Active Public Space
CCEA MOBA, Michal Kindernay
8/31/2017 – 9/22/2017
Curator: Jan Dotřel
Link for Active Public Space catalog: http://activepublicspace.org/
„Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.“
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Each epoch in architecture and urbanism leaves behind signifiers characteristic of both positive technological and conceptual innovations and by equal measure negative remnants. Exponential growth of Earth’s inhabitants’ nubers, the majority of whitch lives within confined cityscapes, marks a prevalent tendency in the past several decades. This has resulted in major cities (over 4000 around the globe) having to endure many ecological and urbanist issues. Mankind struggles to surpass current time in its collective evolution where it still predominantly uses nonrenewable sources of energy while contemporary global politics prefer economy-centric solutions to ecological ones. It gradually transpires, however, that urbanist theories accompanied by a rapid expansion of new technology horizons chiefly will be able to mount a search for potential responses to said problems.
The exhibition Active Public Space presents architectural projects demonstrative of the visions how near future cities could eventually function. The cornerstone of this shift should primarily involve smart technologies coupled with straightforward approval processes leading to their swift implementation. For long, this theme has permeated the work of Centre for Central European Architecture, which among other things supports the effort for a transformation of the Prague Magistrála into a quality urban boulevard. Air-movement- sound is an exemplary project, initiated by CCEA MOBA in collaboration with new media artist Michal Kindernay. In his installation, Kindernay reflects on the changing degree of air pollution and noise smog at the I. P. Pavlova overloaded crossing through which over 50000 commuters pass daily. In pursuit of better understanding the city’s structure as an organized whole, he generates maps of sound patterns of select urban environments. In another series, Kindernay creates 24-hour videos, capturing individual streets plagued by concentrated motorized traffic. Comparatively, the instance when there aren’t any moving vehicles in the frame is to the 24-hour footage but a couple thousandth.
One of the utmost functions of art is to provide a service of reflecion and critique of contemporary issues to the society. It appears that precisely through a connection with urbanism and architecture art can engage many authorities with power executive while also finding the means of implementation of artistic realizations into public space. The Venice architecture biennale of 2010 was a successful example of a large scale project centred on ecology and urbanism. Olafur Eliasson, an interdisciplinary artist with Danish-Islandish roots, exhibited there the work of his studio, previously responsible for the well known intervention The Green River, pouring of green colouring into four rivers of four major cities, Ice Watch, a transfer of a part of a Greenland glacier to the squares in Copenhagen and Paris, or Little Sun, a mass-produceable solar powered lamp. In the present exhibition Kvalitář installed Eliasson’s Viennese 2008 project Yellow Fog, conveying fog as a medium visualizing water presence in the air.
So called hubs, interactive units within cities are great examples of smart technologies that can react to the state of the environment by changing it in real time. In case a city center, say, overheats in summer, such a a unit is able to compensate for it by by lowering the surrounding temperature down for over 10℃. Studio Ecosistema Urbano realized the concept in 2007 in Madrid in their structure Eco Boulevard. These kinds of structures can be put up very economically, either as mere constructions covered in organic matter, or a more sophisticated version with an additional cooling apparatus fueled by solar cells. Yet another method of interactive transformation of our immediate environment is to strive for the change of the polluted air, surely enough the most urgent of problems. a true revolution in that respect has been carried ot by the studio Breinoo, which has built cascading gardens out of photocatalytic paving stones, capable of natural filtration of the harmful nitrous monoxide in Barcelona. The air may also be cleaned via raising its huminity level. Multiple projects effectively employ the production of steam, creating specialized structures or surfaces. E.g., Philippe Rahm Architects have worked the principle in a curious way into their design for a taiwanese park. From the 1980s on, the attention of the “smart tech” developers has pointed toward those innovations related directly to the active components – PCs, telephones, cars etc. Dramatically fewer of them, though, have touched upon the outer environment. The Smart Highway, a project of a Rotterdam based Studio Roosegaarde precisely targets the described niche. It functions on the basis of photovoltaic energy converted on the road’s surface into light signalisation of a higher speed occurence, information on the state of the road, traffic and other factors with an impact on motorists’ behaviour.
The above mentioned projects are but a thin veneer in a wide range of creative visions for the opreative efficiency of future urban complexes. Regardless, it is crucial to understand, that it is through the general principles rather than the multiplication of existing technologies architects, designers and artists can share freely and build upon the thoughts of others. Creation is not founded on methodological reciprocity, recipies given to repetition. Instead, it is the grasp of essencial principles which valorizes their application in new contexts.