Evento: Art for an urban (re)volution

A diffuse biennial that offers new measures of the city through the dimension of urban rendezvous.

Evento: l'art pour une ré-evolution urbaine is a public-art biennial held in Bordeaux from 6 to 16 October under the artistic direction of Michelangelo Pistoletto. Held for the second time but already with an unpredicted impact, the biennial is part of the design and initiatives of Bordeaux Millionaire, a (partly political) project of initiatives to turn the city of Bordeaux into a metropolitan system along the lines of similar European "millionaire" metropolises such as Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Valencia and Liverpool.

Evento inhabits the city in the dimension of rendezvous. Spectacles and artistic events (performances, concerts and installations) occur around the city at different times of the day, in an urban-acupuncture process that, although extremely fragile and fleeting, mixes with city events and daily life, prompting new interpretation of spaces and fresh meanings for places. Evento appointments are dotted around the streets of Bordeaux, making the event itself a mesh of appearances, more often stumbled across or sought out than visited. Evento mixes constantly with the urban noise so you might watch a police demonstration and then the mobile worksite in rue Camille Sauvage or sometimes blend in with the public meetings among the stalls of a local market.
The project <i>La maison sur l'eau</i> by the collective Ici est Ailleurs is the proposed solution to urban growth through the creation of a neighborhood of floating farms. Above: in background, the New Orleans home of Marjetica Potrc. In the foreground, Laurent Mareschal, <i>Beit-My Home,</i> 2011, floor tiles made of a variety of spices (turmeric, ginger, zahtar, sumac, and white pepper).
The project La maison sur l'eau by the collective Ici est Ailleurs is the proposed solution to urban growth through the creation of a neighborhood of floating farms. Above: in background, the New Orleans home of Marjetica Potrc. In the foreground, Laurent Mareschal, Beit-My Home, 2011, floor tiles made of a variety of spices (turmeric, ginger, zahtar, sumac, and white pepper).
This is why Evento is not just a collection and curation of happenings but an occupation of the city's days and places, revolutionising them with art. "Artistic and urban rendezvous" are set up at strategic points around the city centre to create places of shared knowledge. The time dimension of the fixture or the temporary installation of artistic activities brings a new spatial dimension to the re-evolution of urban places announced in its aims.

The key to the art/public (space)/city encounter lies in the clear distinction between art and social relations within their respective spheres but you feel something is lost in the dialogue between Evento and Bordeaux when interventions on the urban dimension, experienced as social and participatory, are a little too strained or affected and when the art overly compromises itself in the relationship with these city essences.
Installation in a former abattoir.
Installation in a former abattoir.
Participating, among others, in Evento with two different approaches to the city are the Bordeaux school of fine arts and Claudia Castellucci's Ecole du Rythme. The school of fine arts decided to "inhabit" rue Camille Sauvage with a programme of productions, actions, urban systems and events. Four retail spaces were turned into new locations and businesses: n° 23 became the Publication Studio bookshop-printers; n° 47 a video projection space; n° 73 a travel agency on demand and n° 59 an organisation and exchange headquarters. The temporary occupation of the space established new dynamics and new opportunities for public space and encounters. Small retail and production businesses became major points of reference and, partly thanks to their inevitably temporary dimension, became performance and artistic spaces. Publication Studio, at n° 23, presented a selection of books, writings, drawings and posters that could be reprinted and bound for sale on demand. The printing business aimed not only to produce single copies of books but also to create an audience with which to start building a space for conversation and sharing.
Evento mixes constantly with the urban noise so you might watch a police demonstration and then the mobile worksite in rue Camille Sauvage or sometimes blend in with the public meetings among the stalls of a local market.
<i>Evento, l'art pour une ré-evolution urbaine</i> is the public art biennial that took place October 6 to 16 in Bordeaux under the artistic direction of Michelangelo Pistoletto.
Evento, l'art pour une ré-evolution urbaine is the public art biennial that took place October 6 to 16 in Bordeaux under the artistic direction of Michelangelo Pistoletto.
A totally different approach to the city and the public-art dimension was introduced by Claudia Castellucci's Ecole du Rythme which saw the temporary and rhythmic dimension as a way to become part of the fabric of Bordeaux via the school's daily practice, urban celebrations and its final dance "Coming out of the Cavern". The school comprises twelve fine arts' students and meets for art and to study time and rhythm as a new form of inhabiting space.
"Artistic and urban rendezvous" are set up at strategic points around the city centre to create places of shared knowledge.
"Artistic and urban rendezvous" are set up at strategic points around the city centre to create places of shared knowledge.
The urban celebrations, in a calendar drawn up by the school, are moments when the students warily leave the theatre and appear in strategic city spaces (Istitut Bergonié; Gare Saint Jean; Bibliothèque St. Michel; Centre d'Animation du Grand Parc; Musée des Beux-Arts; Musée d'Aquitaine; Biblothèque Mériadeck, Salon du Gran Théatre). This enables Bordeaux to become familiar with the school's presence and they are hugely rhythmic moments in which they form a bond with the city and its places. They are forays into public space, initiatives in libraries and museums that heighten awareness and the sense of coming together and inhabiting city spaces. The introduction of a new rhythm suspends the amnesia linked to everyday places where even the simple action of reading in the library, surrounded by a crowd doing the same thing but with a different degree of awareness, is a huge expression of power.

These urban celebrations consist in creating space and giving time via everyday actions, shared silences, rhythms and the design of nature; they reawaken the city's understanding of time, sense of duration and defence of the meaning of space.
Sara Angelini

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