Radical Hospitality – Can Altay
For the first of its long-term residencies, Lungomare invited Turkish artist Can Altay to confront the socio-cultural complexities of Bolzano and South Tyrol. The inaugural residency is organised in collaboration with ar/ge kunst Bolzano.
The collaboration with Altay involved the artist making repeated visits to Bolzano over a period of roughly eighteen months. During his first visit to Bolzano in 2014 Altay gained an overall impression of the place, he defined the trajectory of his work and introduced himself to the local public. Since then, the artist has been researching Bolzano, in particular the Virgolo, a mountain in the immediate vicinity of the city. Altay has been stimulating public discussion through exhibitions, a panel discussion and other artistic interventions.
Altay refers to the individual stages of this artistic process as ‘fragments’ – impressions, interpretations or comments on the present situation. These have been collated in the form of a publication, and have been shown in Bolzano at ar/ge kunst in early 2016.
Lungomare and ar/ge kunst
3/10/2014, Lungomare, Bolzano
The artist’s talk on 3 October 2014 was the beginning of a long-term project in which Can Altay engaged with the region of South Tyrol.
The theme of the residency was ‘Radical Hospitality’ and the guest has been invited to scrutinise, interrogate and engage with issues surrounding hospitality. In this context, hospitality denotes the temporary condition of relational and social space, while also implying the negotiation of power relations.
Generally speaking, the theme can be thought as:
– Hospitality as welcoming others and ‘foreigners’
– Hospitality as embracing differences
– Hospitality as tourism
– Hospitality as the relationship between the urban and the rural
– Hospitability as shared property
– Domestic hospitality
Such Claims on Territory, (Studio Virgolo First Fragments)
Exhibition: 30/01/2015 – 15/02/2015, Lungomare
In early 2015 Altay organised a two-week exhibition at the Lungomare project space. He took on the Virgolo, a mountain in the immediate proximity of Bolzano which, though central to the city, was neglected and eventually deserted in the ‘eighties. More recently, real-estate speculation on the part of the municipal administration and a number of private owners has again turned it into an area of public interest.
With an incomplete statement for a title, the exhibition ‘Such claims on territory’ consisted of a disparate collection of finds, some taken from the Virgolo itself. For visitors to the exhibition these finds laid down a cornerstone for the line adopted in Altay’s ‘Studio Virgolo’ project. The show presented the artist’s first impressions of the Virgolo, gathering clues rather than evidence.
Such Claims on Territory Transform Spatial Imagination into (Studio Virgolo Second Fragments)
26/5/2015 – 14/6/2015, Bolzano
The continuation of Altay’s investigation into ‘territorial claims’ took the form of a poster campaign for the centre of Bolzano. During the intervention some three-hundred and thirty posters were emblazoned on public advertising hoardings for three weeks, confronting passersby with abstract graphic signs, unfinished statements and open questions. This intervention into public space is described by the artist as an abstract touristic campaign that proliferated across Bolzano, a visual way of talking about unfulfilled promises relating to the mountain and its immediate surroundings.
The motifs on the posters, which were designed in collaboration with Asli Altay / Future Anecdotes Istanbul, are translations of the artist’s investigation of the Virgolo. Altay used his collection of narratives as a source of inspiration for questions regarding the inhabitation of infrastructural space, conflicts over spatial imagination, neoliberal urban politics and their counter-hegemonies as well as times past, present and future, indivisible from each other and from space.
The moments and stories on the posters are specific to the city of Bolzano, but they remain relevant elsewhere because they make common claims and pose common questions: ‘who is allowed to claim public space, who is forced to inhabit infrastructure space?’
CLAIM #1 TUNNEL DWELLERS OF THE 1940S
CLAIM #2 FUNICULAR STOPS RUNNING
CLAIM #3 PARTIES AT THE FORMER SOCIAL CLUB
CLAIM #4 SHOPPING MALLS AND THEME PARKS
CLAIM #5 ESCAPE ROUTES AND REFUGE SITES
Once again, Altay underlined the fragmentary nature of his overall project as a series that would allow unpredictable occurrences to develop. For the poster campaign he extended the title of the February exhibition to ‘Such claims on territory transform spatial imagination into (Studio Virgolo Second Fragments)’, a sentence that remains open to virtually any ending.
Conflict over Spatial Imagination?
Stefano Novello (president of Italia Nostra; Bolzano)
Michael Obrist (architect Feld 72, Wien)
Huib Haye van der Werf (head of artistic programmes at the Van Eyck, Maastricht)
This panel discussion at Lungomare sought to address the spatial imagination of the Virgolo by scrutinising currently existing models in urban policy (both neoliberal development policies and a more conservation-oriented counter-hegemony) and by making these discourses accessible to residents of the city.
While choosing to avoid these two conflicting positions, the panel of three invited speakers and Altay himself looked for ways in which the city of Bolzano could facilitate the inhabitation of the Virgolo. Special attention was paid to its peculiarities, its relationship to infrastructural developments and the range of spaces and activities that characterise it. In the face of current speculation over the future of the city, a lively discussion developed with vocal contributions from the public, who expressed the desire for an approach to city planning that satisfies the needs and wishes of its inhabitants, taking the present development of the Virgolo as an example.
14/11/2015, fence of the ex-Tennis club, Virgolo
In 2008 the property, that hosted the former Virgolo Tennis Club, was bought by a network of entrepreneurs (BBG Srl) interested in future real estate investments. Since that moment a fence impedes the access to what has been one of the recreational areas of the city of Bolzano. With “Limited Experience” Can Altay invites twelve people to move along the boundary between private property and public space, to share and challenge the experience of limitation.
This exercise tests the limits of a boundary imposed by the current town planning regulations.
Dec. 2015 – May 2016, Bolzano
“Split Horizon (Virgolo Edition)” consists of a situated object along a trajectory and through a duration. Every place selected for the positioning has a stringent significance for the narration conducted by Altay, therefore the trajectories that are generated between the single spots are real but can be regarded also as purely mental.
With this project the artist focuses his attention again onto the Virgolo. Similarly to what he had done by spreading suggestive contents through his claims all over Bolzano by means of the poster campaign “Such Territorial Claims Transform Spatial Imagination into (Studio Virgolo Second Fragments)” he invites the public to follow this view.
“Split Horizon (Virgolo Edition)” happens in the time of space. It is a device for observation, subsequently positioned in fifteen places in Bolzano, which have a certain (not only visual) connection with the Virgolo. All spots have a significant meaning in terms of relationship to spatial dynamics and urban politics within Bolzano and its history.
After transcurring its forseen path, the device will remain at disposition for the public which is invited to take it to new locations.
VFI – Virgolo Future Institute
(Such Claims on Territory Transform Spatial Imagination Into Obscure Anticipations of Repartition)
14/05 – 30/07/2016, ar/ge kunst
VFI – Virgolo Future Institute (Such Territorial Claims Transform Spatial Imagination Into Obscure Anticipations of Repartition) was the latest and final iteration of Can Altay’s one-and-half year residency in Bolzano, a collaborative project by ar/ge kunst and Lungomare (October 2014 – July 2016).
For the duration of the project Altay has been conducting a study focussed on Bolzano’s complex relationship with the Virgolo, a nearby mountain that overlooks the city and has recently been the subject of a vigorous debate concerning its potential uses and developments.
Altay is now using the premises of ar/ge kunst for a three-month exhibition that continues the development of a prior series of public interventions that have employed different temporalities, acting as both observations on and contributions to the current debate. The works so far have included a two-week exhibition and a public debate at Lungomare (Such Territorial Claims), a four-week poster campaign in the city (Transform Spatial Imagination into), a two-hour performative gathering on the Virgolo and an itinerant, ongoing eight-month intervention in public space (Obscure), with the titles and contents of these works all leading up to the current exhibition. These public moments have posed a set of questions about territorial claims, the urban imagination and the experience of boundaries, notions that re-surface in Bolzano and many places today.
The exhibition takes ‘inhabiting infrastructures’ as a central narrative and uses ‘Ahali: a journal for setting a setting’, published since 2007 by Altay, to place the Virgolo within overarching themes and contexts.
27/4/2015, 6 p.m., Capuchin garden, Bolzano
Starting from some reflections we made together with Can Altay, we organized a series of public readings and discussions that happened in different places in the city, on topics like: “territorial claims”, “spatial imagination”, and “neoliberal urban politics”.
At the first meeting we read “The Rhizome” by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, available here.
It is a challenging text: the aim is not so much to analyse its meaning but rather to use it as a tool to read the urban context.
With this scope, we invited the participants to bring to the meeting one or more objects that you can use to share something that you feel like an urgency regarding the life in the city of Bolzano.
The text is dense and long, we recommend you to read especially pages 12 to 14. This section is useful for us to re-read the city, and especially the areas around the train station, making use of the objects gathered and through possible drifts.
9/6/2015, park in front of the train station, Bolzano
In the third chapter of Rebel Cities the Marxist geographer David Harvey reads the urban commons as the product of social relations: people living in the city produce urban commons all the time. Gentrification is the process which capitalizes this vitality continuously produced by the city, a process that often is named with the euphemism of “regeneration”. Harvey reads gentrification as a privatization – for the profit of a few – of the vitality produced by a city and its inhabitants, a privatization often instigated by public institutions.
This text can help us exiting the rhetoric of the opposition between “regeneration” and “degradation”: the so-called social disadvantage (disagio sociale) is in fact provoked by the very process of regeneration. The reading of this text will allow us to read the current selling off of public goods and land in Bolzano not as a specifically local but as a global monstrosity.
How to describe the complexity of top-down urban transformations in Bolzano and what are the possibilities of reclaiming as commons those forms of life that as inhabitants of the city we continuously produce?
22/6/2015, Talferpark in front of Museion, Bolzano
The coming together of the different ethnic groups in South Tyrol, the development of a social solidarity from below, the emancipation from the control of public and private institutions of the cultural production and, more broadly, of the life of the citizens, are some of the issues the social center of the ex Monopolio of Bolzano faced through the practice of its organization. Many years have passed since that 1979 but those questions seem today more urgent than even in this city. After the eviction and the demolition of the social centre part of that experience has been documented in a publication which today is difficult to find.
This is an invitation to participate to a meeting in which parts of this publication will be read and discussed together with people who organized the social centre. The aim is not to celebrate nostalgically the times in which an experiment like that was possible in Bolzano, but to understand what can we learn today from that experience and how could it communicate with the present, in a context which is surely mutated but where some of those dynamics, blocks, desires and maybe also possibilities are still open.
Salto: Frammenti e orizzonti divisi, 11.1.2016
Franzmagazin: La Banda dei Bandi: Limited Experience, 11.11.2015
Salto: Mit Lungomare auf den Virgl, 11.6.2015
Tageszeitung: Virglmenschen, 17.2.2015
Art Texts Pics: Can Altay e l’ospitalità radicale, 5.2.2015
Domus: Such Claims on Territory, 5.2.2015
Alto Adige: L’arte die Can Altay al Lungomare, 1.2.2015
Salto: Such Claims on Territory, 30.1.2015
Salto: Uomini come le talpe, 16.6.2016
Franzmagazine: Il Virgolo come architettura del desiderio, 6.6.2016
Provincia Autonoma di Bolzano-Alto Adige
Comune di Bolzano
Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio
IFI Spa AG
What´s onEXHIBITION :: Binta Diaw :: Collective Practices – A Living Experience of Feeling Listened
Lungomare, a cultural association founded in Bolzano in 2003, was created from the desire and necessity to open a space in which to share differences, experiences, opinions and desires, a space in which to make the link between cultural production and the political and social dimension. Lungomare undertakes projects that investigate and test possible relationships between design, architecture, urban planning, art and theory, the results of which are presented in different formats: public discussions, conferences, publications, exhibitions and interventions in public spaces. All these formats are characterised by the intention to interact with cultural and socio-political processes relating to the region in which Lungomare is located.
Currently Lungomare’s activities focus on long-term residency projects, a format whereby Lungomare invites guests to engage and interact within the context of South Tyrol. Lungomare’s activities are based on three principles: specific attention to the context in which the association’s projects are undertaken, the transdisciplinary approach that distinguishes these projects, and reflection on the role of Lungomare as a cultural institution in connection with the region in which it operates.
Lungomare is located at the edge of Bolzano, the capital of South Tyrol, and relates to the context in which it operates, attempting to highlight the dynamics of change. Large urbanized areas alternate with broad areas of intensive cultivation and yet others of picturesque landscape, all of which penetrate the centre of the city. The city is surrounded by mountains and this is one of the reasons why the tourism industry has become a driving force in this locality. The demographic structure of the city has been characterized for a long time by the coexistence of two populations, those speaking German and those speaking Italian. However, the social and demographic composition of Alto Adige Südtirol is changing. Migrants, including those from non-European countries are making their way to the area to settle, whilst others, including political refugees, are flowing through the region.