study of three British towns and cities: Cardiff, Preston and Swindon. People Make Places explores how the best public spaces are created by people and communities themselves and sets out the forms of governance, design principles and everyday uses that can help boost people’s participation in public space and the wider public life of their town or city.
Barcelona is famously claimed to be at the forefront of urban design after having radically transformed its urban landscape in the 1990s. As cities around the globe are re-designed and re-generated, new public spaces are emerging which foster a distinct urban aesthetic. By focusing on the transformation of el Raval in Barcelona from red light district into a cultural quarter, Monica Degen discusses an important yet neglected aspect in the analysis of urban change in the late 20th century, namely the significance of the senses in the constitution of urban life. She argues that urban regeneration is ‘made effective’ through the organisation of the senses, both in terms of the definitions of the problems in specific places and in terms of the proposed, and actual solutions to these problems. Examining regeneration as a lived and embodied experience helps to answer questions such as: what happens to public life when public spaces are restructured? How do people, whether it is residents, visitors or workers experience regeneration in their daily lives? What are the tensions between official views of the regeneration and lived reality?
In Certain Places
VB005A, Victoria Building
University of Central Lancashire