Living Spaces: Fittja
August 22-24, 2013, Fittja, Botkyrka
Artists: Łukasz Skąpski, Taus Makhacheva, Aleksi Soselia, Group Tetsi (Aleksi Soselia, Galaqtion Eristavi, Tata Muskhelishvili, George Spanderashvili) and Ruben Arevshatyan.
DepARTments, a site specific project in Fittja aims to create a unique, intimate travel through various locations in the neighbourhood, with a paralell narration developed by the artworks, screenings and talks by the artists from Georgia, Armenia, Dagestan, Poland and Sweden.
Curator: Kaja Pawełek
Fittja, originally part of the 1960s The Million Programme governmental housing project has currently very multicultural population with ca. one hundred languages spoken. A kind of an island from the central perspective, it seems to be the ideal place to pose questions about the future of architectural and urban environments once shaped by the modernist ideas; living models under transformation; as well as sense of home, community and belonging. This is a point of connection with the post-soviet heritage of the Caucasus countries – often fascinating as bold architectural forms, but also turning more and more into question marks addressing the future. Going beyond the rhetoric of identifying ‘problems’, it is worth considering the potential and challenge those modern forms from the past represent, since it seems that they are on the verge of second-life social and structural transformation.
One can easily reach Fittja by taking the red subway line, directly from the Stockholm’s centre. This travel to the southern neighbourhoods is connected to the changing social and built environment along the way. That axis of Stockholm’s social and class stratification inspired the Polish artist Łukasz Skąpski, who filmed the complete travel by the red line of tunnelbana – from the northern stations, being the synonym for the most wealthy areas, to the southern, populated mostly by immigrants ‘working class’ ones – like Fittja or Norsborg. The artist asked the passengers about their own living quarters, and through their narrations enabled a subjective image of the city to emerge. Ruben Arevshatyan will present in his talk the paradoxical shifts in collective consciousness and architectural transformations in the post-Soviet era, with a particular focus on Armenia. He will speak about the recent public reaction in Yerevan to the official decision of demolishing the cinema Moscow open-air hall, one of the best examples of late-modernist Armenian architecture of the 1960s. The debate which arouse from that incident concerns not only architecture, its literal symbolic and and political meaning, but also rethinking one’s past. The Fast and the Furious by Taus Makhacheva is a video based on the artist’s performance in Dagestan (Russian Caucasus), exploring the local rituals and patterns, marked by the men-dominated public sphere. The artist joined the illegal car racing, taking place on a newly built highway, participating in that microcosm, hierarchies and status constant competition on her own terms by entering the scene in a fur-coated 4WD. That bold statement challenges the status quo, and also opens up the potential of transformation of the local cultural landscape. Tetsi Group will present their activities and proposals for the public sphere and a new video work by Galaqtion Eristavi will be presented. Aleksi Soselia, collaborating with Tata Muskhelishvili will place a mobile instrument-sculpture-bench in different locations in Fittja, prompting spontaneous use by the local residents and opening the space for the signals for the future.
Visiting the locations and artworks in Fittja should provide an opportunity to move around the neighbourhood and reflect upon the potential and future of that place. Once a radical housing project, it has become a part of the history of raise and fall, and raise again of thinking about the future living spaces.
In collaboration with Residence Botkyrka, Botkyrka Konsthall, Multicultural Centre in Fittja and the Polish Institute in Stockholm. The project was co-funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.