2+1 in Ludwigshafen | Project for Youngsters
text: compilation from the project fanzine
by : Öykü Özsoy
Apartment Project is invited to be part of Hack and the City project, initiated by Wilhelm-Hack-Museum for producing a new project in Hemshof. After their first site visit last November, the group has turned (in a way occupied) Rudolf-Scharpf-Galerie in Hemshof into a living and working space for 2,5 months starting in May, 2014. Hemshof, a neighbourhood in Ludwigshafen, where 40% of inhabitants have immigrated background, as the majority is composed of people from Turkey. Apartment Project consists of professionals with different backgrounds including artists, a writer, an industrial designer and a cultural antropologist. Depending on the needs of their projects, they invite guest participants. While each group member works on their individual research on the immediate surrounding, they are in a constant communication with each other for producing collectively. By naming their art project /work “collective”, the group refers to a process they employ rather than a form or aesthetic that the project /work shapes. The process develops by the social relationships: forming communication, creating possibilities of exchange and dialogue, negotiating a multiplicity of voices and agendas to building something together for creating a new project which aims to be site and people specific. When Apartment Project is based in a new place to realise a project, each of them collects materials which reflect their first impressions, observations in the location. Selda Asal names this phase as “free-flow”. Then these materials are shared with all the members in the group. At the same time, they meet people on the streets, cafes, restaurants, markets, parks, civil society organizations, schools. Building up relations, hearing stories, creating trust helps to involve the public into their projects. The practice of Apartment Project takes shape as an attempt to create an “open form”, a concept which was first proposed by the architect Oskar Hansen in 1959. According to him, an “open form” renders the possibility to add a structure to an existing reality, encouraging participation and a more vivid relationship with it.This stands in contrast to a “closed form”, where incorporating additional structures is impossible. The theory has influenced not only architecture, but also the artistic practice. One of the basic tenets of the “open form” is that ‘no artistic expression is complete until it has been appropriated by its users or beholders’, whereas the closed form reduces subjectivity to a passive element within a larger hierarchical structure. Apartment Project allows the community involved in the project to express themself freely, to influence the direction of the project and moreover, by creating a mutual communication between community and artists which involves public to be co-producers of the project, helps them to contribute to its outcome. In Hemshof, Apartment Project has produced five art projects, mainly focusing on working with youngsters and children from various schools, but at the same time with other inhabitants, who support their research in the neighbourhood. Stencils and posters are spreading in Ludwigshafen, as a “guerilla act” that represents a range of different voices and opinions on diverse set of social issues among youngsters. Their wishes and fears of the future, relations with the city and particularly their lives in the neighbourhood are written as slogans. Using the ephemeral space of the street, Apartment Project reaches to passers-by and invites them to face themselves and people around them, initiating a dialogue which is formless and democratic. Two rap music videos are a result of a series of workshops with youngsters from various schools who write the lyrics, perform in front of cameras and contribute to composing the music. Having a direct connection with the street culture, rap music is a very popular way of expressing problems, feelings, wishes and anger of urban life; telling stories as a way of rythmic poetry. The videos tell stories of youngsters and displaying them on the window of the gallery space, also in couple of shops in the city, is an attempt to make visible the hidden issues within the community. Parallel to the music videos, the sound map which is installed in the gallery space along with a map created by the artists, shows personal experiences of the artists and traces their daily routine along with some stories and sounds of the neighbourhood. As a pedagogic project, the furniture workshop, Hemshof Blok, which is run by Berk Asal with students in Grafenauaschule, aims to create a series of furnitures (wooden blocks which can be formed and used in various ways depending on user’s wish) and giving a chance to students of producing something collectively. While students follow the designed system of building by the artist, they experience to communicate and assist to each other. As Roland Barthes indicates, “teaching relation is not the relation of teacher to taught, but the relation of those taught to each other…” The idea of the artist is not only to produce a work collectively, but also, while doing so, to break the barriers of the idea of “owning something”, as it is dictated by the capitalist system. Once the blocks are prepared, they will be used by the producers, in this case by students in the school. Apartment Project moved in Hemshof, touched people’s lives, walked and left traces in the neighbourhood, choreographed its own dance and rhythm in the city as it is indicated in their exhibition title: Hemshof Boogie.
As one of the sub-groups of Apartment Project, 2+1 is formed by Selda Asal and Ceren Oykut in 2004. In relation to the dynamics of the projects participants are changing. Till now, 12 participatory art projects have been developed with the youngsters with immigrant background from Germany, France, Denmark and Sweden and youngsters of Kurdish, Alaouite and Laz minorities in Turkey; women from Iran who are forbidden to sing; youngsters who live an alternative life style from post-communist countries that are experiencing a transformation such as Estonia, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Since the very beginning the project that is focusing on notions such as “knowing, getting to know, understanding, making the voice heard” has been exhibited in exhibitions, biennials; local shops, supermarkets, markets and public spaces such as train stations.
Apartment Project has started a 2,5 months project with an invitation to Ludwigshafen as a part of Hack&The City curated by Öykü Özsoy supported by Wilhelm-Hack-Museum and Kulturstiftung des Bundes. The project is developed by Selda Asal, Göksu Kunak, Berk Asal and Irene Baumann. Özgür Erkök Moroder, Birgit Auf der Lauer, Eleni Mouzourou and ON/OFF – based in Berlin; musicians Zafer (Sarısoy) from Hemshof and Orely from Mannheim contribute to the team that has been living and working in Rudolf-Scharpf-Galerie in Hemshof. For the development of the project they have been working with Treff International – the meeting point of youngsters of Hemshof, the youngsters of Carl Bosch Gymnasium and Realschule plus am Ebertpark. Collaborative works with project spaces in the region, performances and talks will be held after the exhibition opening on 28th July 2014 till 13 July 2014.
Project with Youngsters – Long-term initiative:
Selda Asal, Ceren Oykut (2004) Istanbul
Selda Asal, Ceren Oykut, Gül Kozacioglu -Anna Kindren, Carinna Gunnars – (2006) Stockholm /// Botrycka Konsthall
Selda Asal, Ceren Oykut, Neriman Polat -Tom Fuerstner- (2007) Istanbul /// IKSV, Vestel, Ora
Selda Asal -Peebert- (2008) Berlin /// Kultur Macht stark, Deutscher Buehnen Verein
Selda Asal, Serdar Ateser (2008) Holstebro /// Odin Teatret, Kulturhusset, Norrelandsskolen, Kurdisk Dansk
Selda Asal, Serdar Ateser (2008) Diyarbakir /// intercult, Anadolu Kültür, Depo
Selda Asal, Ceren Oykut, Serdar Ateser (2009) Lille /// Ville de Lille, European Commission – Program , IKSV
Selda Asal, Serdar Ateser (2009) Berlin /// Berliner Projektfonds Kulturelle Bildung, Kurt Loewenstein Schule
Selda Asal (2009) Tibilisi, Baku, Yerevan, Tehran /// European Commission – Program
Selda Asal, Cem Akkan (2010) Tibilisi /// GeoAir
Selda Asal, Cem Akkan (2010) Moks /// European Commission – Program