Event Tip: CURRENT – Art and Urban Space

CURRENT - KUNST UND URBANER RAUM is a transdisciplinary festival that explores the connections between art, architecture and urban development processes together with artists, partners and experts from different fields of experience and knowledge to take place in Stuttgart this September with projects in public spaces and a symposium.

Laura Bernhardt is the artistic director of the festival and the curator of our 2019 re:publica event "OPEN – Museums in Digital Transformation" for "Lange Nacht der Ideen". We talked to her about her new project and the highlights of the programme you shouldn't miss.

Three questions for... Laura Bernhardt

  1. What exactly is the CURRENT Festival and where did the idea for it come from? 

CURRENT – Art and Urban Space is a festival of the arts that operate specifically in urban spaces to address architecture and urban design. The festival consists of projects in public spaces, a symposium, a printed magazine and numerous cooperations with local initiatives and institutions.

The idea has a complex background, but I will try to explain it in a nutshell: The starting point is the "Kunst am Bau" programme, in which 1-2% of the construction sum of public buildings is invested in art. At the federal level this is obligatory, at the state and local levels it can be decided independently. The city of Stuttgart discontinued its programme for art in buildings about thirty years ago. At the same time, the nineties in Stuttgart marked the beginning of an extensive urban transformation with major building projects in which the public sector was also involved. One can therefore say that potentially large budgets for art have been lost or are no longer available. 
"Kunst am Bau" is a way of promoting art and artists. The festival wants to offer an opportunity to reflect on the role of art in the context of urban planning processes and architecture. Our aim is not to reintroduce something that already existed in Stuttgart, but to develop concepts for an up-to-date concept of art. We should recognise art as a resonance space for aesthetic engagement with urban planning processes and as a potential to enable critical observation, assistance and perhaps also visions. 
​​CURRENT refers to the present, the current, but also the flow in its sense of an urban space that is constantly in motion.

  1. What are the festival highlights we can look forward to?

Around 90 events will take place as part of the festival. From workshops for all ages, to multi-hour excursions, night walks, research projects, performances, film screenings and installation works, as well as artist talks and a symposium on 16 and 17 September, there is much to discover and the opportunity to participate. The curatorial team has invited nine artists and artist groups to develop site-specific projects, which we call an exhibition in public space. Works by Alona Rodeh, Begleitbüro SOUP, Constructlab, Gwendoline Robin, Haseeb Ahmed, HONF (House of Natural Fiber), Julien Fargetton & Benjamin Frick, Sylvia Winkler & Stephan Köperl and Valentina Karga will be shown. At the opening on 9 September, we will start with a tour of Valentina Karga's work. All of the participating artists will be present and our magazine will be launched. There will also be an extensive and varied partner programme. The symposium "Art and urban space – in asembly" on 16 September promises to be particularly exciting.

  1. How and when can one participate?

The programme is available online. Two workshops, a rammed earth workshop with Valentina Karga and the workshop with Gwendoline Robine, "FIRE!", already start on 5 and 6 September. In fact, the festival starts on 9 and runs until 19 September. The events are free to attend, but for events with limited participation or where the 3G rule applies, you have to register in advance via the website. You will find all further information there!

All information about CURRENT is available at: www.current-stuttgart.de as well as on Instagram and Facebook.