Sense of Place

 Sense of Place

 

koppThere are shards of European common culture to be found in the seemingly most unlikely places. The global village is not only an expression it is to be found. Intercultural interactions takes place just as likely in Kastamonu as in Cuba or in Porsgrunn. People have always moved, cultures have always intermingled. By focusing on our own we find the others.

By transforming the city’s architecture, gateways, streets, markets, and the in-between spaces, the city or place turns into a live performance area, interacting with the audience; the city’s inhabitants. By retelling ‘city stories’, were using the heritage, making political statements, offering dreams for the future. A change of a place stimulates a new view. An extended collaboration between art and culture and the city’s inhabitants takes place. It offers a challenge and encouragement for people to see, use, care and demand more from their every day surroundings. To make sense of place.

There are many walls in a city. Many of them are invisible. Walls that divide east/west, north/ south, first habitants and incomers, old and young, rich and poor. This can be perceived as Invisible walls between different languages, between different professions, between those employed and the unemployed. The project aims to challenge these walls.

Rooted in Grenland Friteater and our partners experience in creating large outdoor performance projects, a cross cultural art mapping shaped as a “city walk”, in order for the inhabitants to recapture and look at their own city and surroundings with new eyes emerges. A large-scale city development project is created, based on art that involves professionals, amateurs, teams and organisations, including invited national and international artists.

In the Sense of Place project all aspect of art, from storytelling, the simplest song, to high technology multimedia and installation art are applied. With art as a tool, tasks and exchange points with citizens are formed, a first meeting that creates a ripple effect.

 

First we shape our surroundings, then they shape us. (Old Chinese proverb)

 

Learning by sharing

Collaboration and knowledge are the keys to development and understanding. Cultural development is an integral part of the future development of a city.  Culture is a synthesis of many diverse influences and interests. Contributions to the cultural fabric of a city are derived from practitioners and organisations, active in many areas. Our range of cultural activity will include the following major categories:

  • Urban environment
  • Performing arts and events
  • Creative industries – arts, crafts, design, media
  • Local folklore, history, and heritage

 

The culture of a place or a city results from the unique combination of our inheritance and creativity. In other words everything that we have inherited as citizens and how we as citizens utilize, nourish and cultivate it. Promoting knowledge and awareness of the distinct cultural attributes of a city is therefore an important aspect of cultural development. Such knowledge and awareness provides the link between the city’s past, present, and its future. Significantly, public appreciation of the distinctive culture of the city enables the community to develop a sense of identity and belonging, which in turn positively influences the quality of life of both citizens and visitors and let us not forget the new citizens.

Cultural development must be driven by a number of considerations, for example:

  • Creativity and innovation.
  • Access and participation.
  • Partnership and collaboration.

 

This cross cultural city walk consists of a flexible structure divided into parts, where the level of collaboration varies according to the place we are in. The artistic proposal for each place is considered by the local organising group, and collaborated upon with the other partners. The size, shape and duration will be distinct to each location, but the overall idea of a cultural city mapping art experience is shared. The aim to create an intercultural dialogue is divided in five parts:

The dialogue between:

  • Artists and the inhabitants
  • Artists themselves
  • Inhabitants themselves
  • The reader/viewer and the documentation provided
  • The participating countries and locations

 

As long as the city recognises the importance of culture within its development plans it is taking real steps towards establishing the City as a nationally and internationally recognised City of Culture.

 

Method

  • Define a place. Research, excavate.
  • Present stories through a variety of artistic genres.
  • Present difference and similarity.
  • Create places of exchange and new meeting grounds from common but equally highly diverse points of view.
  • Share our findings in our partner’s home countries in an exchange and cooperation of work.

 

Projects so far

  • Sense of place, Porsgrunn, 2005
  • Sense of place, Porsgrunn, 2006
  • Sense of place, Porsgrunn, 2007
  • Sense of place, Porsgrunn, 2008
  • CaminArte,  Santa Clara, Cuba, 2009, with Estudio Teatral
  • Sense of place, Porsgrunn, 2009
  • Sense of place, Porsgrunn, 2010
  • Sense of place, Drammen, 2011, with Brageteatret
  • CaminArte,  Santa Clara, Cuba, 2012, with Estudio Teatral
  • Sense of place,  Sarpsborg, 2013
  • Sense of place,  Ålesund, 2013
  • PS14, Grenland, 2014, with Teater Ibsen
  • Sense of place,  Sarpsborg, 2014

See photos here