Public Spaces in Transition 2013SSH13-045

Stop and Go. Nodes of Transformation and Transition

Principal Investigator:
Stop and Go. Nodes of Transformation and Transition
Co-Principal Investigator(s):
Michael Hieslmair (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)
Abgeschlossen (01.01.2014 – 31.12.2016)
€ 345.000

“Stop and Go. Nodes of Transformation and Transition” focuses on the transformation of the informal hubs, nodes and terminals at the “PAN-European corridors” in Eastern Europe and Vienna that emerged parallel to the increase in traffic volume after the fall of Communism and moreover their impact on the public realm at the margins and even in the core of the cities. In a first step of developments of informal nodes so-called “leakage currents” and “ant (flying) vendors” give rise to their spatial and social structures (Schlögel, 2009). Where trade takes place exchange happens and difference arises. If we follow Henry Lefebvre’s thesis that urbanity is no more defined by density but by the degree of difference performed at specific places then these nodes paradigmatically represent new forms of urbanity (Lefebvre, 2003) and public space. In previous research projects informal nodes especially illegal markets were investigated as single entities and at one specific timeslot only. What remained largely unexplored so far was emphasising on these nodes as polyrhythmic ensembles, linked to their temporal adaptability – reacting on daily, weekly and seasonal rhythms of traffic flows – as well as their interdependence of one another. The goal of the project is to develop a networked “cartography” of the hubs and routes that displays individual experiences and alternative forms of knowledge of the mobile actors as well as their impact on urban transformations. Based on qualitative research (ANT, ethnomethodology, biographical interviews) we will transform our findings into a meta-network of mobility flows to which fictionalized protagonists (and locations) are added, who imbue the polyrhythmic ensembles of the network intersections with everyday compulsions. “Stop and Go” will compare three nodes arranged in a triangle: Vienna (AT) – Rousse (BG) – Tallinn (EST). Vienna at the margin of the former west, and the border- and harbour cities Rousse and Tallin are located close to each end of the north-south axis of the PAN-European corridors. Two interconnected research trips in cooperation with our partners, an human geographer from Tallinn and an urban planner from Sofia, to both destinations will be made using a transporter van, that also serves as a mobile laboratory storing artistic artefacts, documentary comics, and maps, each of which representations of preliminary research that serve as a trigger for episodic in-situ interviews. The collaborative fieldwork findings will also be tested and evaluated at a stationary laboratory and project space in Vienna, where the reference collection for the cartography will be continuously supplemented; techniques of representation will be further developed and consolidated in workshops with experts. The research findings will be published in a book, and also made accessible to a wider public via both a website and a walk-in installation in public space in Vienna and at the research destinations.


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