I really enjoyed participating in the Common Ground Project in Budapest. The facilitators from Makeshift Ensemble, Postmodernsquare, Artemisszio Alapitvany, describe it as:
[A] training and research project focusing the on approaches to working and engaging meaningfully with local communities […]The project will "twin" two multicultural, inner city streets and communities in Cork and Budapest that will serve as the location and the subject of the training allowing to explore, through artistic tools, the questions Q Who are your neighbours? Whose street is this anyway?
[…] The aim is to develop strategies and explore methodologies within the broader frame of socially engaged art with a specific focus on " Parachute strategies" […]. By Parachute strategies we mean methods and practices that do not require long term engagement with communities but work on the basis of interventions, one off events or remote practices that nonetheless provide meaningful connections and a real exchange.
After five days of workshops and discussions and getting to know the Nepszinhaz street of Budapest's 8th district I did got the chance to explore further ways and means to engage with locals. On the Open Day of the project, as part a team, we set two questions (How do you feel about Nepszinhaz Street? & What would you change?) in order to capture the Emotions of the people that leave on the street and to give space so as to express them selves.
We approached 40 people in two to three hours and we did manage to get meaningfull connections and a real exchange of ideas regarding the street life.
Looking forward for the next phase of the project in Ireland, to see how this short term participatory action will evolve.
Part -2: On a gentrified street of Cork, we, the Common Ground Team that worked in Budapest, went to one of the shops that were abandoned and the owner could not rent it, and set it as the base for the project MAPPING EMOTIONAL TRACES. A few building blocks ahead, plans for a big shopping mall were furtherly developed.
We approached 40 people in two to three hours and we did manage to get meaningfull connections and a real exchange of ideas regarding the street life. We took video footage we did the editing within the street shop and with people passing by. Then the video (shown below) was projected on one of the the walls of the street.