“The theme ‘Iconic City’ provokes us to link the theoretical argument to everyday urban experience in a debate on the shifted meaning, as well as the changing role that this concept plays in urban development. …”
In the field: Perception & Contact: A Site-Specific-Workshop at Karl-Marx-Hof.
Since the 1920s the Gemeindebau has become an essential element of Viennese cityscape, architecture and culture. Between 1919 and 1934 more than 60.000 flats were built to house about 220.000 people and to provide improved living conditions for workers and their families (source: Wiener Gemeindebau; http://www.wien.gv.at). It was a reaction to the overcrowded and unacceptable housing situation of the less affluent that had tightened after the population increase of the former decades. Green and bright, the large living estates were planned according to modern and healthy living standards with infrastructure such as shops, laundries, libraries and playgrounds for children. Generous yards with trees, cloth-lines and benches should favor encounters and create an environment that encouraged dialog and a sense of community and equality.
In the meantime a gap between generations and cultures formed complicating the situation and creating a sense of suspicion and anxiety among the residents. Spaces originally intended for social activities and exchange have turned into empty squares marked by prohibition signs preventing noise pollution and social contact. What are the reasons for this development? What changed? How can we counteract these tendencies and revive social interaction?
With a special focus on the issue of Gemeindebau this workshop investigates methods of reviving space through cultural and artistic intervention in the modes of film and sound art. Relating to memory and imagination, sound and images have the power to alter and reevaluate locations on the level of perception. Moreover we will look at existing artistic and cultural projects aimed at activating public realm in living areas and their effective impact.