The Pontoon Project / Skissuppdrag / initial concept for public art project Nya Slussen, Stockholm (SWE)
Concept for a different role for durational participatory visual art in relation to mega scale urban re-organisation projects, using a commission from Stockholm Konst (SWE) regarding Nya Slussen in Stockholm city centre, as a case. Elaborated by Kerstin Bergendal, in collaboration with Andrea Philips (UK), SLA Stig L Andersson (DK) and Johanna Adebäck (SWE).
Stockholm Konst / Päivi Ernqvist, Konstnärsnämnden (concerning Johanna Adebäck), Valand Academy, Gothenburg University
Description of project
What different role could contemporary art take on, when a public 1% commission concerns a major new urban traffic junction, already planned in detail and aimed to entirely replace a very, very old and highly loved commons in the very centre of an old city? The PONTOON PROJECT is a concept for a different role for durational participatory visual art in relation to mega scale urban re-organisation projects. It Nya Slussen in Stockholm city centre, as a case, and was elaborated as a response to a commission in 2016 to the artist Kerstin Bergendal by Stockholm Konst. The proposal reflects upon how durational visual art would enter into a gigantic planned re-development of the old Lock area in Stockholm City centre, called Nya Slussen. For the new lock to be realised, all prior constructions and historical sites have to be demolished. It is constructed as a major infrastructural hub, but in addition will narrow the open watersurface in front of Slussen, adding modern urban developments. Kerstin Bergendal chose to invite three dialogue partners to an act of reflection; then PARSE Professor of Art at the Valand Academy, at the University of Gothenburg, Andrea Philips (UK), landscape architect, founder and Creative Director of Copenhagen-based SLA Stig L Andersson (DK) and visual artist Johanna Adebäck (SWE). Bergendal & co, takes their point of departure in the dilemma such a reorganisation creates for the municipality; The more completed the new lock will be, the deeper the sense of loss, citizens will experience. As a "newly planted urban space", Nya Slussen will thus stand alone, obligated to motivate itself as the right choice – and this after a violent contestation from the public against the total demolition of the historical traces. Bergendal, Philips, Andersson and Adebäck, asks Stockholm Konst if it really is self-evident and meaningful, in this context, only to ask visual art to perform the task of mere decorating of the new infrastructure? Instead they call for Stockholm Konst to consider a different possibility, already inherent the choice of design of the new lock. Certain parts of former locks resurface in the new design. Visual art could be asked to organize a similar re-cycling, but of the lost mental site specificity, history and traces. The PONTOON PROJECT thus proposes the implementation of a durational temporality ( 25 years), the addition of a minor physical platform with an organisational link to the historical museum on site today, and a role of visual art as an agent of generosity, inviting a broad variety of professions and forms of knowledge to collaborate on a series of projects seeking to rediscover, relocate, make trickle up, and bring back to life a wide spectrum of aspects related to Slussen - its history, its role in economy of Sweden, in its defence, for women as entrepreneurs. AS well as the legends, images, forms of expression, technologies, modes of transport, colours, shapes, lived experiences that has gradually altered the place since 1500 years. Generosity as strategy could then become a key element in relation to major urban reorganisations.
Type of work
New genre public art, durational strategies in visual art, generosity as strategy for public art, deep mapping process.
Officially accepted as response to a commission by Stockholm Konst (SWE)
Visual artist Kerstin Bergendal In collaboration with PARSE Professor of Art at the Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg Andrea Philips (UK), landscape architect, founder and Creative Director of Copenhagen-based SLA Stig L Andersson (DK), and artist Johanna Adebäck (SWE).