Community and the public realm.
Or perhaps more accurately community in the public
realm, or even more accurately in terms of this
project: the visible presence of the idea of community
in the public spaces of the city of Munich.
But what does this opening statement mean?
Well, let me put forward a proposition. A public
How public space is designed, managed and used,
presents a set of tacit understandings of what
community is and is not. These ‘understandings’ are
civil and polite, they are also vague and almost empty
of meaning. Contemporary public space presents us with
a place for everyone, somewhere for all of us, where
questions of community and belonging have no need to
be asked or considered, as we are all equally welcome.
This notion of a community for all, runs counter to
the standard dictionary definition of community; “a
social group whose members reside in a specific
locality, share government, and often have a common
cultural and historical heritage”.
The public spaces in the city of Munich are full of
indicators of a particular collective and shared
identity, from lions to coats of arms, from wall
paintings to vernacular architectural details. But to
the uninitiated eye they cannot be read, they exist as
only the public traces of a community.
This tension between what community is expected to
mean and how it is visible and marked in public space,
is the territory which standpoint will occupy and
explore for 6 weeks through a process of prop making,
writing and discussion.
The project will culminate in a gallery presentation
and an off site day of talks and activities.