Initiative & Institution Symposium

Friday, 07.03.08, 17.30

trigger talks and discussion:
petra marguc (polimorph)
barbara holub & paul rajakovics (transparadiso)
chair: celine condorelli

Listen to mp3 here: Initiative & Institution – Symposium – Negotiate – 07.03.08



Transparadiso are Barbara Holub, Paul Rajakovics & Bernd Vlay.

Transparadiso’s practice navigates between architecture, art and urban design. It has endeavoured to develop new approaches and tools to bridge the gap between artistic intervention and the current dilemma of futile urban design strategies. we call it direct urbanism, partly based on guy debord’s ‘unitarian urbanism’.

Direct urbanism
Direct urbanism employs tactical interventions and strategic thinking. It considers planning as participatory principle and places the emphasis on the complexity of the situation and the responsibility of all involved. The urban intervention encompasses a wide range of tasks and possibilities.

The methodology of direct urbanism is applied in situations in which the goal often is not immediately clear and in which transparadiso wants to trigger open-ended processes inherent to artistic practices in the public domain.

Direct urbanism promotes a macro-utopia: it operates by employing an ‘anticipatory fiction’ that allows for latent, hidden visions we usually ignore due to self-censorship. macro-utopia describes the modest initial stages of latent “utopias” (nuclei of utopias) which only acquire relevance through collective actions and desire, and so become the impetus for transformation in their own right. Unlike ‘micro”, “macro” involves an inductive movement that may extend a small situation to the dimension of regional planning.

Direct urbanism could also be considered a third layer between urban planning and urban design. According to the specific and changing tasks transparadiso develops special tools which help to set new conditions for meeting the complexity of today’s urban situations.

Tools for direct urbanism
Taking into account the reality of privatized urban design, it could be considered a post-urban ‘real-space survival instrument’, negotiating uncertain terrain, challenging it without losing sight of its plan.
It is driven through badly designed or lost areas, shows up in unexpected contexts where it develops survival strategies and poetic moments. It disrupts rigid structures in order to create new space for action and appropriation.

Soothing table
The growing structures and adaptable dimensions of the soothing table occupy territory on a temporay base and enable non-hierarchical communication. The soothing table challenges profitdriven regeneration processes, confronts situations of conflict and accompanies urban interventions by offering unexpected pleasure and new visions.



How to contribute to urban processes with new tools and methodologies which are not “accepted” (institutionalized) within the professional field yet, but accepted in the sense of needed. Therefore they are often wanted, but since they are grounded in an inbetween space, nobody feels responsible to pay for them. how to deal with this dilemma?

How can a practice between art, urbanism and architecture achieve acknowledgement in its own right, as a new force, which can counteract/ confront the pragmatism of solely profit orientated decisionmakers, developers and PPP, and enable new qualities beyond the recently prevalent instrumentalization of artists serving regeneration processes?

During the last years – parallely to the restrictions of life being orientated predominantly after pragmatic economic parameters – there has been a growing longing for utopias. This longing seems to be rather retrogarde and lacks visions. The question is, how we can pursue visions inspite of todays pragmatism?


Categories : /presentation, archive, contributions, symposium