About the project
In the last decade Tbilisi, the Capital of Georgia has become a field for implementing radical free-market policies resulting in tremendous socio‐spatial transformations. Despite the fact that these transformations are often destructively affecting the powerless citizens and the city society as a whole, so far there has not been much resistance against often violent interventions. The inability of the affected people to counter such processes originates, to the great extent, from the Soviet time nihilism and irony towards anything related to responsible citizenship, self-organization and activism that was at the time a popular reaction to the official Soviet ideology. In the Post Soviet reality, such massive skepticism has even been reinforced due to the continuous shocks, failures, and disappointments driving the society far away from reflecting the real processes and possibilities behind the everyday problems.
The interest of our collective is to contribute to the advancement of critical thinking in architecture, planning as well as in general life, and more importantly to find the ways of reflecting critical theory in our practical work. In contrast to the established positions in architecture and planning as autonomous fields, we perceive these disciplines as a broader form of activity going beyond the conventional purpose of physical creation and having the potential of initiating alternative political, economic and social processes. For this reason, as our first “architectural” project, we have established a library. Through translations, discussions and various events the library will communicate the ideas that we think are able to shift the current situation towards the positive side. The project that we are proposing in the present application for Visible Award gives us the chance to transform our theoretical work into practical action.
The present-day “socially engaged architecture” has largely adopted the role of humanitarian aid to the disempowered communities. In contrast to this, we propose to adopt a more radical stance and use architecture as a tool for resistance and protest against particular socio‐spatial, economic and political realities. Our idea is to realize provocative architectural interventions throughout the urban space. By the term provocative, we consider something that drives the attention of the public to particular problems, provokes imagination and creates awareness on the possibilities of different future.
Ultimately, the interventions will address concrete issues of socio‐spatial, economic and political significance by the time of their realization. Along with the primary objectives to draw public attention on the problems and trigger the process of searching the alternative solutions, one of the objectives is to demonstrate that activism and collective action is not a Soviet rudiment but a crucial feature of the democratic society and that nihilism and passive observation never brings a better future. A common feature of these interventions will be literally overnight changes in urban space. The forms designed as an intervention will bear concrete functions in order to interact with the public. The functions will be selected according to the specific issues under consideration. Similar to the physical form of intervention they will also be of a provocative nature. The functions will be defined according to their ability to introduce to the public the potential of alternative ways of solving particular problems. The creation of public unions, decision-making bodies, and other activity provoking functions will be prioritized (The outcome of the functional activity of the interventions will be documented and published after the end of the project). While the interventions will be temporary creations, the effect and ideas they will communicate are expected to leave a longer mark in the minds of the spectators and actors.
About the artist
Established in 2007 Urban Reactor has developed more intensively from 2009 when its founding members reassembled in Georgia after the two years absence from the country.