DOCUMENTA KASSEL 16/06-23/09 2007

Proactive Dreams

Western modernity has been shaped by industrialisation and the development of mass production. This history is an ambivalent one, associated with prosperity and social improvements as well as war and destruction. The history of Kassel gives ample evidence of these two aspects: flourishing metalworking enterprises such as Henschel produced both armaments and locomotives. This intensive wartime production was one of the reasons for Kassel’s devastation in the Second World War. The war and the (incomplete) reconstruction of the 1950s largely destroyed the city’s old urban structure and continue to influence the municipal government’s architectural and traffic and transport policy even today.

One of the consequences of this fragmented architectural history is the production of ‘islands’ in the city, in which open spaces and public squares no longer create links with their surroundings, but instead act as geographical and even social barriers. The advisory board’s activity Proactive Dreams is directed towards these unused and divisive open spaces. In association with the key question ‘What is to be done?’ they trigger a social process intended to culminate in an alteration of public space: a few exemplary open spaces are emphasised with plainly visible markers and thereby designated as communal places within society. Together with local residents and nearby institutions, the working group sets in motion a process of activation calculated to provoke collective participation and use.



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