thématique de travail
— ETH, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule — Zürich, Schweiz
Find out the book here
Responsables de projet: Huber Klumpner et Bojana Papic
SITTING MATTERS / Imagining social relations by designing public space
Disentangling histories of colonialism and colonisation reveals various forms of interchange, transfer and imagination. Conflicting ideas about culture, technologies, language and cultural practices are subject to modifications and exchanges across a gradient of complexity. Shifting through conditions of colonialism, post-colonialism, and de-colonialism, and based on our research in the post-conflict Balkans, post-Apartheid South Africa, and peace process-era Colombia, we ask: how to regard everyday cultural practices in contested cultural and political environments?
Using public space as a field of enquiry, this exhibition focuses on the necessity and ubiquitousness of seating areas as cultural and political forms. Occurring both consciously and unconsciously, the accompanying act of sitting also points to a wide array of cultural and political assumptions. The physical seat may reveal our position in society, as well as the social standing of an individual or group. The ecology of our sitting thus functions as a performance of our cultural and political existence.
In large urban settlements, however, it is often the case that sitting has lost form and function. In the semi-privatised public sphere, the frequent impossibility of sitting points to its commodification, while the sitting has become conditioned to be accompanied by commercial consumption. To sit and look, contemplate, provide an opportunity to engage with a by-passer known or unknown, invite for the company, is no longer in the repertoire of public space.
Our prototypical pilot-project is a physical, full-scale object inviting visitors of the exhibition to re-learn sitting, repairing, and producing, while reflecting on the dimensions of the ‘colonisation’, ‘de-colonisation’ and ‘re-colonisation’ inherent in the act of sitting. The public - regardless of age, race, gender and income level - are invited to share a seat with a renewed understanding of everyday spatial practices, in the pursuit of new and emerging qualities in open and shared public space.