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Imagining Space: notes from the underground, from above, from behind and within


link to Flickr Pool

link to project blog

Developed for the Bergen National Academy of the Arts (KHIB), Bergen.

Led by Canadian artist Michelle Teran, this two week workshop aimed to explore how urban spaces can be observed, sensed, re-interpreted, accessed or occupied, introducing strategies of live art, public intervention, cartography and visualization.

Theoretical lectures and screenings explored strategies that have been employed by contemporary artists such as Pierre Huyghe, Mona Hatoum, Trevor Paglen, Simon Faithfull, and Agnes Meyer-Brandis.

the workshop looked at the following core subjects

Рobserving what is hidden: when we look at something, what can we also not see? non-visual sensing, ambient information flows, hidden city infrastructures 
– defending territories: in what ways are spaces designed to prevent access or comfortable use, urban borders, movement and control
– extending space: in what ways can spaces and bodies be extended through technological and non-technological networks and systems?
– imagining space: fictions within realities / realities within fictions, urban myths, conspiracy theories, ghost hunters, fictional maps / lands
– ethics of access: definitions and demarkations of the public and the private, the visible and the invisible, permissions and parasitism
– artist works: an overview of artist whose work incorporates the use or rereading of urban space.

In the first week, workshop participants were guided through a series of discussions and tours conducted throughout the city of Bergen where they were introduced to different taxonomies of space, defensible space, the underground, hidden and unseen, weather space, remote space and sound and smell. One of the excursions involved a visit into several of the city’s underground sewer system. In the final week students were asked produce a final project for group presentation using as their starting points some of the experiences and information generated in the first week. Students were encouraged to think in terms of sketches and conceptual brainstorming to influence the generation of ideas not constrained by the limits of time and budget. Different artistic practices,  such as the performance instructions of Yoko Ono, where the sketch, instruction or recipe is the artwork in itself, were used as reference.

A public blog was produced and maintained for, during and after the workshop.