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SmartCity-EU: Challenges of the city and European artistic collaboration


Smartcity EU

— ​SmartCityEU is an art project which explores and develops new artistic interventions within urban spaces in European cities during a 2 year period between June 2008 and October 2009.

Moreover it is an interesting European collaboration that crosses boundaries and disciplines between Dédale - France, WRO Art Center - Poland, Zoneattive - Italy and AltArt - Rumania. Virtueel Platform did an interview with Claire de Rasilly of French art, culture and technology institute Dédale on collaboration, Europe and constructing a possible future for the city through art and technology.

VP: How was the collaboration initiated?
Claire: 'SmartCityEU is an art project on the theme of the European city of the future which aims at increasing awareness of the today’s cities challenges among Europeans citizens. It will take place between June 2008 and October 2009. The project has been initiated by 4 major cultural institutions showing a common interest in artistic innovation, in interdisciplinary projects, in new media, in European exchanges… and sharing the strong idea that artists have a crucial role to play to envision and develop the European city of the future.

Building on a broad-based expertise in the field of emerging arts amid new technologies, Dédale, WRO, Zoneattive and AltArt engage in a partnership leading to the creation of SmartCityEU project. They have al developed a long-standing experience in organizing big art events at European level (Festival Emergences-Villette Numérique [Paris, FR], International Media Art WRO [Wroclaw, PL], Enzimi Festival and Biennal of Young Artists from Europe and Meditterranean [Rome, IT] and aniMOTION festival, part of the “Sibiu – European Capital of Culture 2007”). Five other partners have then joint the project: Bo-dig (Istanbul, TR), Recyclart (Brussels, BE), Videomedeja (Novi Sad, SR) and MCC Kibla (Maribor, SI) and Waag Society (Amsterdam, NL), so that SmartCityEU will take place in 9 European cities.

Some of the partners have been cooperating before the start of the SmartCityEU project, but its development also constitutes a great opportunity to meet additional partners around this thematic. In European cities, art departs from its traditional ways of intervention and turns the city into a true stage of experimentation in all disciplines (visual arts, music, theatre; dance; live art, design, architecture). The development of new technologies strengthens this phenomenon and offers the artists new opportunities within the urban environments: wireless technologies, positioning systems, geographic information, visual technologies and interactive distant systems.

Beyond the use of technologies, new artistic practices are emerging. They are determined by a contextual approach, taking into account the ideas of flux, of mobility, of communication and of interaction with the environment as well as citizen’s participation.

These new art forms are questioning the actual urban transformations. The city is more than ever in the heart of concerns and the place where all the problems of our societies are melted: environment, sustainable development, economic development, social life and exclusion, housing, leisure and consumption…'

VP: What would you say is the best example within SmartcityEU of efficient (and inspiring) collaboration?
Claire: 'The originality of the SmartCityEU project and of the cooperation resides in the location based approach and the innovative common methodology defined by the partners. At a first stage of the project definition, the partners proceed to the selection of local territories in their cities, chosen for their specificities (strong urban, social, historic and architectural characteristics). The partners cooperate on the definition of the art programme, focusing on the implementation of the art projects within local territories (in conjunction with local social, cultural and political actors). Those local contexts variety enables to draw up a global view of European contemporary cities issues, underlining their similarities and diversities.

Following this innovative approach, SmartCityEU allows envisioning art proposals reflecting nowadays urban challenges, features a series of activities being co-productions (artworks in urban spaces), workshops (urban art experimentation), interdisciplinary events, exhibitions (shows, concerts, performances, encounters) and a resources centre (art watch - databases– publications).

The art projects implementation is properly at the heart of the collaboration, involving a quality cooperation work at all the stages of the projects realisation. The partners are indeed collaborating thanks to: the setting up of the art programme within an European art Committee; the realisation of workshops and residencies; the circulation of artworks in the European cities taking part to the project.

As a first step towards the creation of a European network dedicated to the production and the circulation of artworks related to new art forms, the SmartCityEU project initiates a long term cooperation between the partners. The common work will also be lead a step further thanks to the creation of an Observatory of new artistic practices in the city.'

More information

Programme and participating cities
Paris [FR] | 09-10/2008 + 09-10/2009 Istanbul [TR] | 10/2008 Rome [IT] | 11/2008 Novi Sad [SR] |12/2008 Maribor [SI] | 02/2009 Cluj [RO] | 04/2009 Wroclaw [PL] | 05/2009 Brussels [BE] 06/2008



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