: why ? where ? when ? how ? who ? for whom ?

: urban experiments in theater, art, literary and new media, city planning, transcultural architecture

: an annual cycle of creative workshops, interdisciplinary projects and multicultural research expeditions

: a series of naïve, fragile and self-sustaining projects reconsidering accessible communal creativity as a way of healing internal and external isolation in cultural practice, urban landscape and our segregated heartland

A city must be a place where groups of women and men are seeking and developing the highest things they know… If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric in which each diverse human gift can find a fitting place. Margaret Mead

Since I am to be the cultivator, I want to serve faithfully. Culture arises only when individual fulfills her or his cycle of obligations… For anything that does not form living roots, why should it exist at all ? Kathe Kollwitz

Quotations are useful in periods of ignorance or periods of obscurantist beliefs. Guy Debord

Humanity needs practical men and women, who get the most out of their work, and, without forgetting the general good, safeguard their own interests. But humanity also needs dreamers, for whom the disinterested development of an enterprise is so captivating that it becomes impossible for them to devote their care to their own material profit. Marie Curie

Vital cities have marvelous innate abilities for understanding, communicating, contriving, and inventing what is required to combat their difficulties…
Lively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their regeneration, with energy enough to carry over for problems & needs outside themselves… Jane Jacobs

The chief function of the city is to convert power into form, energy into culture, dead matter into the living symbols of art, biological reproduction into social creativity. Lewis Mumford

The constructive diversity that provides strength to an expanding and virile civilization is the result of creative sensitivity to the eternally changing circumstances… Matthew Nowicki

Postmodernity.. is for the thinking person also the age of community: of the lust for the community, search for community, invention of community, imaging community. Zygmunt Bauman

As the unity of the modern world becomes increasingly a technological rather than a social affair, the techniques of the arts provide the most valuable means of insight into the real direction of our own collective purposes.
A commercial society whose members are essentially ascetic and indifferent in social ritual has to be provided with blueprints and specifications for evoking the right tone for every occasion. Marshall McLuhan

What is the city but the people? William Shakespeare

The planning of cities cannot be confined to housing, work, recreation and circulation; the standard planner’s definition: the whole city must rather be conceived mainly as a theater for active citizenship, for education, and for vivid and autonomous personal life. Lewis Mumford

The city is a fact in nature, like a cave, a run of mackerel or an ant-heap. But it is also a conscious work of art, and it holds within its communal framework many simpler and more personal forms of art.
Mind takes form in the city; and in turn, urban forms condition mind. Lewis Mumford

********************************************************************************************



City Acts without Borders pilot expedition: Poland, June 30 till August 2, 2005

a workshop-research expedition involving urban experiments combining theater, art, literary & new media work, city planning & multicultural architecture.

Our Summer 2005 project participants were: 

graduate students, university faculty members and professional practitioners, including:

actors, artists, architects, curators, city planners, cultural programmers, dancers, directors, designers, documentary filmmakers, musicians, performers, poets, photographers, writers, urban activists …

Below are the excerpts from the open project participation invitation:

     "Arden2, a nonprofit organization, involved in initiating workshops and collaborations, especially between American artists and their Eastern and Central European counterparts is introducing its new project entitled " City Acts without Borders"- a series of annual workshop and cultural research expeditions. Throughout the postmodern city there are culturally divided communities organized around ethnicity, class, sexuality, education, religion, and so forth, who because of artificial borders are unable to share and learn from each other’s civic experience. We feel it is of great importance to develop projects, which deal with the urban barriers and the issues of "the unfamiliar", "the foreign", and "the other". We feel an expedition examining a neutral urban context would enhance the discussion on the role of cultural interaction in the life of the postmodern city and would serve the whole population by promoting tolerance and acceptance. Considering parallels between today’s global and urban situation, we want to shape our multidisciplinary expedition as a flexible, practical, and open-minded civic vehicle dedicated to mutual exchange of knowledge, experience, and facilitating future collaborations between the hosting and visiting participants."

     "The expedition "City Acts without Borders" is intended to create a multidisciplinary forum for up to twenty arts professionals (please see the list above) and graduate students of the arts to experience collaborative exchanges with their counterparts in Eastern and Central Europe. This project attempts to form a creative basis for international exploration and discourse on the role of cultural urban interaction involving practitioners of theater, art, architecture, and all allied disciplines. As participants in the expedition, we are inviting individuals who have vision, the determination to enrich their skills, and a curiosity about other cultures; they must also be people who are passionate about their practice and willing to use their skills to nurture their relationship with the postmodern city. Our intention is to observe and to stimulate ideas and actions nourishing the heartbeat of the city, wherever this city exists, to learn from and to document, to discover and to present conscious forms of symbiotic bonding inherently present in urban arts and cultural activities such as street performances, theater festivals, and art installations."

     " We chose Poland as the initial host, since its history, culturally rich urban life, and internationally renowned artists provide an appropriate balance and context for a pilot program. We propose a month-long visit to three Polish cities that are located close to the German-Polish border as examples of creative multicultural coexistence and collaboration. We shall begin the expedition in Poznań, where we are collaborating with the faculty of Adam Mickiewicz University and will also attend the MALTA 2005 International Theatre and Arts Festival. In addition, we plan to visit the Arts and Cultural Centers operated by the Theatre of the Eighth Day (Teatr Ósmego Dnia) and the Szamocin Station (Stacja Szamocin). Next, we shall visit Wrocław, where we will take part in a weeklong workshop with the Song of the Goat Theatre Company, and visit the archives of the Grotowski Center for Theatre Practice. We shall then proceed to Szczecin, where we will work with actors and directors of the Współczesny and Kana Theaters and participate in the International Street Art Festival. Finally, we shall end in Warsaw, where we shall collaborate with local visual artists grouped around the Contemporary Arts Center and take stock of what we have learned. We have already made initial contacts with appropriate local partners in Ukraine and the former Yugoslavia for 2006 and 2007."

If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric in which each diverse human gift can find a fitting place.
Margaret Mead


Since I am to be the cultivator, I want to serve faithfully. Culture arises only when the individual fulfills her or his cycle of obligations…For anything that does not form living roots, why should it exist at all ?
Kathe Kollwitz
 

From the idea that the self was not given to us… we have to create ourselves as a work of art.
Michel Foucault
 

Nothing in this world is to be feared … only understood.
Marie Curie

There is no justification...
Simone de Beauvoir