Just City – the installation for COMPACT CITY
In a compact city you can never start from scratch, but every planning or policy making is contextualist.
Same was the condition we found in the gallery space, where three installations were already set in space.
We scanned the existing setup for qualities of just space or of conflictual space, and we discussed the
level of conflict at which we needed to engage with neighbours of the gallery, with the fixed installations of
the colleague exhibitors, with visitor crowds or with additional temporary use of the space.
After a process of „collective curating“ and „hands-on“ interaction within the found set up visitors to the
4th opening of the exhibition COMPACT CITY
found six new interventions based on the workshop „Just City“.
Intervention 1: Opening the end of dead-end streets
Zásah 1: Otevrení slepých ulic
The first intervention was to cut openings in walls, which cut off a path in the gallery and created a dead end.
The newly cut doors changed „blind streets“ into spaces to ”see further“, to be able to walk in more than one
Intervention 2: Cutting holes into the walls of the black box
Zásah 2: Vyrezání der do sten cerné krabice
Secondly, the visitors found holes in the wall where before our cutting and slicing no communication or inter-
action was possible. These holes were windows or pathways of different size and height: for adults, children,
for the seated audiences as well as for animals as small as a mouse.
However, valueing the quality of a wall, we had no intention to to completely remove the walls, on the contrary:
it was important for us to leave them, together with what they establish: the notion of inside and outside,
of enclosure, of the understanding of separation, but not segregation.
Intervention 3: Opening up of existing door between the gallery and the pub
Zásah 3: Otevrení dverí mezi galerií a restaurací
In the rearmost wall of the gallery we found a sealed off entrance (or exit?). This blind door turned out to be
the former entrance to the gallery, now leading directly into the dining area of the neighbouring pub.
We decided to repeat, what was tried before, at the very first opening of the gallery, and then failed. However,
we set up an opposite constellation: With opening the door we provided space of the gallery for one dining
table of the restaurant within the exhibition. The design of this intervention was about allowing an unpredict-
able interaction but also about the possibility to resort to professional beer supply when needed.
Intervention 4: Providing an interaction kit to bring activity into the abstract city plan
Zásah 4: Poskytnutí nástroju k aktivizaci abstraktního mestského plánu
Another architect had set up a large abstract map of Budapest on the floor of the gallery, covered with plastic
as if it´s whiteness and emptiness needed to be sealed. Our intervention provided colourful pillows to sit com-
fortably on the plan and drawing sets consisting of colours and stickers prepared to draw and paste on top of
the plans empty fields colourful icons of city activities which are usually forbidden or not accepted.
Intervention 5: Postcards
Zásah 5: Pohlednice
A series of postcards announced the way out of the gallery to places in Brno, which had been destinations of
the workshop’s excursions. The postcards could be understood as monuments to public space in Brno.
Intervention 6: Dance the Dense City!
As the most temporary of the installations there was the „Dance City party“: Since there is not much experience
with dancing on the streets of the city of Brno yet, Dance City started out with dancing on the „Dense Floor“
in the gallery to „just City“: to a selection of songs/tracks, all of them in their titles containing the word
„City“, compiled, commented and celebrated by Drehli Robnik.
Workshop with Gabu Heindl: April 4th – April 9th, 2011
4 excursions, 6 interventions, 2 lectures, 1 party
Workshop participants: Ondra Bartušek, Sona Borodácová, Roman Cerbák, Filip Dedic, Petra Hlavácková, Petr Jakšík,
David Jiménez, Zdenek Severa, Šárka Svobodová, Katarína Tulaková
Link zu / link to 4AM Fórum pro architekturu a média
Just City – the workshop
Minutes of excursion 1: BRNO TRAIN STATION
Minutes of excursion 2: MENDLAK NAMESTI
Minutes of excursion 3: VINOHRADY / LISEN
Minutes of excursion 4: CEJL
Within a compact city a lot of space needs to be shared – a condition which by definition is predestined to conflict,
as is any social space. Such a notion of shared urbanity starts out from an understanding of city space as distributed
in ways that are unstable, dynamic and conflictual; the logics of the sharing are always open to question and to change.
Based on such a notion of democratic spatial politics, the workshop on the ”Just City“ aimed at mapping and visiting
conflictual spaces in Brno. The double meaning of ”just“ in the workshop title is consciously chosen: When or where is
the Compact City ”just“, meaning ”fair“? Or: what if a compact city is ”just“ another city, which could be fair or unfair
at any moment? The question at stake here is specifically what role is played by space in the spatial, architectonic
quality of the urban.
In order to understand some of the public space of Brno we, a group of approximately ten people from different disciplines,
walked for one week through some areas of the city asking ourselves the question what a just city is. Our answers are
manyfold, inconsistent, conflicting; they are a matter of a discussion which we started and which hopefully will continue
beyond this one week workshop:
A just city
...is not segregated...needs rules and regulations...is based on the possibility for citizen participation
...is a city of commons...has a lot of undefined space ...supports bicycle transport (and does not prefer the autombile lobby)
...is a playful city...is an appealing city...is a place where the government cares about public space
...is where inhabitants and visitors care and use public space...has a parterre zone for public functions which provides urban life
...is a city where nobody is excluded...allows begging...provides decent housing for everybody...
content: (c) GABU Heindl Architektur 2011