The Urban Hall

The Urban Hall is a double project. It includes the architecture for a square of Athens in Plateia Theatrou and also the architecture of an immaterial platform that includes or determines a series of predefined actions that alternate in this same urban spot. Architecture in this project may thus be, from the first point of view, the institution of an empty place. From the second point of view the most important architectonic move would shape the frame that would allow the performance of some urban acts. A system of changing functions would characterize this space and the most interesting political question will then be: how this idiosyncratic urban curating could be realized. The design only makes easier a possible stay in the area through the grid surface of the roof and a fan field that covers the lightly shadowed square. This particular urban instrument, proposing predefined situations, is the name of a question: the question about the common in this particular "always before bankruptcy" post network era.
A first possible situation that is related to the condition of the area today and particularly the condition of the drug addicts would have to do with some alternative projects of hospitality, with alternative centers for drug addicts. This proposal could include different perspectives over the use of drugs or even expand a health care strategy creating for example an open city hospital. Such a decision would have to oscillate between a realistic interpretation of a problem and an understanding of art today: in this particular example one could think about a call to artists to act in the frame of this problem. A curatorial strategy would possibly include the installation of related artistic works from artists who would possibly reinterpret some of their work in a city level such as George Hadjimichalis or elaborate tactics that would perform other type of art works through different art practices, asking from artists to pose small scale social agendas and treat the city conditions as the necessary frame for possible art pieces. A system of small urban interventions can be introduced in the city as a concession of public space for such subtile work. The question about the curator of such a mechanism is the most important one in this proposal. Nevertheless the staging of the platform is elaborated here as a call to recognize a part of the city as an instrument that could perform different functions. The definition of an empty space would not give to the city an extension of its normal urban fields but would create a condition of an Urban interior in order to provoke predetermined, theatrically conceived events. Neighboring areas that can soon be included in this zone of prepared actions, using performativity in order to work towards the clarification of a political agenda in a practical manner.
urban hall
In her post about the project Ethel Baraona Pohl insists on the idea of creative activism that can be the core of the Urban Hall's management. She refers to the book Did Someone say Participate? co-edited by Markus Miessen and Shumon Basar. "Markus Miessen pointed in the book [ ... ] that in a time when city centers become increasingly polarised and drawn towards seclusion, the communication between people and states in particular needs to be revitalized, since one of the positive side-effects of globalisation is the realisation that today’s most pressing problems seem to exist regardless of place and location. This point is closely related with one of the conditions that can validate this project today as a particular function of a different era". It is important to be conscious about the common character of the global problems. On another level Athens poses its own platform of proposing its problems. And it may be interesting to make a representation of Athens as a violent meeting place of two different mechanisms: the first one could be the anarchic, vivid, unrepresented, always changing system of immigrants that inhabit a part of the empty city center; the second mechanism would be the legal frame that define an individual in the EU, unable to manage this massive wave of immigration, at least in the center of modern Athens. Athens is this idiosyncratic function of a city where an unpredictable meeting of an unrepresented population of immigrants and the frame of the European citizenship is performed. The Urban Hall is not a building but an Urban Instrument that could organize new city functions.


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