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Urban Interventions Manifesto

Johannes M. Hedinger, Torsten Meyer / 2014

Urban Interventions is a collective term for artistic -interventions in urban public spaces with roots that reach from graffiti art and Situationism to Fluxus and Dadaism. The following assignment uses city and urban space not only as a medium and as material, but also as a production and presentation venue for contemporary art.
The project Urban Interventions takes place outside of the classroom in public urban spaces and can be implemented almost without any additional material/equipment and expenses. Depending on the individual objectives, the duration of the module can vary from lasting only a few hours to over a week, with the resulting Urban Interventions being either roughly sketched or more detailed.

Materials, Equipment, and Spaces
– The city, public space including public buildings, -fixtures
– Digital camera or cell phone with camera
– Weather-appropriate clothing (a large part of the -seminar takes place outside)
– Computer access / Internet access

Part 1 (Pre-Production)
1. Read the Urban Interventions Manifesto and discuss its content with your fellow students and lecturers.
2. Go into the city and find an example for all seven groups (point 5 of the Urban Interventions Manifesto). Take pictures of each example with your camera or cell phone and bring these back to the seminar room.
3. Share and comment on your photos.

Part 2 (Production)
Go alone or with a small group into the city and create your own Urban Intervention.
The theme and message, location, medium and technique are open to you or your group. Your work can be guided by a specific location, theme or technique.
Explore public spaces and actively re-shape them. Interact with the city, the public and your audience. Let others take part in your Urban Intervention and observe their reaction.

Part 3 (Post-Production)
1. Try to place your Urban Intervention into one of the seven Urban Interventions categories (see Manifesto point 5) and ask yourself the following questions: What is the theme of my Urban Intervention? What is its statement and message? What goal/purpose does it have? Who is my target audience?
2. Document your Urban Intervention via photo, video and text.
Show your Urban Intervention to your fellow students, either live in the city or as a documentary and discuss its effects together.

Urban Interventions Manifesto
1. Today, everything can be art and art can occur everywhere – even in increasingly urbanized public space.
2. You no longer need a studio to produce art; the city is your lab and the streets your canvas, gallery, stage and club.  Here you will discover your audience, your partner and accomplices.
3. Today, art can be made out of any materials, media or situations; the city provides you with what you need for free. Play with it, transform it and create your own Urban Intervention. At the same time, be aware of the law and respect the environment. Strive for the synergetic and sustainable co-existence of your interaction/creation with the city and its inhabitants.
4. Urban Interventions is a collective term for creative interventions within a city. It is the interaction of art, performance, installation, architecture and activism. The frequently anonymous works challenge the viewer and passers-by to explore their environment, to experience it in a new way and to interact with their surroundings. Urban Interventions are usually temporary, can change or disappear. Urban Interventions are often not recognized as what they actually are. Urban Interventions partially refer to the planning, use and commercialization of public space and partially make what is public to a very private experience.
5. Urban Interventions can be divided into seven groups:
URBAN CANVAS (graffiti, signs, markings, buildings, lights, etc.)
ATTACHMENTS (creative additions, parasitic take-overs)
PUBLIC PRIVACY (mixture of interior and exterior)
PUBLIC STAGE (performances in public spaces, flash mobs, etc.)
LOCALIZED (design of specific locations, site and context bonus)
ADVERTIZED (ad-busting, brand-hacking, etc.)
NATURALIZED (guerrilla gardening, snow, sand, etc.)

In a playful and experimental manner, the praxis module Urban Interventions brings students closer to transformed presentation and communication formats, an expanded definition of art, new exhibition venues, and the changed reception of contemporary art.

Find examples of Urban Interventions:

[Dieser Text findet sich im Reader Nr. 2 auf S. 119.]


Johannes M. Hedinger

(*1971), Künstler und Kunstwissenschaftler (Zürich, New York), Studium der Kunst, Kunstgeschichte, Filmwissenschaft, Cultural Studies und Strategisches Marketing an Universität Zürich, HU Berlin, UCLA Los Angeles, ZHdK Zürich und UdK Berlin. Dozent an der Zürcher Hochschule der Künste und der Universität zu Köln. Co-Gründer von Com&Com: http://www.com-com.ch


Torsten Meyer

*1965, Prof. Dr. phil., Studium der Erziehungswissenschaft, Soziologie, Philosophie und Kunst an der Universität Hamburg, Universität Lüneburg und Hochschule für Bildende Künste Hamburg; Professor für Kunst und Ihre Didaktik, Schwerpunkt aktuelle Medienkultur, an der Universität zu Köln. Arbeitsschwerpunkte: Pädagogische Medientheorie, Globalisierung & Digitalisation, Mediologie der Bildung, Next Art Education. www.medialogy.de.


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Hedinger, Johannes M  ·  Meyer, Torsten  ·  Situationistische Internationale