_photo by: Gabriel Kuchta, André Goliš, Vladimír Šimíček

18. - 21. SEPTEMBER 2012
Freedom square, Bratislava

Happening Realization:
09/18/2012, 9am - 6pm
09/19 and 09/20 sandpit at the square Námestie slobody - also a free public access
Project author: Paweł Althamer
Organizer: Civil association o.z. Verejný podstavec
Project co-organizer: Polish Institute in Bratislava

Verejný podstavec would like to invite you to take part at Námestie slobody (literally "Freedom square") happening.

Distinguishd Polish artist, Paweł Althamer (1967) undertook a task to disenchant ideologically burdened space of the square Námestie slobody in Bratislava through pure children energy.

He decided to create a spacious sandpit out of non-functioning fountain Družba. The purpose of this project is an encounter and communication link among school and pre-school kids via playing with sand, drawing and a collective reading of the book Little King Martin I. by Janusz Korczak.

The reunion should be a celebration of children and adults and should evoke relaxed atmosphere of a freedom at the square. Althamer's vision inspired by the book Little King Martin I., is that adults become "servants" of children.

Paweł Althamer event brings new dimension of art in the public space to Bratislava and at the same time draws passers-by to participate to play with kids. It also creates an opportunity to meet artists who are involved in the sandpit happening and to know them better.

The project Námestie slobody is the first one that the civil association Verejný podstavec is organizing within a wider-ranging project "Dočasná autonómna zóna umenia" (Provisional autonomous art zone) - "BOD 0" (ZERO POINT). Other concepts of "BOD 0" project have been introduced to the public a year ago within an individual exhibition in Krokus gallery.

One of the latest participatory projects of Paweł Althamer, in which children took part, is the Draftsmanship Congress that author set up for the 7th Berlin Biennale 2012. In this case a drawing was the medium of communication. Drawing represents not only a possible method of communication among generations but also between different rungs of the social scale.

Paweł Althamer about the project:

"I would like Námestie slobody to get a new strength, a new energy not only to run in a stereotype. We will invite preschoolers and primary school first graders who react spontaneously to a new location. I visualized a large playground and many children playing at the square Námestie slobody. Kids would dominate the space and express how they imagine space organization. They might need help because they are already living in a system that was created by adults. I thought that we could help them a little with construction arrangements - building a sandpit at the non-functional fountain.

Sandpit is the place where relations among kids are born. At first I saw it as one-day happening but I think that this could be repeated in a weekly manner or to be preserved as a kind of a special festival. I would like the unique story of the book by Janusz Korczak, Little King Martin I. to continue in a in a revolutionary way. And only kings and cheap cialis online queens would analogically meet at the square Namestie slobody in Bratislava."

video link: see below on this page

Paweł Althamer (*1967, PL) is a Polish artist living in Warsaw, actively involved in international art scene. The most important parts of his work are action, happening, sculpture, installations and plastic art. He creates happenings and other situations where viewers find themselves in the middle of new/altered reality/art.

Althamer holds the prestigious The Vincent Award 2004 awarded every two years to artists - visionary thinkers whose work has significant and lasting influence on contemporary art.

He is also an organizer of the Warsaw art workshops which have been formed into an artistic group Nowolipie. In this group, he has the role of a therapist for patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. He exhibited at prestigious international art shows as Documenta X, Kassel, 1997 Manifesta 3, Ľubľana, 2000 50. Benátske bienále, 2003 9. Istanbul biennale, 2005 Skulptur Projekte 07, Műnster, 2007 and at important art institutions such as Centre Pompidou Paríž, Tate Modern, London, Ludwig Museum Cologne, Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin.


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AUTHORS: Paweł Althamer, Szabolcs KissPál, Krištof Kintera, Ilona Németh
PLACE: Freedom square, Bratislava
METHOD: Project, public discussion, execution
GOAL: Create an autonomous art zone on Freedom square
_Freedom square is one of the last authentic spaces in the centre of Bratislava proposed in socialism era.
It stands out with its formal workmanship corresponding with time of its creation/design in 1970s and placing in 1979–80. Its current neglected state and out-of-order monumental fountain refl ect our inability to face our history of the socialism era. We fi nd it valuable and noteworthy that the square has kept its appearance and has been preserved in its original state up to date. Should we change it? Unclear vision and non-existing public discussion about ways of handling these "leftovers" of socialism are only confi rmed by the eff orts to relocate Bratislava memorial of Ľudovít Štúr to the square, or by realization of November 17, 1989 memorial. Point 0 brings to the square four temporary projects, which pro-actively react to its historical layers. Temporariness, impermanence, openness are terms by whitch we create a space, where on the background of socialist environment we are able to think about ourselves diff erently.

_ When we had met and you suggested I should do an art project for Freedom Square, a few ideas have immediately hit me. Before evaluating it rationall y, I have started to speak about feelings this place and space arouses in me. And the fi rst idea was to focus on celebration of the end of the world, the end of cilization, awaited by many, to try and defi ne what it actuall y will be and how it will turn out. In the beginning the form I had in mind was more passive – the square crowded with people immersed in their everydayness and rhythm of behaviour. They move in various directions, stroll , walk a dog, wait, spend their free time. I had this idea of end-of-the-world manifestation for some time. But the yesterday's, or rather this night brought about a change of mind. It has certainly something to do with your visit. A child theme came up. At night a child had awoken me and asked for a hankie. After that I couldn't fall sleep and I thought about our meeting. It didn't leave hold of me, that my plan – a passive participation on the nearing end of the world – is insuffi cient. I have mused about something more powerful. I would like to install a new force into the square, new energy, not the well -worn rhythm. Then I have recall ed the experience with children. We shall invite children from pre-school age and from the fi rst years of elementary school, who would react to the new place spontaneously. I imagined a big playground, multitude of children playing on the Freedom Square. They would reign the space and express their own ideas of its organization. They will need help, since they already move in the system created for them by adults. I think we should help them by a constructive adjusting by building a sandbox in the place of non-functional fountain. Sandbox is a place where there are personal relations created by children from the very beginning; in later life by representatives of various professions. I imagined a oneday event, but it could be repeated weekly, or preserved as a special holiday. I would like it to be a part of a project I am
preparing here in Warsaw. To hand over management of art museum and centre of contemporary art to children. To foll ow, in a radical way, the extraordinary story of Janusz Korczak's book King Mathias I. On the Freedom Square in Bratislava would thus analogicall y meet only kings and queens. And courtiers would be the adults. We would also like the turn-out of children to be signifi cant on the Berlin Biennale. That is why me and Artur Żmijewsky summon a so call ed Drawing Congress, where there will drawing serve as a medium, drawing as a new method of coming to an understanding among all generations, but also, say, among various rungs of society ladder. In one common space. In the case of Berlin it will be the Schinkel Church, in Warsow the Ujazdowski Castle and in Bratislava the Freedom Square.

_ The intervention consists of a large semispheric hole dug in the ground on the location of Point 0. It is entitled Coronation Vall ey as both its shape and its implementation inverts the logic of the former coronation hill s: instead of a form emerging from the surface a cavity is created while the piling up of the soil samples brought from the diff erent countries is replaced with the distribution of the extracted soil. On the Freedom square only the hole can be seen with the short description of the project while the soil itself is being sent to the local museums of the seventy former countries of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. In spite of the temporary character of the Point 0 project in general the Coronation Vall ey achieves permanency of the termination of the project by the presence of the soil samples in seventy institutions.

Immediately by its name the Freedom square inspires creation of a platform for independent events and art expressions. In my opinion it is a case of ideal, broadminded platform for regular programming of events of richest variety. By that I mean, of course, events of quality, vigorous preparation and worthy message, not some vulgar merrymakings and holl ow commercial atrocities, which are bursting with almost no restraint anywhere else. This place is a great opportunity for Bratislava. For the Freedom square I have prepared a project based on sound intervention into real environment of the square. The sound and its magical embodiment in music are powerful carriers of emotions. The project asserts strategy of public acoustic sculpture: 1€ PUBLIC JUKE BOX placed on pedestal, which can be operated freely; anybody can pick a track from the available music. I want the viewer to be confronted with an option and choice to resound the square with music (sound). The track list of Juke Box will oscill ate between contextuall y geopolitical menu (J. Strauss – Radetzky Marsh, Klezmer, Václav Havel speech, Muezzin, etc.), absurdly dada selection (dogs barking, windy storm, singing whales) and emotional thread (Beethoven's piano sonata No. 8, opus 13 in C minor, Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen, indian shamanic songs etc.).

_While thinking about project for Freedom Square I was aware how overburdened with various layers of both past and present it is. Bohunka Koklesová wrote about the history of this place: "The square became a place, where the politics turned itself into rituals and falsely declared a vision of better tomorrows." With the political statements came along various props attuned to the visuality of its moment in history. I decided for a diff erent approach: I would like to comment on the context of the square with an ephemeral present. I pondered over a few options – events, happenings and phenomena. I considered a use of various smoke shell s and fl ares as well as an idea to fi ll it completely with fog – a complete historical, social and visual resetting of the square. Finall y, I chose a natural phenomenon, which establishes new environement for reconstruction through a process of destruction. My project consists of creating a tornadolike "object", which would regularly turn up in the square and present a changing object as well as event-performance. By its temporary presence it wouldn't burden the square and would conveniently take up the tradition of shows and events of both political and sociall y-entertaining nature,which had taken place here.

TV.SME_Hore bez -
RTVS_Zrkadlenie_25th minute - interview about POINT 0 -


Project is supported by: