East European Performing Arts Platform (EEPAP) and Labirynt Gallery presented a livestreaming conversation about the Meet the Neighbours project during the Who do you work for? international symposium at Labirynt Gallery in Lublin, Poland on artistic practices with local communities. Livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 14 December 2018 at 14:00 UTC +1 (Berlin) / 13:00 UTC +0 (London) / 8 a.m. EST (New York, UTC -5).
The Who do you work for? symposium opens a platform to talk on the artistic practices that leave the gallery and theatre spaces to work with the local communities and try to redefine the notion of public art and space. Together with artists and curators from Ljubljana, Cluj, Sofia, Groningen, Manchester, Béthune, Marrakesh, Szczecin and Warsaw, as well as Lublin inhabitants we will try to answer the question whose the public space actually is nowadays.
Meet the Neighbours
Meet the Neighbours is a three-year cross-artform project inviting artists into rapidly evolving neighborhoods in five cities across Europe and North Africa. Co-funded by the European Union’s Creative Europe programe, Meet the Neighbours is taking place in Manchester and Salford, UK (Quarantine); Béthune, Lillers & Bruay-la-Bussiere, France (Comédie de Béthune); Lublin, Poland (Labirynt Gallery); Marrakech, Morocco (Le 18); and Groningen, Netherlands (Grand Theatre). The local partners in Lublin, Poland are the East European Performing Arts Platform (EEPAP) and the Museum of Housing Estates.
Meet the Neighbours addresses questions around changes in city environments, comparing five different yet relatable urban conditions. How are cities changing shape and what is the role of artists in the process? How can artists have a progressive and critical voice in relation to urban regeneration and development? How is access to cultural provision affected by the presence of artists in neighborhoods? How can artists create space and relationships where conversations and action might occur? How does mobility of artists relate to migration and mobility of people in a changing Europe? How can working with neighboring countries develop artist mobility beyond and to Europe?
Meet the Neighbors is not another project about the artworld, nor about a particular curatorial vision. It is being conceived by and with artists, but its scope goes definitely beyond the frames of the art field. It is an inquiry on and for the main artists’ interlocutors, collaborators, addressees and partners in crime: the public(s). We are absolutely convinced that art is one of the main social practices and a public good that needs to be developed, protected and cherish — but is this opinion being shared by the public we constantly claim working for? We feel an urgency to ask what does ‚the public’ actually mean today: who does it consist of and what are their main concerns, interests and deceptions? Whose the public space is and who decides about it? Who forms, shapes and creates the every day context we work and live in — at the streets, in parks and public spaces, in a coffee shop and in the favorite grocery?
Our main goal is to reclaim the notion of the public(s) and imagine possible (and impossible!) ways of being together — both in the art field and outside of its porous frames. In Lublin, the project will take place in the residential district of Lubelska Spółdzielnia Mieszkaniowa (LSM), which was born of a utopian urban living project in the 1960s. The core activities will happen at Osiedle Słowackiego settlement. Its architects, Zofia and Oskar Hansen, imagined the city as a common wealth, with shared spaces and responsibilities. But today these ambitious ideals appear to have failed: shared spaces lie abandoned and uncared for and the idea of the common needs to be revisited. Galeria Labirynt works with curators Marta Keil and Grzegorz Reske (ResKeil) to invite artists to stay in Osiedle Słowackiego. They will embed themselves in the community; get to know its spaces, mechanisms and the relations between inhabitants. They will create work that responds to the cultural disturbances and shifts of recent years.