Table Talks
Graphic: IMAGINE THE CITY
Graphic: IMAGINE THE CITY
Tischgespräche #1
© Sibel Bicer
Tischgespräche #1
© Sibel Bicer
Tischgespräche #1
© Sibel Bicer
Tischgespräche #1
© Sibel Bicer
Tischgespräche #1
© Sibel Bicer
Graphic: IMAGINE THE CITY
Graphic: IMAGINE THE CITY
Tischgespräche #1
© Sibel Bicer
Tischgespräche #1
© Sibel Bicer
Tischgespräche #1
© Sibel Bicer
Tischgespräche #1
© Sibel Bicer
Tischgespräche #1
© Sibel Bicer

An event series by IMAGINE THE CITY on the subject of art as a location factor, featuring guests from Hamburg and all over the world.

05 February 2020
# 2: Urban spaces as a resource for creative, fun activities with Playful Commons
Our guests for the second Table Talk are Jennifer Aksu and Sebastian Quack from the Playful Commons initiative.

Playful Commons experiments with innovative ways of enabling greater spontaneity, exchange and responsibility in urban spaces. How can public spaces become a jointly used resource for creative, fun activities by citizens and visitors alike? How can they become places that are available to everyone for non-commercial, self-organised cultural activities: from talks, performance, music, sports and food to art installations, gardening, temporary furnishings, and other unexpected forms of design.

Underlying it all is an understanding of playful co-creation as the basis for living together within the urban space. Inspired by the Creative Commons licensing model in digital copyright law, the makers of Playful Commons operate on the assumption that it is also in the interest of administrators and owners of public spaces to allow more playful activities and creativity in genuine urban spaces. Often it’s not the goodwill that’s lacking, but a clear framework, transparent low-expenditure procedures, and inspiring examples. These are the gaps that the project aims to close step by step.
In co-operation with IMAGINE THE CITY, Playful Commons is planning a test site at Hafencity for summer 2020 to provide a focal point for a three-level research and design project: legal frameworks, moderation and voting procedures, and exemplary playful uses. We will be discussing the project at our Table Talk and gathering ideas for its implementation.


19 December 2019
# 1: Community-based art production with Liz Magic Laser

Also present: Dafna Maimon (artist), András Siebold, Marcel Bisevic (Kampnagel Summer Festival), Dorothea Heintze (journalist, co-founder of the HafenCity network)

Liz Magic Laser is a New York multimedia and performance artist. Her works intervene in semi-public spaces, e.g. lobbies, movie theatres and newsrooms. For her site-specific projects she explores existing social fabrics and examines the often-unconscious modes of behaviour they invoke. Each project is preceded by an intensive research process that involves mining sociological studies as well as in-depth personal interviews. Laser often engages participants such as actors, journalists or citizens in a discussion topic relevant to their everyday lives. She distils these responses and re-purposes them as stage plays, video installations or interventions in public space. Liz Magic Laser will spend a week in Hafencity in December getting to know the district and its residents in order to develop a site-specific project. She wants to make use of the first Table Talk to present a few of her projects possibly pertinent to the new venture and to introduce potential topics and approaches for Hamburg for discussion with the audience. With this in mind, Laser will describe her most recent projects which have involved applying a reality television format to the workings of the gig economy and personality testing techniques to socio-political tensions. Artist Dafna Maimon will also introduce a recent work that relates to the long-standing dialogue between her and Laser on their artistic practices.

About Table Talks
Having just relocated to its new headquarters, IMAGINE THE CITY is seizing this opportunity to offer an insight into its work processes and showcase HafenCity’s cultural perspectives.
So now and again we’ll be clearing our desks and opening up our office for informal discussions with our team and our project partners from all over the world. The starting point for each of these talks will be a guest: a visual artist, a scientist or a game developer wishing to showcase a project they have in mind for the city district and to present strategies with which their intervention might influence the city and how it sees itself.

Taking centre stage is a provocative question, namely whether or not art is suited as a location factor: not from an economic viewpoint but from a civic perspective, as part of an urban appropriation process that perceives cultural practices as an integral element. With these participants we want to discuss what role they can play, or want to play, within this scenario, and how the artistic process and its outcome might change as a result.

Each evening will focus on a different take, with the array of approaches ranging from participatory production processes to the intertwining of high culture and popular culture rituals and the trialling of new digital formats. We will be looking to discuss possible accusations that this serves to instrumentalise or functionalise art as well as the expectation that art per se has to be critical (but of what and of who?).
Each guest will have the option of requesting additional panellists to pitch in to the topic of the debate, so that the team, the invited guests and the audience are all able to get together in an intimate setting for a public working session moderated by the HafenCity curator, without the outcome being prejudged in any way. Video clips will be screened and submissions heard. Everyone will be entitled to have their say if they wish so!

Plus: A table is not really a table without food on it, so for each talk we’ll prepare a free evening meal for everyone; drinks will be available at cost price.


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Date 5 February 2020 - 5 February 2020 Opening hours Starting at 7 pm.
Location Office
Shanghaiallee 21,
20457 Hamburg
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