PERFORMING TEMPORARY COMMONS
Installation out of broken umbrellas and reused timber found on site, sign making workshops, public provocation performances and a procession
The School of Civic Action at Roskilde Festival, Denmark, was a ten-day long summer school hosted by public works which explored ideas around temporary use and the making of the instant city.
Through a series of inquiries exploring the theme “performing change”, my collaborators Alastair Howard, Siiri Pyykkönen and I experimented with the medium of performance as a way to read the festival as a ground for the commons.
1 INSTALLATION – UTOPIAN CONFESSIONARY BOOTH, MADE OUT OF BROKEN BEACH UMBRELLAS AND REUSED TIMBER FOUND ONSITE. INSIDE THE BOOTH FESTIVAL GOERS COULD CONFESS THEIR UTOPIAN VISIONS FOR THE FESTIVAL ITSELF AND FOR THE SOCIETY AT LARGE
1 PUBLIC TALK DELIVERED BY ALISA ON THE IMPORTANCE OF ARTIVISM
3 DAYS OF DROP-IN SIGN MAKING WORKSHOP “UTOPIAN CHATS” FOR THE FESTIVAL PUBLIC
1 COLLECTIVE PARTICIPATORY WALL OF REFLECTIONS ON HOW THE FESTIVAL FUNCTIONS AS A SITE OF TEMPORARY UTOPIA
17 BANNERS SIGNS, DESIGNED AS A RESPONSE TO THE CHANGING FESTIVAL SITE AND BASED ON THE INTERVIEWS AND REFLECTIONS OF THE FESTIVAL GOERS
1 PERFORMATIVE PROCESSION THROUGH THE FESTIVAL WITH THE SIGNS AND BANNERS
The driving research for the project was to explore the festival’s capacity to promote new forms of living and examine how temporality can be understood as a strength enabling us to gain new knowledges and methods to help us shape the way we live beyond the duration of the festival.Our guiding question was – What Utopias are on offer here? Who is envisioning them? How does it link people together?
We started off with creating a site-specific installation where the discussions that centre alternative ways of living could take place. Using timber and old beach umbrellas found on site, we’ve created a mobile confessionary booth, where festival visitors could confess their utopian visions for the festival itself and for the society at large. Inspired by the traditional confessionals, we’ve created a division in the middle, making the sharing an anonymous experience.
UTOPIAN CHATS WORKSHOPS
For two days, we held an open drop-in sign making workshop and reflective space, where a collective participatory wall of reflections was filled up, exploring how the festival functions as a site of temporary utopia for different people, ranging from impressions about the site’s culture, unusual encounters, worldview invitations, as well as reflection on what new understandings and knowledges have been gained through participating in the festival culture.
The reflections from the festival visitors gathered during the workshops were then translated into signs and artworks, reflecting on the contradictory often grotesque chaotic culture of the festival and the experimental space of “freedom” it provides. These signs were then taken out into different festival contexts, often provoking reactions and conversations with the festival goers. The confessionary exterior was then also populated by these signs. This enhanced confessionary booth structure along with the rest of the signs was then brought to the camps through a solemn parade where those experiences and utopian moments have originated, eliciting a wide diversity of responses from the camp inhabitants.
The School for Civic Action is organised by:
Public works team:
Andreas Lang, Mara Weiss
Flokkr, Roskilde Festival, Denmark
The project was presented at:
Dr Heidi Svenningsen Kajita and David Pinder
Alastair Howard, Siiri Pyykkönen