W139 Amsterdam

Project and catalogue presentation, October 07, 2011, 20:00h, W139 Amsterdam

Warmoesstraat 139
1012 JB Amsterdam NL

Skulpturenpark Berlin-Zentrum is located on an urban wasteland, part of which was formerly the ‘Mauerstreifen', the military zone within the Berlin Wall. It remains vacant to this day. With approximately 5 hectares of open lots, it offers a vast space and unique history to host various socio-cultural activities.

Rather than encouraging “plop art” or following the tradition of many open-air museums, Skulpturenpark Berlin-Zentrum is interested in sculpture as a process that has the potential to reveal and critique the social, historical, and structural contexts provided by the site. It is not interested in placing objects into an already cultivated urban or park landscape. Since 2006 artists were invited to create site-specific works which deal with the functional, social, geographic, historical, and political relationships of the area. 3 artists and founders of KUNSTrePUBLIK e.V. (Matthias Einhoff, Philip Horst and Markus Lohmann) will give us insight into the project and launch the just released catalogue in Amsterdam.

Wasteland Twinning, a new project coming out of this context and were W139 will take part in, hijacks the concept of ‘City Twinning’ and applies it to urban Wastelands in order to generate a network for parallel research and action. By subverting a concept which aims to parade a city’s more predictable and mainstream cultural assets and shifting the focus to Wastelands, questions of value and function will be raised. From these questions, new practices will be developed. Wasteland Twinning aims to develop an understanding of the potential of these sites through cross-disciplinary models of practice.

Urban wastelands are at the centre of conflicts around cultural, economic and historical hegemonies. The common notion still remains that wastelands are of no value until developed. However these types of spaces hold a unique and valuable role in the future of humanity as we question notions of progress and strive for more sustainable models of living. Urban wastelands support inner city biodiversity, provide carbon sinks, improve hydrological attenuation, provide open space and represent freedom from the controlled built environment. As metaphors wastelands typify the cause and effect of our constant (re)development.

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