Off-Spaces, project spaces, festivals, magazines, nomadic art projects, art associations – the independent Cologne art initiatives form a central component of the multifaceted art scene of the city. Some have been active only recently, others for many years or even decades. They function as fluid spaces for artistic experiments as well as transdisciplinary laboratories for new, independent formats. The diversity of off-platforms in Cologne as a driving force has a long tradition, yet its positioning is new: artists, curators and cultural workers organize themselves in a solidary alliance independent of the established institutions celebrating this year for the fourth time the merger of the Art Initiatives Cologne / Art Initiatives Cologne, AIC for short, with the AIC ON weekend. AIC invites you to AIC ON – from 24 to 26 May 2019 – with exhibitions, performances, concerts and city walks with well-known artists and cultural producers who connect the various art initiatives and locate them in the respective neighborhoods. More information can be found here.
AIC ON at Temporary Gallery:
Opening event: Independent scene as an agent of urban society
„The Streets are Ours“
Fri 24 May 2019
The aim of the event is to reflect on the role of artistic initiatives in urban development. Using local, national and international examples, we will analyze how artists respond to urban crises, develop alternative visions of the city, and work with city councils to realize them. The invited guests are artists, activists and scientists. The evening will be moderated by Prasanna Oommen.
Language: German (apart from the lecture of Krzysztof Nawratek)
5:30 p.m.: doors open
5:00 – 5:15: Welcome by Heike Ander (AIC) and Aneta Rostkowska (Temporary Gallery)
5:15 – 6:10: Lecture by Jan Liesegang (raumlaborberlin)
6:20 – 6:50: Presentation by Helle Habenicht. Followed by a conversation with Nadine Müseler and Benjamin Thele (Cultural Office of the City of Cologne)
6:50 – 7:20: Presentation by Sandra Riedmair (Niehler Freiheit e.V.) and David Morsi (Niehler Freiheit e.V., urbane liga)
7:35 – 8:40: „Less fun, more work: Public space as an infrastructure of/for revolution“
Lecture by Krzysztof Nawratek (in English)
All day: X-SÜD AKTIVATOR
5:15 – 6:00
Lecture: Jan Liesegang (raumlaborberlin )
raumlaborberlin was founded in 1999 as an association of several project-related and interdisciplinary artists and architects to pursue common goals in the fields of architecture, urban planning, activist art, landscape architecture, public space design and artistic installations. The core team consists of Markus Bader, Benjamin Förster-Baldenius, Andrea Hofmann, Jan Liesegang and Matthias Rick. Among the best known works are the "Kitchen Monument" (shown at the 2006 Venice Biennale) and the "Gasthof Bergkristall" in the Palace of the Republic. In addition to their temporary architectures, they developed projects for the Kunstraum München, the Kunstverein Heidelberg, the ZKM, Kampnagel Hamburg and the Venice Biennale of Architecture.
6:20 – 6:50
Presenation: Helle Habenicht. Followed by a conversation with Nadine Müseler and Benjamin Thele (Cultural Office of the City of Cologne)
Since the spring of 2018, various initiatives, local residents and working groups have been working with the City of Cologne to develop projects, concepts and events in order to turn Ebertplatz into a popular and widely used public space. The focus is on (socio-cultural) offers, but soon there will be gastronomy and smaller design upgrades. The whole process lives from the commitment of different people.
6:50 – 7:20
Presentation: Sandra Riedmair (Niehler Freiheit e.V.) and David Morsi (Niehler Freiheit e.V., urbane liga)
Niehler Freiheit is an association founded in February 2017. The aim of the association is to jointly create, design and use urban living space in a cultural way. Within the association, various collectives are committed to the different cultural priorities and are responsible for organizing events and projects in its spaces. Openness and mutual trust are the principle here. urbane liga (The Urban League) is an alliance of young city makers who want to be actively involved in shaping their cities. As a project forge, lab of ideas and network platform, urbane liga aims to strengthen the work of young adults in Germany by promoting their participation in public discourse, developing shared city visions and expanding opportunities for action.
19:40 – 20:40
„Less fun, more work: Public space as an infrastructure of/for revolution“
Vortrag von Krzysztof Nawratek (in Englischer Sprache)
Public space is neither the space of freedom nor individual expression. It is not the emptiness where the residents meet and communicate, either. The protests taking place in the world in public spaces (like the student occupation of the boulevards in Paris in 1968) derive its strength from two sources: first, connection to the global network of producing and publishing information; and second, from the fact that mass demonstrations disrupt the city’s functioning. Public space becomes important when it becomes a part of a global machine producing and promoting ideas; and when it is treated as a part of the infrastructure which functioning is necessary to support the city’s life. Public space should not be seen as a space of fun, but it should be seen as a political infrastructure of/for social change.
For AIC ON 2019 the X-SÜD AKTIVATOR (X-SOUTH ACTIVATOR) makes a stop at Temporary Gallery. At X-SÜD artists with and without disabilities work together. Some come from the Kunsthaus KAT18. They make art, design and architecture. X-SÜD collaborates with professionals. There is a solid cooperation with raumlaborberlin. It's about art. It's about meeting. And it's about urban development. The topic is: how do we want to work together? How do we want to live together? The idea behind X-SÜD is to build an inclusive studio building in the districts of Cologne and an inclusive housing project close to it. The X-SÜD AKTIVATOR is a first activist furniture piece that brings this idea to the city districts of Cologne. First locations were the Ebertplatz and the town hall in the Spanish building, next to the Cologne city model. The project was created by KUBIST e.V. and since its beginning involves artists from Kunsthaus KAT18.
Prasanna Oommen has been working since 20 years in NRW and at the federal level as a presenter (German / English), public relations manager and author / copywriter in in the fields of politics and society, art and culture, education and the media. She was a spokeswoman for various institutions and companies in North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse and she is a former board member and an active member of the Neue Deutsche Medienmacher e. V. In addition to event and process moderations, her portfolio includes numerous educational formats and the development of tailor-made concepts in the area of communication consulting. Prasanna Oommen studied German, English and political science and after graduation worked as a freelance journalist and voice actress in radio and film industry. She is a trained dancer (Cologne / Bangalore) and worked for many years as a dance mediator in youth and adult education.
Jan Liesegang, born 1968 in Cologne, is an architect and lives in Berlin. He has been Professor at the Bergen School of Architecture, Norway since 2017. Liesegang studied architecture in Berlin, Copenhagen and New York. In 1999 he founded the architect group raumlabor berlin and realized numerous experimental projects in public space. 2001-2007 he was an assistant at the Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart. He works together with his wife and partner Frauke Gerstenberg.
Sandra Riedmair was born in Munich and studied social sciences and media culture analysis in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Vienna and Nantes. Since the founding of Niehler Freiheit in 2017, she is responsible for the area of film and is a member of the board. She is curator and assistant director for film and radio, for example at the Short Film Festival Cologne and WDR active, and studies since 2018, the Academy of Media Arts, with a focus on film.
Hellen Habenicht, is living in Cologne since 2010. She studied social sciences with a focus on "Urban culture, society and space" at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Her master's thesis dealt with the temporary use of the Ebertplatz. Habenicht was involved in social neighborhood work in Mexico City and worked at the Council for Nutrition of the City of Cologne. She is part of the team working at Ebertplatz and freelances for the City of Cologne.
David Morsi was born and raised in Schweinfurt. He then completed a bachelor's degree in geography, urban planning and social sciences in Cologne, Bonn and Rio de Janeiro. Since autumn 2018 he has been studying a master's program in urban studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen. Since the foundation of Niehler Freiheit, David has been involved in the organization and communication of the collective and curates cultural events of various kinds. He is particularly interested in the field of external influences and integration into the urban and political context. Through his commitment, he became part of the "Urban League", a nationwide platform of "young city makers" initiated by the BBSR (Federal Institute for Construction, Urban and Space Research). Since January 2019 he has been working for the City of Cologne in the team taking care of the Ebertplatz.
Krzysztof Nawratek is a Senior Lecturer in Humanities and Architectural Design at the University of Sheffield. Before that he was an Associate Professor in Architecture a at Plymouth University. He has worked as an architect and urban designer in Poland, Latvia and Ireland. He worked as a Visiting Professor at the Geography Department at the University of Latvia and as a researcher at National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis, Maynooth, Ireland. His main research interest lie in urban theory in the context of post-secular philosophy, the evolution of (post)socialist cities, crisis of the contemporary neoliberal city model and urban re-industrialisation. His books include: City as a Political Idea (Plymouth, University of Plymouth Press, 2011), Holes in the Whole. Introduction to the Urban Revolutions (Winchester Zero Books, 2012) and Radical Inclusivity. Architecture and Urbanism (ed. DPR-Barcelona, 2015). His newest book is Total Urban Mobilisation. Ernst Jünger and Post-capitalist City (Palgrave 2018).
Funding and support
Kulturamt der Stadt Köln
Rhein Energie Stiftung
Deltax Wirtschafts- und Steuerberatungsgesellschaft mbH
1 — AIC - Art Initiatives Cologne, 2019