Urban Clearance

4 projects of urban intervention and public interaction, Belfast

atelier d’architecture autogeree (aaa), Paris; LUNA NERA London/Berlin; Daniel Jewesbury and Stephen Hackett, Belfast; Lois& Franziska Weinberger, Vienna

Ends 13 August 2005

Urban Clearance is a series of four projects of urban intervention and social interaction.
Artists from France, England, Northern Ireland and Austria were invited to Belfast by PS²- an artist group itself- to have a close look at the city and its urban and social structure.
Their survey, discoveries or sightings are used to form the subject of their projects in various open forms: as an outside intervention, as documentation or installation, as an initiative or a film presentation - a dialogue with the city and the citizens at a time of significant political and economical change.
Belfast, like all of Northern Ireland, is undergoing huge regeneration. Although the former territorial divides, empty or derelict places or no go zones still exist, there is a sense of normalization, of re-use and re-claiming of the inner city with a boom in shops and café bars, consumerism and leisure, which seems to cement the fragile transition with its political insecurities and destabilisation. The building boom in the inner city re-furbishes and creates new public spaces, pedestrian zones or recreation areas, but it also defines their function and commercializes its use; a process, which most cities permanently undergo, and which is widely debated by planners, investors, business, community- and activist groups.

Urban Clearance tries to contribute to this discussion and activate the debate with four distinct and different projects. Different not only from the individual professional background: artists, architects, filmmakers…, but also from the way of engagement with the urban theme and the aesthetic translation and representation. What binds all participants together, is the confrontation with the built and un-built environment and its social use in their work; often seen as a process as opposed to a finished product. It is not by chance that all contributions come from collectives and groups, who understand from the outset the importance of collaboration as a necessary tool in the urban environment.
The outcome seeks not only to provide a platform for further debates, initiatives and networks but also to offer a creative impulse of a re-interpretation and poetic transformation of the city.

URBAN CLEARANCE , 4 projects of urban intervention and public interaction, Belfast
Location: PS², 18 Donegall Street and various outside  areas


1. atelier d’architecture autogeree (aaa), Paris

Workshop- documentation-installation in progress
Doina  Petrescu, Constantin Petcou, John Sampson and Belfast residents
29 July-13 August 2005

Opening: 28. July, 7-9pm

MECHANICS OF FLUIDS- atelier d’architecture autogeree (aaa), Paris

MECHANICS OF FLUIDS- atelier d’architecture autogeree (aaa), Paris

Mechanics of Fluids - a workshop-in-progress, documentation and installation, gives access to material for consultation, debate and fabrication around the issue of water. The ongoing ‘No To Water Charges’ campaign, one of the first non- sectarian civic issues in Northern Ireland, is the starting point for a wider exploration. Water becomes as such a dynamic topic which fluidises the post-conflict political scene and infiltrates the public debate with a kind of materialist thinking concerned with economic and environmental issues, micro- and geopolitical strategies, civic rights, dynamics and self-organisations
Water carries at the same time other imaginaries and logics, which are not anymore those of the solid oppositions. In her text “The Mechanics of Fluids” Luce Irigaray shows, how these the fluids logics have been long time repressed within Western thinking and connects this cultural and political failure to deal with the working of fluids with the social and discursive exclusion of woman and the feminine.
In the same way, the group associate the presence of water in the current political debate with the emergence of an active materiality, sociality and semiotics that could induce refreshing dynamics within local and trans-local contexts.

Atelier d’architecture autogeree/ studio for self-managed architecture (aaa) is a non profit association and an interdisciplinary network founded in Paris in 2001 by architects, artists, urban planners, landscape designers, sociologists, students and residents. This collective practice conducts research into participatory urban actions aiming for the re-appropriation and reinvention of public space through everyday life activities (gardening, cooking, playing, reading, producing, debating, walking etc.)

The starting point was the realisation of a temporary garden made out of recycled materials on one of the derelict sites in the La Chapellle area, in the North of Partis. This garden, called ECObox, has been progressively extended into a platform for urban criticism and creativity curated by the aaa members, residents and external collaborators, catalysing activities at a local and translocal level.

Parallel to ECObox, aaa has conducted projects in different geo-and micro-political contexts that identify, encourage and assist local urban processes through international networks with variable geometries of knowledge, skills and experiences. This critical practice is based on what we call ‘urban tactics’, that define at the same time a political position, a research approach, urban interventions and artistic productions. The multiple crossings between different disciplines, experiences and contexts produce a continual requestioning of the way we practice architecture and urbanism.

2. LUNA NERA London/Berlin

Documentation:  Installation, film, performance about the Titanic drawing rooms
26. August-10. September 2005

Opening: 25. August, 7-9pm



The drawing rooms of the Titanic Quarter, one of the few historic remains of the shipbuilding,  are the focal point for a multi-media art intervention. At a time, where the area is undergoing massive  redevelopment,  this site-responsive work will reactivate a sense of creative and industrial power .

This art collective, based in London (Berlin, Paris) chooses forgotten urban sites to reactivate their former social and cultural role by restoring and reintegrating them through art into public visibility. Their projects and site-responsive installations do not only feed public curiosity about an urban memory, but also exposes art to people in ways that are completely different to the accepted demarcation for art-consumption. Luna Nera has shown in the Uk and abroad, among others at the Dada Festival Zuerich, 2003, Kronstadt (St.Petersburg) and St. Pancras-London.


Performance in Social History, Belfast
A critical journey around the social and economic regeneration of the city.                                                                        
Tour-guide: Dr. Daniel Jewesbury; assistant: Stephen Hackett
Assembly point (weather permitting): PS², Donegall Street

16. September- 01. October 2005
Opening: 15. September, 7-9pm

3. LAGOONSIDE-THE MOVIE Performance in Social History- Daniel Jewesbury, Stephen Hackett

This documentation  takes you on a critical cruise through the meandering channels of the social-economic regeneration  of inner-city Belfastt,  piloted by Lagoonside Corporation.

When the Lagoonside Corporation was conjured into existence with a secret magic spell cast by the Government in 1979, its remit was to tackle the social and economic regeneration of inner city land, all around the River Lagoon, which for many years had been an industrial outflow and had started to smell bad. Using public investment as a catalyst to secure private development capital, Lagoonside’s aim has been to open the door for new investment, cleaning the river, new jobs, new homes and a wide range of recreational, social, cultural , educational, spiritual and karmic opportunities. Today, as a result, Belfast has rediscovered itself and become a focus for business, leisure and cultural activity. The River Lagoon is now viewed as a major asset, an exciting place to work, live and play (although swimming is still out of question). Waterbusses take commuters to the various offshore call centre islands and to the massive pleasure resorts along the abandoned docklands, including “Whoops! The Titanic Expierence”, a multimedia holographic adventure theme park for all the family( women and children first, please bring change of clothes).
Leading academic, artist, theoretician and cultural commentator Dr. Daniel Jewesbury, takes us on tour through the area with his trusty man servant Stephen Hackett, charting the rise of Lagoonside, meeting some of the people who made it happen, raising some  serious questions about stuff.


4.  Lois& Franziska Weinberger, Wien

Film, projects, interventions
07. - 22. October 2005
Opening: 06. October, 7-9pm

GREEN BELTS- Lois& Franziska Weinberger, Wien

Lois& Franziska Weinberger have made a large scale, site specific map of Belfast for this project, substituting street names with botanical and social terms. In addition, the project will feature a film and original photographs by the artists, highlighting theirlong standing  work with their close social and natural environment and activism.