Art as a Protagonist?
1 day workshop, June 2008, Sparwasser HQ, Berlin

The background for the workshop is that Åse Løvgren and Karolin Tampere are invited as curators and project managers for a temporary art project taking place and investigating the Fjord City in Oslo during 2008-2010. The Fjord City will form a new part of the centre of Oslo amounting to 640.000 m2 of the area of the former industrial harbour.
As a start for this long term project, we wish to arrange a workshop, where we together with a small group of invited artists, arcitects, culture producers and representatives of the Fjord City can discuss and exchange experiences connected to working with art in a process of city development. In what way can art be part of and influence the political and economic processes that is forming a city or a society? Can art be the protagonist in this kind of development, a constructive agent which works beyond commenting or intervening in already existing structures?

The area around Bjørvika will during the next years be transformed into what is called «The Fjord City», which today is more of a virtual place considering that the identity of this place is situated in visions and interests among polititians, commercial developers, architects and the rest of the population. Probably will we see tensions between the interests of this diverse gruoup throughout the course of building, when decisions are being made. Thus the definition and formation of the Fjord City is just as well developed at architect offices, in public debates, in political decisions as in seminars and workshops that doesn't necessarily have to take place in the physical site that is Bjørvika. The project will have a dynamic form, responding to processes and development as they happen. It sets forth to discuss and investigate those structures that are already on the site, visions for the future and who has power and ownership to these processes and the area.
Besides commissioned art projects, the temporary project will consist of a series of seminars and workshops into related subjects.

The project will continually redefine itself by responding to
1. the discourse developed through seminars and workshops
2. the development of the art projects involved
3. the progress of the Fjord city, both as on site and as idea
Thus forming a collaboratively defined platform.

The project sets fourth to investigate some of the processes taking place in the postindustrial cities, where a redefinition of the waterfront is taking place. From being the major transport channel around which cities were founded, the meeting between land and sea is in many cities today viewed upon as a source of recreation and a place for culture. What visions are there for functions of this new city and how is this manifested in the plans, architecture and power relations of the site?
The first workshop takes place at the artist run space Sparwasser HQ in Berlin. Gathering a panel of artists, and other practitioners in the field, together with the two curators they will start to formulate some of the issues to be investigated during the project. These issues will be under constant negotiation during the course of the entire project which sees its ending point 12th March 2010.