Urban influencers meet asset managers.

Napoli Altofest

Performatively staging contemporary debates in urbanism

Adam Kucharski at Altofest, Napoli, Italy. Photo courtesy Marco Pavone

Adam Kucharski at Altofest, Napoli, Italy. Photo courtesy Marco Pavone

 

The Context

The Altofest performing arts festival is a radical experiment in urban art making. Spread across the city of Napoli, Altofest eschews formal venues, instead hosting an extraordinary lineup of international performing artists in intimate and non-traditional spaces dotting the urban landscape, ranging from the intimate space of private homes to dramatic limestone quarries, historic civic spaces, and the iconic streets of Napoli itself. This radical deconstruction of the performing venue breaks down the boundaries between the stage and the city, forces artists to fundamentally reinvent their work, and raises the possibility of truly accessible and community-oriented art.

 

The Response

Altofest invited Kuchar&Co and the Egyptian choreographic collective HaRaKa to develop a groundbreaking and experimental staging of conflicts over urban placemaking. Under the guise of an urban redevelopment competition, the work brought together performers and community organizers to stage raucous debates around the redevelopment of iconic sites throughout Napoli, articulating and addressing community concerns around "touristification," gentrification, and representation of minorities in urban planning decision making. The performance, held within La Comuna di Napoli's historic Complesso Monumentale di Santa Maria la Nova, itself a venerable site of democratic city governance, unlocked discussions around placemaking and framed Napoli's urban challenges as opportunities for coalition-building and grassroots organization.

Photo courtesy Marco Pavone

Photo courtesy Marco Pavone

This work was supported by a 2018 grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

 
 

 

I’m Gonna Need Another One

How artistic and performative conceptions of "home" can inform our understanding of cities in transition

Jen Rosenblit, Berlin

Jen Rosenblit, Berlin

 

The Context

Choreographer, performer, and Guggenheim Fellow Jen Rosenblit poses questions on placemaking and urbanity in a world that capitalizes on artistic institutions, gentrification, and displacement of creative potential.

 

The Response

Rosenblit's multi-phase research and performance project invited Kuchar&Co to consultant on urban planning, city zoning laws, and infrastructure to revisit the history of performance and artistic ‘booms’ outside of the art world's traditional references. Through such an investigation, Mr. Kucharski’s experience as an urbanist, financial advisor, and anthropologist brings these histories into friction with urban development, rather than solely artistic agency or genius.

I’m Gonna Need Another One is performed Winter 2018/19 at Berlin’s Sophiensaelle.

 
 

 

ETMAC: Extra-territorial Ministry of Arab Culture

Conceptualizing the future of arts and culture institutions in times of crisis and displacement

ETMAC_Skopje.jpg
 

The Context

At a time when Arab countries are bleeding away their creative capital with the departure, emigration, or exiling of pioneering intellectuals and artists, one wonders on the future of their practices and legacies. We pose a question: can the institution of the "ministry of culture" be rehabilitated to serve this new diffuse community of art producers and serve a locus of cultural production outside of the traditional boundaries of the nation? Can the institution evolve to meet the needs of an artistic and cultural community that is, at least temporarily, extra-territorial? And can it help to rebuild shattered national ministries on artists’ terms?

 

The Response

 
ETMAC is not utopian in the traditional sense, but rather explores the potential for the reform of institutions that have lost their legitimacy.
— Adam Kucharski

Built as an imaginary ministry that supports contemporary artistic creation of displaced and refugee Arab artists, ETMAC is Adam Kucharski’s brainchild in collaboration with HaRaKa’s performance theorist and artist Adham Hafez. It operates as a fictitious entity that runs programs, gives consultancy to institutions on issues of cultural policy and financial planning, and presents lecture-performances. Set between the worlds of institutional making, performance theory, and strategic financial planning, ETMAC is a unique interdisciplinary project.

Commissioned by Lokomotiva and Kino Kultura (Macedonia). Performed in partnership with HaRaKa (Egypt).


Click above to watch excerpts of a live performance of ETMAC.

 
 

 

Ports and Quarantines

Interrogating the nexus between infrastructure planning and humanitarian response

marseilles_port_WEB.jpg
 

The Context

How do ports shape urban planning in today’s world? How does this reflect on the making of cities within an unfolding refugee crisis? What kind of performative potential could the work of urban planning and financial data analysis reveal within such ephemeral and physical territories?


 

The Response

This project draws on urban planning and data analysis methodologies, mobilizes the language of performance studies, and refracts through a genealogy of works by Bruno Latour, Adam T. Smith, and Peggy Phelan. It activates questions on the making of hostile and open space geared towards receiving or regulating bodies. By creating audio maps of ports, collecting colliding stories, and using data analysis to design infographics, the project bridges design, research, policy, and performance.