This issue of the Social Design Reader series will literally serve as a souvenir from the beginning of pandemic times in all our lives. It originated from an intense workshop which had been conceptualized by Eleni Boutsika Palles and Matilde Igual Capdevila in reaction to and in reflection of times of crisis.
The travels and trips that were made did not take us to other countries, to other places, but were transporting us to endless spaces of imagination within our limited radius. Nevertheless, we could experience daily life under experimental conditions, see how it would be when the access to public spaces is limited to almost everybody, how it would be if nightlife is only happening under forbidden conditions or not even then, or how it would be for all city’s inhabitants to remain without tourists.
This uncommon guide is providing its readers with alternative imaginary readings of a certain Viennese district. It is opening up to new experiences of the city, be it the city’s acoustical space, its hidden rooms and paths which are there, which are used and which had never been planned as such, be it the public space as a huge playing ground which is not just speeding up the city dwellers but is inviting them for a halt, for a game, for an unexpected encounter. We could use this guide book like a deck of tarot cards, interpreting the urban surface as an endless repertoire of emotions, of states of minds, last but not least of hopes and expectations. The city is full of symbols, reflecting what we want to and what we are able to see.
This guide is a poetical journey as it is an experimental undertaking of finding and developing new ways of getting lost in a familiar urban landscape, of absorbing a city without consuming it, of expressing one’s right to city and not implying that a city would be a commodity available to some and not to others.
With such a guide in hands you would find spaces, that offer innovative usages, free movements, wild thinking and unregulated ideas which are not preconceived by any sort of marketing promises, of selective story telling. The obvious emptiness allows a critical exploration and is giving space to new ideas.
May the uncommon set a standard, not in terms of surviving a critical state of being but in the openness of our thinking.
With contributions by Jan Krek, Orest Yaremchuk, Viktoriia Slynchuk, Fabio Spink, Dimitrije Andrijevic, Theresa Binder, Danny Nedkova, Paulina Flores, Laura Mann, Jelena Maschke, Fabian Ritzi, Alexandra Assinger, Dóra Medveczky, Ana Mumladze, Robert Bettinger, Leah Dorner, Sabrina Haas, Lena Michalik, Amanda Sperger, Brigitte Felderer (in order of appearance)
- Social Design – Arts as Urban Innovation / Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien