Hack and the City is a public space project in Ludwigshafen (2013/14) curated by the International Fellow Curator Öykü Özsoy and WHM Curator Barbara J. Scheuermann funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes.
"Contemporary art existing in the public space is all about intervention, about action, about performative relationships, and also about mobilization of different communities." (Hou Hanru)
A sufficient public sphere is defined as a democratic model which is based on communication and participation of people who composed it. However, in the present day the public sphere is a concept which is far from Haberman’s ideal of a homogeneous and harmonious sphere, but rather shaped by communities with different interests and needs. These various requests from communities create a conflictual relationship in the city’s space. Chantal Mouffe describes this space as the “agonistic public sphere.” This model remarks the diversity of different public realms in society, which appear through a process of disagreement. However, conflicts in society may create productive forces to explore and implement new models of communication and participation.
Ludwigshafen is a city rooted in its industrial history and its close ties to BASF, the world’s biggest chemical company, founded in 1865. The city’s development was shaped by large investments until the 1970s, facilitating the construction of the new Pfalzbau or the main station. However, with changing economic regulation these investments decreased significantly, resulting in a radical decline in the city’s development in the 1980s and 1990s. Changing economic and societal structures have furthermore lead to the fact that the city’s population is composed of approximately 150 different nationalities, largely characterizing the city today. These developments result in the urgency to rethink ties within the structure of the city.
The Wilhelm Hack Museum, as part of the public sphere in Ludwigshafen, seeks to experiment new models of communication in Ludwigshafen’s society through the new art project “Hack and The City – Die Stadt gehört uns!”, which will span over one and a half years in various spaces in the city. “Hack and The City – Die Stadt gehört uns!” aims to mediate public thinking and producing knowledge by using participatory methods in order to involve different communities in one common space. The city's changing social, cultural, economic systems will be the starting point for creating a performative field where art installations, performances, events can take place in response to their environment: empty shops, abandoned buildings, rooftops, parks and public squares will be venues for art works. There will be collaborative art projects with civil society organizations and other art institutions in the city. Overall the project will trigger to create a common ground for starting conversations to imagine new ways of living, acting and producing together.
About Öykü Özsoy:
M. Öykü Özsoy is an independent curator and writer based in Istanbul. Before she worked as the project director and curator of FULL Art Prize, the first contemporary art prize for artists from Turkey under 40 years old, in 2011-2012, she was working as an assistant curator and a programme coordinator at Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center (2002-2010). She worked as a part of the curatorial team at Platform Garanti for organizing more than 40 exhibitions and 100 conferences, talks and workshops at international level. She co-curated “Last Things” in Westfalischer Kunstverein, Münster, Germany; “Indefinite Destinations” in DEPO, Istanbul, Turkey and curated “Candid Stories”, INSA Art Space, Seoul, Korea; “theseventhofnovembertwothousandtwelve”, Haskoy Yarn Factory, Istanbul. Amongst other projects at Platform Garanti, she was the co-director of Istanbul Residency Program (2005-2010), the first international artist in residence program in Turkey, in where more than 120 artists were hosted to live and work in Istanbul, including the artists Phil Collins, Celine Condorelli, Bik van der Pol, Wael Shawky, Nicoline van Harskamp and many others. Özsoy initiated regional collaborations for art professionals from South-East Europe and MENA countries for Istanbul Residency Program with art institutions like Ashkal Alwan, Beirut; Townhouse Gallery, Cairo; Delfina Foundation, London; Spike Island, Bristol; Vector Association, Iasi.
Apart from working at Platform Garanti, Özsoy was one of the founding member of an independent art project space located in Istanbul called Alti Aylık (2006-2010) in where she co-curated seven exhibition, talks, video screenings. She was invited by Intercult, Stockholm to create art projects in conjunction with Black/North SEAS project in 2006-2007. In addition, she was awarded by The Danish Art Agency, Copenhagen and nosadella.due, Bologna for research residencies as a curator. She has participated various conferences as a speaker in Stockholm, Rome, Boston, Gdansk, Amsterdam.
She has contributed exhibition catalogues and art books in Turkey, Italy and Bulgaria. Her curatorial interest is involved in research based artistic practice, mainly focus on strategies for participation, transmitting information and knowledge production.