ACUM (NOW) – Art, Urban Communities, Mobilization – Social reintegration of the architectural and artistic project

The project ART, URBAN COMMUNITIES, MOBILIZATION is defined as an oriented research aimed at unifying, ina theoretical and applied interdisciplinary frame, knowledge concerning the relationship between architecture / urbanplanning, art and community in public space. The project joins the (physical and discursive) field of contemporary publicspace, vast and hard to define, which is today the testing ground of critical theory in relation to philosophy, geography, visualarts, cultural and sociological studies and urban design. The specific area of research is at the intersection of building /organizing public space, architecture / urban planning, art in general (particularly social art and public forum art) and the waythey are experienced by urban communities. Within this zone, complex planning processes convene multiple skills andinterests – from the political and financial to the artistic and social ones – and produce different effects upon those whoexperiment them. Thus outlined, the project involved a particular methodological reflection, able to appropriate the research methods tothe complexity and fluidity of the domain and to the rich fabric of relationships between its components. Among the manyapproach directions, the research group forming the ACUM consortium chose three major lines of work, all equally fertile andlegitimate from the research point of view: (1) the theoretical, analytical and interpretative method, which seeks to discloseand “geometrize” the potential of the vast field of relationships sheltered by the public space; (2) the “mirror” method, inwhich space becomes a background, a “stage set” for the developing of these relationships, a “screen” onto which visual artsof most various kinds are projected, and (3) the actionist method, in which various types of applications and provoked eventsbring to light and enhance the space of these relationships. The three methods correspond to a particular type of research,the “oriented research”, situated between theoretical thinking ? in which knowledge is what counts first and is important initself – and the informed action ? in which usefulness and practical issues, “le practicable”, come first. Inevitably, within the common field of study, working in consortium faced us with common general purposes, butalso with specialized areas of interest with particularized targets, which imply partial, possibly divergent approaches. To keepthem together in a converging whole, in which multidisciplinarity should tend towards interdisciplinarity, was part of the stakesof this project, which has constantly been the subject of reflection and various decisions within the consortium. This aspectwas eventually reflected both in the in situ actions, and in rethinking the formats of the main products of the synthesis, thevolumes ACUM 1, 2 and 3 (A and B), and Bucharest ? Film Location, which, although closely complementary, retain theirspecific addressing directions. All of them bear inside and rely on cross-references (both between them and to the previouspublications – the common reader, the specific readers and the rich filmed, photographic and graphic material). The project also aims to draw attention to the role that alternative approaches can play in understanding andevaluating organized space; they are presented as a possible means of passing from theory to practice, maybe also frompast to future, a minimal means that is sensitive to specific facts.

The Consortium emerged from the fusion of two closely complementary interdisciplinary projects (ACUM – UAUIM,UNA, USAMV, ATU and Bucharest ? Film Location – UNATC, UAUIM, UNA), which initially intended to develop separately. D.I.T.A.C.P. / D.H.T.A.H.C.CERCETARE 2008 / RESEARCH 2008 67Their union has further expanded the field of reflection and, moreover, has imposed important methodological adjustmentsthat might be able to integrate organically all the disciplinary perspectives involved in the project, and also to allow specificresearch to run independently. Thus, Bucharest has got greater weight, and the research infrastructure refocused as follows:on the one hand, towards critically exploring public space in Bucharest by applying the resulting conceptual tools and theinterdisciplinary criteria of action-research (analysis at different urban scales and linking in situ observations to the analysis ofthe complex and stratified structure of the city); on the other hand, towards the widening of the documentation basis and ofresearch proper with new forms of reading the city, with new purposes and ways of diffusing, by using the experience of filmpeople in conjunction with the alternative experiences of investigating public space in urbanism, architecture and other arts. The project theme was a real challenge and a stimulus for all participants in the Consortium (71, without students,out of which 19 members of the department or collaborators of the department), generating scientific activities and variousevents, and creating interdisciplinary thematic segments. All these have contributed to individual professional developmentand consolidation of teamwork, with direct and indirect, short term and long-term effects on the academic process and thecontinuous formation of trainers in the educational and cultural field. Integrating research and education represented a particular feature of the project that was designed and monitoredon several levels:(a) many doctoral and master candidates were co-opted in the research teams; by means of the project they could work ontheir personal scientific themes (and sometimes finalize them), conducted a sustained editorial activity and were active in thepublic space;(b) all research products are available to students for recommended courses or extracurricular projects;(c) partial research topics have already been included in the courses (UAUIM, UNATC, UNA, USAMV), thus enriching thecontent of teaching, but also constituting complementary places for various extracurricular applications, as well as forextending the students? cultural horizons and familiarizing them with experiment. This interactive process has alsocontributed to research by specific actions (which appear in publications) and reshaped the traditional forms of transmittingknowledge.
  • Title Original : Arta, comunitati urbane, mobilizare (ACUM) - Reinsertia sociala a proiectului artistic si arhitectural
  • Website : http://
  • Project start : 2006
  • Project end : 2008
  • Funding Agency : CNCSIS
  • Project Partners : Universitatea de Arhitectura si Urbanism "Ion Mincu", Bucuresti; Universitatea Nationala de Arta Teatrala si Cinematografica "I.L. Caragiale", Bucuresti; Universitatea Nationala de Arte, Bucuresti; Asociatia pentru Tranzitie Urbana, Bucuresti; Universitatea de Stiinte Agronomice si Medicina Veterinara, Bucuresti
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