In Collaboration w/ Oslo Academy for the Arts
Transformer is a development project for reclaim of urban scars and leftover sites in Oslo. The urban growth in Oslo has for many decades been governed by real estate developers, whose final goal is seemingly little else than investment revenues. With rising prices for real estate in central Oslo, this has led to an ever more aggressive approach to development of avail- able building sites and existing building-mass. Over the years we are seeing more and more scars in the urban fabric; derelict sites where buildings used to stand due to the rising level of conflict between developers and the public planning authorities. The consequences are obvious.
- The aesthetic deterioration is an issue which arises when beautiful old buildings are replaced by cars and parking spaces.?- Loss of city functions and the consequent disfunctionality is another grave side effect. Urban dwellings are important for the human bio-diversity in a city and commercial space on street level is generating life, human interactions and safety.?- Social degeneration is one of the most serious consequences of this situation. The cities have throughout our history been our meeting places, where everything from informal gatherings to political riots take place and shape our cultural and democratic development.
The Transformer project aims to reverse these negative processes by educating and raising awareness of the ongoing situations, and implement a process where some of these sites can be liberated for public use. This process will take place on three levels: a) identifying urban scars and leftover sites by engaging in a dialogue with real estate owners, b) free the sites for temporary public use by establishing a dialogue between land owners and art producers and c) building arenas where children can experience art in public space.
Our target group is children and teenagers, the next generation of city dwellers. This group of individuals is equipped with a strong interest in social interaction and curiosity towards art and cultural activities. This is very?often neglected by art institutions which offer most of their resources to the educated art lover, resulting in a boundary between generations and social strata. Transformer wants to break this artificial boundary and cater art to everyone.
In September 2012, the first test arena was designed and built in a collaboration with the Oslo Academy of Fine Arts, and tried out as an arena for performing arts. The outcome was very positive for all of the involved and defined a new direction for the Transformer project towards site specific interventions in a close collaboration with the performing artists.
Next step in the Transformer process will be taken during the spring and autumn of 2013 with two new arenas. Both of them will be developed?site specifically in a collaboration with composers, musicians and a theater group, and students from the Oslo School of Architecture, Norwegian Theatre Academy, the Oslo Academy for the Arts and Politecnico di Milano.
This exercise in urban revitalization doesn’t seem to stop there. In 2014 the Transformer method will according to the plan, be tested out in Glasgow and in Cape Town where similar disruption in the urban development has been taking place.