March has been a busy month for the Future DiverCities network. Our partners have so much going on in their respective fields. So we thought we might take you in closer, show you what the 10 partners of Future DiverCities all do with our new series, #FDC Focus. This month, we focusing on Public Art Lab in Berlin.
• Future DiverCities: What is Public Art Lab?
Public Art Lab: Public Art Lab, also known as PAL, is an urban media art platform, a network of experts in urban planning, new media art and IT development. #FDCFocus
• FDC: What do you mean by an urban media art platform? What is this?
PAL: An urban media art platform can be many thing, it varies a lot. For PAL, it is a structure, a method which catalyses artistic processes and public awareness in temporarily occupied urban settings. We use festivals and workshops to encourage audiences to participate in the creative process and experience all the city can offer from different perspectives.
Our projects aim to foster community development and build identity and better communication among the city inhabitants.
• FDC: What skills do Public Art Lab bring to the Future DiverCities Project?
PAL: Public Art Lab brings expertise and a strong network of artists and contacts in the Urban Media Art field. We also have experience working on big European cultural projects and know what is expected and also what works. We bring a tried and tested #labs methodology as way to evaluate and improve the public events and this can be applied to the Future DiverCities framework.
•FDC: There is so much going on in Berlin. What are PAL’s Must See events?
PAL: Oh absolutely, there’re always cultural events taking place in the city, but we certainly have our favourites where you can see urban media art in Berlin.
► Spektrum is a space for creation, events & futuristic utopias with a ‘do-it-together’ philosophy.
► Retune Festival is an experimental #laboratory at the intersection of Art, Design & Technology.
•FDC: You’ve said that PAL has experience in big European projects. Can you tell us more about a project you’ve worked on?
PAL: PAL was, and still is, a central partner to the Connecting Cities Network (CCN), a project that set out to create a worldwide network of Urban Media Art Environments, linking together, and literally connecting key locations across Europe that are ideal for urban media art.
CCN started in 2012 and was funded and supported by the European Union Culture Programme 2007-13. It is a network which connects a global infrastructure of locations and public spaces. These can vary from media facades on large buildings to smaller screens in and around a city, such as on an underground network, and blank walls as projection sites. All these place can be used to share artistic and social content. The project was Initiated by Public Art Lab together with 9 European partners and Connecting Cities is still expanding. At the last count, there are 40 partners worldwide.
The project is organised into three curatorial topics: networked city, participatory city and invisible city. There has also been key discussion and research into methodologies into the urban space. CCN has looked at ‘Citizens Science’, taking a closer look at sustainable urban nature eco systems. This included research in art and climate change, mapping the city, crowdsourcing, sense ecology, urban nature. Looking at people and citizens on one side, CCN took a closer look how to make a creative city. This included co-designing neighbourhoods, participatory urban planning and community place marking. It was about bring the two sides together to see where creative cities might take us and the urban landscape in the future. As you can see, the research was a key part of Connecting Cities. The project produced a book “What Urban Media Art Can Do – Why When Where and How?”.
• You mentioned media facades before. Can you tell us more about this?
This was a phrase originating from the Media Facades Festival. The festival was held in 2008 and 2010 in Berlin, Helsinki and Budapest and the goal was to explore the possibilities of a network of urban screens, using over-dimensional display and animated design and use the internet and new technologies to share this across Europe.
“The festival transformed into local stages and open a global window for cultural and societal processes to create a dialogue and connect the local public virtually with the other places throughout Europe.” – Extract from Media Facades website.
• FDC: This is all so fascinating to hear about work you’ve done. How about now? What is the PAL team working on at the moment?
PAL: Right now, we’ve a few projects and events in the pipeline. We’re continuing to build on the work we’ve done with Future DiverCities and explore the potential to develop Digital Calligraffiti abroad.
We are working on the project Public Face II created by the artists Julius Von Bismarck, Benjamin Maus & Richard Wilhelmer. This installation enables the visualization of data related to the energy consumption and production of renewable energy sources for the city and its inhabitants of the region of Anhalt-Bitterfeld by changing its ‘mood’ based on measurements and algorithms developed with the datas provided by energy and meteo GmbH. Public Face II is exposed in Dessau (DE) until 25.06.2017 for the Energieavantgarde Anhalt, an annual convention of experts of the climate change.
Finally, we are prototyping the Licht AG, a light workshop for teenagers (12-16 years old). It is for them to learn about light technologies and cultures, by building several illuminated objects and interactive scenarios. Their work would be presented in the light festival celebrated on the 150th anniversary of Käthe Kollwitz.
• FDC: That all sounds amazing. The PAL team are certainly busy! What do you do to relax as a team?
PAL: We love to cook! It’s not just about inspiring media art projects but also delicious meals during our lunch break. We all work together, definitely with a hands-on attitude, to make everyone tasty salads and pasta. We are so lucky to have a wonderful combination of European and international cultures in the office. PAL is an all-female team with ladies from Germany, France, Greece, Serbia and India. We hope to publish a toolkit for international cuisine in the urban landscape!
— Future DiverCities (@FutureDCities) March 14, 2017
• FDC: Oh wow, in that case the FDC team is definitely coming to yours for lunch! Do you have any last advice or wisdom you’d like to share with us and FDC Network?
— Future DiverCities (@FutureDCities) March 15, 2017