We-Traders – Swapping Crisis for City is an exhibition project of the Goethe-Institut that gathered 30 activists promoting urban change in Madrid, Lisbon, Turin, Toulouse, Berlin and Brussels from 2012 until 2015. You can read more about the We-Traders platform, that I co-curated with Angelika Fitz in this post.
To mark the end of the process, we teamed up with Vienna urban research publishers dérive and produced this e-book. It combines theory and practice of collaborative place-making and asks questions about this current urban culture’s potential for the future. You can download the free e-book We-Traders. Swapping Crisis for City from the website of the Goethe-Institut Brussels.
We-Traders. Swapping Crisis for City.
Learning from urban practice.
Publisher: Goethe-Institut e.V.
Co-publisher: Angelika Fitz and dérive – urban research
Concept, editing, production: Christoph Laimer, Elke Rauth / dérive
Design: Rose Apple
Programming: Scott Alexander, ringebooks.
With texts by: Julia Albani, Leonie Baumann, Sonja Beeck, Santiago Eraso Beloki, Charlotte Bonduel, Javier Duero, Rose Epple, Angelika Fitz, Julia Förster, Alain Gatti, Stéphane Gruet, Frauke Hehl, Susanne Höhn, Rolf Novy-Huy, Common Josaphat, Elke Krasny, Jessica Kratz Magri, Christoph Laimer, Andreas Novy, Lisa Parola, Luisa Perlo, Elke Rauth, Marco Revelli, Matteo Robiglio, Stavros Stavrides, Chloé Viénot
They are active in Lisbon, Madrid, Toulouse, Turin, Berlin and Brussels: Citizens across Europe are currently taking the initiative to re-appropriate urban space. We call them “We-Traders” in the sense that they redefine the relation between value, profit and public good and are able to motivate fellow citizens to follow suit. The We-Traders platform initiated by the Goethe-Institut, and developed with brilliant Vienna based curator/author Angelika Fitz and myself, connects initiatives by artists, designers, activists and many other citizens from six distinct European contexts.
Collective Exhibition Making
The We-Traders exhibition is, similar to the projects it is showing and connecting, an experiment in co-creating a social situation. The collaborative process that shaped We-Traders took place in Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, Madrid, Munich, Rome, Toulouse and Turin over a period of two years. Next to us, as artistic directors and the project lead in Brussels, six local Goethe-Instituts, seven co-curators and 30 We-Trader projects were involved. As milestones of this collective effort we count the Co-Curators Lab in Rome July 2013 and four We-Traders Fora in Autumn 2013. During the We-Traders tour that started January 2014 in Madrid and ended March 2015 in Brussels, the exhibition went on being not only a space of presentation, but a space to meet and co-produce with more than 30,000 visitors. The Tool Story presents our collection of tools we used, adapted and invented in the process and is published in full in the We-Traders E-Book.
The Working Exhibition – A Tool Story in 11 Images: Angelika Fitz, Rose Epple
Project direction Goethe-Institut Brussels: Susanne Höhn
Project coordination: Julia Förster
Co-Production: Goethe-Institute Lisbon, Madrid, Toulouse, Turin, Brussels
Concept und artistic direction: Angelika Fitz, Rose Epple
Co-Curators: Julia Albani (Lisabon), Javier Duero (Madrid), Stéphane Gruet (Toulouse), Lisa Parola & Luisa Perlo (Turin), Charlotte Bonduel & Julia Förster (Brussels)
Exhibition Design: Studio Alex Valder
Exhibition Graphics: Carsten Giese
Visual Identity: Rose Epple
Participating initiatives: A Linha (Lissabon), AERA Habitat (Toulouse), Agulha Num Palheiro (Lissabon), Allmende-Kontor (Berlin), betahaus/Open Design City (Berlin), BIP/ZIP (Lisbon), Bois & Cie (Toulouse), Buena Vista Social Housing (Turin), Campo de Cebada (Madrid), Casa del Quartiere (Turin), Carrefour Culturel Arnaud Bernard (Toulouse), Cozinha Popular da Mouraria (Lissabon), Elii/Crisis Cabinet of Political Fictions (Madrid), Il Piccolo Cinema (Turin), Initiative Möckernkiez (Berlin), Le potager de Camille (Toulouse), O Espelho (Lissabon), Miraorti (Turin), Mix’Art Myrys (Toulouse), RÜTLI-WEAR (Berlin), Todo por la praxis (Madrid), Toolbox Coworking/FabLab (Turin), [VIC] Citizen Initiatives Incubator (Madrid), Teamlabs/Walkinn Coop (Madrid)
Diagnoses by: Sonja Beeck, Paul Blanquart, Rolf Novy-Huy, Leonie Baumann, Santiago Eraso Beloki, Claus Leggewie, Jorge da Silva Macaísta Malheiros, Carlo Salone, Florian Schmidt, Marco Revelli
The We-Traders exhibition travelled to:
BOZAR, Brussels 2015
CMAV – Centre Méridional de l’Architecture et de la Ville, Toulouse 2014
LX Factory, Lisbon 2014
Toolbox, Turin 2014
Kunstraum Kreuzberg Bethanien, Berlin 2014
Matadero, Madrid 2014
While in Lisbon for the We-Traders opening, I had the chance of interviewing Diogo Lopes, renowned Portuguese architect and one of the founders of O Espelho (The Mirror), a wall newspaper in Lisbon. The article I wrote subsequently about this exciting publishing experiment has just been published on Eye Magazine Blog.