2020, HDA/ House of Architecture, Graz

NORMAL exhibition

NORMAL - Direct Urbanism x 4
HDA Graz, Exhibition 28.1.-24.2.2021

Direct Urbanism

Project partner of transparadiso:
Michael Petrowitsch
Cooperation partners:
HDA, Forum Stadtpark
Media partner:
dérive – magazine for urban research

NORMAL – direct urbanism x 4 is part of Graz Culture Year 2020/2021.

Radio Helsinki

Exhibition at HDA – House of Architecture Graz

Opening and panel discussion: 27 January 2021, 6 p.m.
Exhibition: 28 January to 24 February 2021
Opening hours: Tue-Sun, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
HDA – House of Architecture, Mariahilferstraße 2, 8020 Graz, Austria

As long as the HDA was closed, the exhibition could be seen through the window fronts facing Südtirolerplatz.
Since Feb.9 the exhibition is open to the public!

The opening will take place as an online artist talk: January 27, 6pm-7:15pm.
The event is available on the HDA-Channel.

How can you define sustainable and future-oriented urban development?
“NORMAL – direct urbanism x 4”, initiated by transparadiso, focusses on four districts on the outskirts of Graz. The HDA is accompanying the project with an exhibition held as part of Graz Year of Culture 2020.
Responding to current social challenges in urban development, transparadiso developed the method of direct urbanism to facilitate socially-engaged urban planning combining direct action and planning. Urban practitioners orizzontale (I), public works (GB) and Georg Winter (D) were invited to work with transparadiso in four Graz districts: Andritz (north), Waltendorf (east), Liebenau (south), and Wetzelsdorf (west).

Cities particularly grow at the edges. Agricultural land is being re-zoned, dense housing is being built without integration into an urban development concept, village structures are disappearing and the soil is being permanently sealed – despite known effects on the climate. These developments are accompanied by a lack of collective, public spaces where people can meet without pressure to consume.
But is this “normal” in the sense of natural or inevitable? How can we counteract this development and become active in our own environment? Which new processes and methods are needed to weigh up self-interest against qualities for collective living? How can we use innovative artistic-urbanistic methods to create new “centrality” (Lefebvre) and an identity informed by the common good in peri-urban areas? Despite showing similar phenomena the selected districts are very different.

In order to address current social challenges of urban planning, transparadiso (Barbara Holub / Paul Rajakovics) developed the method of direct urbanism for socially committed urban planning, intertwining direct action (action through artistic interventions) and planning. Implemented in the context of Graz Year of Culture 2020, the project NORMAL explores a new “normal” that also gives space to deviation from the norm and the seemingly impossible. For NORMAL – direct urbanism x 4, transparadiso invited three other international artists and architects (urban practitioners) to focus on the rapid transformation process at the fringes of Graz – currently the fastest growing city in Austria.

Between spring 2020 and summer 2021, the urban practitioners will work together with local residents and organizations to realize artistic urban interventions based on transparadiso’s research. These will prioritize collective qualities and the appropriation of public spaces free from pressure to consume. The projects aim to provide a starting point for further discussion on socially committed urban development in Graz.

Exhibition - a hybrid:
The urban practitioners developed their projects based on transparadiso’s research in the districts. In the show they present their project concepts as well as objects and materials for the realizations in the districts - due to the restrictions in a "hybrid exhibition": the exhibition and videos can be viewed from the outside. Additional materials of the participatory process are listed with the respective projects (on this website) and are available for download.

At the main square in Andritz, public works will be holding PLATZEN – School for Civic Action in May 2021. Following on from the School for Civic Action that public works carried out in Roskilde (DK) in 2018-2020, they will ask what role a district’s main square can play in relation to the city's main square. The exhibition presents themes for PLATZEN that public works collected during their first intervention in October 2020.
School for Civic Action

On 3 and 4 July 2021, transparadiso will focus on the Eisteichsiedlung estate in Waltendorf where they will transform the car park of St. Paul’s parish into an informal congress centre for the Third World Congress of the Missing Things (in cooperation with St. Paul’s parish). The website collects topics for this non-hierarchical congress, specifically addressing "Missing Things" in relation to "normal" in a wider sense, i.e. discussing community and societal values and challenging the individual to take up responsibility for society. Postcards can be picked up at the HDA; topics can also be sent to holub@transparadiso.com.
The Third World Congress of the Missing Things

On the new beach at Grünanger in Liebenau, orizzontale will realise FLUSSFLUSS - Castaway on the Mur in April / May 2021 (in cooperation with the Grünanger Youth Centre): “Residents are invited to dream together and build a floating system of platforms.” A buoy with the sign FLUSSFLUSS will appear in the water, signalling the collective activation of the site. orizzontale will distribute the FLUSSFLUSS manifesto, collecting and documenting the values and wishes of local actors.

In spring 2020, Georg Winter / AG Ast began working on the DancePlantPlan in Wetzelsdorf, installing the DancePlantField (https://tanzpflanzplan.at/, in cooperation with the Grottenhof Agricultural and Forestry School). This has been activated with local residents using performative artistic interventions. DancePlantPlan addresses the issue of converting agricultural land on the outskirts of the city into new housing estates, contrasting the recent hype for urban gardening taking place in the city centre.

More dates on NORMAL

March–July 2021:
Implementation of the projects in the four districts.

August 2021: The four districts are linked in four hikes around the border of the city, which serve as the starting point for a new hiking route which will surround Graz.

1–15 September 2021: Exhibition of the project results in the Forum Stadtpark

Catalog: NORMAL – direct urbanism x 4
The first catalog presents research on current issues in the districts as well as the artists / architects and their project concepts (published in 2020): it is available here.

At the end of 2021, the second catalog will be published showing the project implementations and including texts on the discourse.