The Art in Public Spheres project Café des Visions establishes forums at unconventional locations to test new ways of discussing and working out together how public spaces shall be designed and used.
The goal is to link ideas and spaces by gathering implicit knowledge from people on the street -considering their everyday experience as expertise. This knowledge is made artistically visible and put at the disposal of creators and users of public spaces while at the same time challenging and blurring their traditional roles. Or with the words of the French sociologist Henry Lefebvre: ‘City consumers shall become city producers.’ The artistic intervention Café des Visions serves as a nomadic research station transforming urban non-places into mobile village squares. Wishes for the restructuring of a specific public space are gathered there by interviewing guests at the café. They are invited to draw their wishes on the ground with white water-soluble paint. This gesture of inscribing the site with requests directly connects idea and space.
Café des Visions treats the constructed and the lived cities as if they were white spots on maps of ancient explorers. Data is gathered from drawings and logbooks, by semi-structured interviews as well as by documenting the collected wishes. After the Café‘s intervention, the data is qualitatively analysed. The results are drawn typographically and published as city mappings on which wishes superimpose the grid of houses and streets. The artistic intervention provides knowledge created by open thinking, which is the starting point of any creative process and can serve as a first step in city development processes. It brings back the imaginary to planning and to public space and it makes the creation of city live to an oeuvre.
During the sharing at ACO Anna will present her journeys with the Café des Visions to different European Cities such as Barcelona, Zürich, Zug, Vienna and Leibnitz. Afterwards, the discussion is open to exchange about potentials of public spaces in Hong Kong and Zürich, trying to find cultural translations. The sharing will be mapped and become part of the project Dictionary for the Concept of Public Spheres. Cultural Translations. Hong Kong Zürich and Zürich Hong Kong. The results will be shared with the participants and with ACO.
About the artist: Anna Graber, 1969, lives and works in Zürich as an artist and artistic researcher. After a Bachelor in Art Education in Zürich she studied Major Arts in Public Spheres in Lucerne. Her main interests lie in the public spheres – be they real or virtual – and in communication. Therefore, many of her projects in museums as well as in public spheres are participatory and ask a question, that can be discussed on the site, either by collaborating in a design or by talking or both.
By the means of artistic interventions spaces are appropriated and transformed to mobile village squares. The goal is to find transdisciplinary ways of thinking and working together. Anna collaborates with a number of partners as the offices of Culture or Urban Development, with local associations, galleries or with transdisciplinary festivals and conferences. Each time the discussion of the results is adapted to the specific context. For example at the city of Zug the collected wishes got part of the charta on how to use public squares published by the office for city development as well as of a publication by the office for culture. The mappings are often presented as murals.
Anna is also curator of the Living Room Festival at Zürich, where 50 artists explore the cultural potential of public spaces.