MICHAEL ASHKIN

Urban Miracles Press Release, 2010

Urban Miracles
Remise Bludenz/Galerie AllerArt
Jan. 22 – Feb. 21, 2010
Opening Jan. 21, 2010, 8 pm

concept by transparadiso (Barbara Holub/Paul Rajakovics)

with
Michael Ashkin, New York
Stadtlabor_Osservatorio Urbano, Lungomare Bozen
Community Museum Project, Hong Kong
Céline Condorelli, London
Teddy Cruz, San Diego
feld 72, Vienna
Public Works, London
Jens Emil Sennewald, Paris
Allan Siegel, Budapest
SMAQ, Berlin
Gerald Straub, Vienna
transparadiso, Vienna
Georg Winter, Stuttgart/Saarbrücken

A catalog will be published by Bucher Verlag.

All utopias are depressing, because they leave no room for chance, for difference, for the ‘miscellaneous.’ Everything has been set in order and order reigns. Behind every utopia there is always some great taxonomic design: a place for each thing and each thing in its place.

— Georges Perec, Species of Spaces and Other Stories

Who still believes in miracles? And what are actually urban miracles? How much insistence, courage, boldness, despair and confidence is needed to make miracles happen in the public/urban space and in the socio-political realm? transparadiso has invited artists/urbanists/architects/cultural producers from different cultural contexts to discuss these aspects and show their personal experience and interpretation of miracles happening in the public realm and urban space.

In spite of self-censorship and pragmatism resulting from experience and obvious restrictions artists, urbanists, and architects keep insisting in making the impossible happen. Miracles amaze the most when they are least expected or seem to be completely impossible. We do not believe in miracles, yet sometimes they happen, or does believing and hoping contribute to the chance of making a miracle happen? Is it not the artist/architect/writer who produces that specific energy which seems as if in vain, to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and counteracting the pragmatism of today by producing a necessary, incalculable something, which one might wish to acquire more presence?

Park Fiction (in Hamburg, initiated by Christoph Schäfer/Cathy Skeene) could be considered the mother of recent urban miracles. It was finally opened in 2005, after 10 years of struggle and production of wishes. Thousands of people came to participate in this ‘Permanent Picnic Against Gentrification’ and used the opening of the park as an occasion to protest against the latte-macchiatization of the urban space in St.Pauli. Ever since then, Park Fiction is considered the reference project of the unexpected success of resistance which managed to prevent investors from realizing their mere profit driven plans of urban development.

Miracles – especially urban miracles – are not linked to a scientific definition or theoretical category but rather to amazement. Therefore the contributions of the participants reflect their personal approach and interpretation of Urban Miracles. They offer a range of visible and surprisingly successful miracles in urban space to more poetic-narrative spaces which could eventually lead to miracles in real space. If one has in mind that each miracle is preceded by a longing, one might explore the potential of transferring the Urban Miracle to the Regional Miracle, or consider how a Regional Miracle could start on its own.

Barbara Holub/Paul Rajakovics