THE CITY AS A STAGE.

Many European cities are drifting away from each other. Fragmentation and internal divides are eroding cities’ power to integrate. This trend is associated with a degree of alienation on the part of residents from their city, their urban space. Interventionist initiatives – performances, flash mobs, video strolls, open air installations – shake up the relationship between social, physical and art-media elements in our consciousness, and raise questions: how does physical mobility work in the city? What interaction takes place between real and virtual spaces? Interventions can function as reference points and catalysts through which feelings of identity and connectivity can be given (or given back). The emphasis here is not entertainment, but rather an interference with urban structures which might well result in confusion and provoke strong reactions. The tension which such activities generate is intentional and often part of the projects themselves. “Traps” are deliberately laid in public spaces in order to draw attention to the city’s urban make-up and sensitise individuals’ perceptions of urban reality. Equipped with critical thinking approaches and an arsenal of diverse artistic tools, artists are leaving the autonomous art space and demanding interdisciplinary dialogue. The lecture will explore and analyse examples of artistic interventions in the Berlin-Brandenburg urban region. At the core are questions regarding the social relevance of art and the future potential of subversive strategies and creative networking.

Birgit-K. Seemann holds a doctoral degree in History. Her dissertation dealt with cultural and political aspects of museum development from the middle of the 19th century until 1933. Since 2006 she has led the Potsdam administration’s Culture and Museums department. In this position she is responsible for the city’s promotion and financial support of culture, steering cultural developments in the city, cultural marketing and the city’s museums and collections. The culture and creativity quarter Schiffbauergasse is also overseen by her department. Before taking up office in Potsdam she worked in academic and administrative capacities at museums in Hamburg, Braunschweig and Hildesheim, at the Universities of Hamburg and Hildesheim, and at the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg. She has published on the topics of museum development, museum management and elite research. Her more recent publications focus on the chances for cultural education and on cultural-political issues e.g. The Management of Culture as a Municipal Strategy, in: Orzechowski, Emil et. al. (pub.), Culture Management, bi-annual publication year 3 / issue 3, Krakow 2010 and Kulturelle Bildung in der Landeshauptstadt Potsdam,(‘Cultural Education in the State Capital Potsdam’) in: Bundesvereinigung Kulturelle Kinder- und Jugendbildung (pub.) Her research interests are centred on cultural policy, cultural management and cultural participation.