2010 II

2010 I




Intentions of the Project „Annenviertel! The Art of Urban Intervention“

Starting out in autumn 2009 and lasting for a period of at least two years, "ANNENVIERTEL! The Art of Urban Intervention" is dedicated to highlighting the present of the Graz Annenviertel and its transformations through artistic and cultural practice. Contemporary forms of action should be applied in public and social space, where participation in urban developments in general and especially in artistic productions is of high priority.

What exactly is the Annenviertel? In fact it is an invention, a fiction! Until not long ago there was no area in Graz carrying this name. Thus the Annenviertel has no defined borders; it is an open field for the negotiation of urban questions and ideas.

At the same time it describes a part of downtown Graz with the Annenstraße in its centre comprising large parts of Lend, the 4th district of Graz, and Gries, the 5th. The “planned” development of this part of the city has been discussed intensively for decades, partly very emotional. There have been several attempts to develop it in this or that direction, but all of them came to nothing. Fortunately, because often these concepts work in opposition to the local inhabitants and businesses. In the light of upcoming measures of reconstruction, especially on the part of the traffic planning department of the city of Graz, gentrification begins to sprout, which has become quite obvious in some streets. Mechanisms of displacement proceed.

Being located there, < rotor > would like to intensify its work in its immediate vicinity.

The area was historically a central zone of living for workers, with some streets of houses of middle-class character. The image of the worker has changed a lot in the meantime; nevertheless the quarter is characterized by a high percentage of socially deprived population. Furthermore, it is the quarter of Graz with the highest proportion of migrants respectively people of different nationalities. And, ultimately, in several corners the trails of the red light district can be perceived, which was formerly concentrated here. What can living together in a multifaceted quarter like this look like in a future without xenophobia and fear?

< rotor > would like to take on the challenges, which emerge from those numerous questions of a possibly typical middle-european urban quarter, and enter into a dialogue with the local players: the residents, the tradespeople, the numerous social and cultural institutions, the policymakers. How can existing qualities, often unseen due to contrary expectations of what the quarter should be, be supported?

The issues that will emerge in the course of the planned transformation are to be explored with means of visual arts, and should primarily create awareness for the processes evolving in front of people's doors. Who makes decisions and who is (intentionally) excluded from decision-making? This is another central question of the project.

In the project area artists are to work on analytical, critical and in many cases participatory projects, with a view to shedding light on the processes and transformations on site and discussing them. The Bulgarian artist Pravdoliub Ivanov, who has contributed in the first phase of the project, has titled his work as follows: "Transformation Always Takes Time and Energy". This is also a good motto for both city (district) development in general and the Annenviertel in particular!

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„Annenviertel!“ is part of the international network project THE ART OF URBAN INTERVENTION. The following organisations are dealing with urban processes of transformation in their specific city:

* University of J. E. Purkyne/ Usti nad Labem
* [BLOK] – Local Base for cultural refreshment/ Zagreb (in collaboration with DeLVe | Institute for Duration, Location and Variables, Zagreb)
* The Blue House Foundation/ Amsterdam
* Institute of Contemporary Art Sofia
* NABA – New Academy of Fine Arts/ Milano.