Thursday, July 21, 2011

Casco presents 'COHAB: an assembly of spare parts,' a project by Can Altay

Casco ­ Office forArt, Design and Theory

'COHAB: an assembly of spare parts'
A project by Can Altay
22 May­10 July 2011

Casco
Office for Art, Design and Theory
Nieuwekade 213-215
3511RW Utrecht
The Netherlands

www.cascoprojects.org

In recent years, the so-called genre of "public art" has undergone a
dematerialisation process. As the public sphere has been understood
increasingly in terms of a heterogeneous and agonistic discursive state, the
emphasis has shifted to public art's communicative and relational functions.
In this course of development, public sculptures are seen as rather archaic
or, one could say, simply unseen, folded in the zone between buildings and
urban infrastructure.

With the project 'COHAB: an assembly of spare parts' at Casco, Can Altay
proposes to reassess&lsqauo;and reanimate&lsqauo;these urban objects in light of his
long-term inquiry into "cohabitation" in urban life, especially by focusing
on
the clashes and overlaps between decisions of "placing" and "living with"
artworks in public space through specificities of the city of Utrecht. By
'COHAB', which sounds like rehab, Altay refers to cohabitation as a
fundamental political problem, not simply a celebration of adherence or
adaptation. 'COHAB' can be understood as a call for an assembly of all
things
that constantly make up the city or that are made up in the process,
including
those spare parts like us, people, like detritus and abandoned objects, like
the sculptures that call for and create further assemblies, as a process of
recovery.

The project's research draws upon public information and archives around the
sculptures and monuments of the municipality of Utrecht. In collaboration
with
local stakeholders, passersby and researchers, 'COHAB' also looks further
into
particular&lsqauo;and controversial&lsqauo;cases such as 'Tenttoren' in the Lunetten area
or
the Barry Flanagan statue 'Thinker on a Rock' in the city centre. The
empirical and imaginative case studies that were assembled during Altay's
research process disclose multiple attentions, voices and initiatives around
public art works. The project repositions them somewhere between function
and
meaning and also treats them as points to draw the city's boundaries and its
anamorphic expansions. The research material finally "cohabits" with a
special
display structure shaped after a typical post-war housing block and is
accompanied by a small set of proposals for repurposing public sculptures in
Utrecht throughout the project period.

For more information on 'COHAB', including the events unfolding at three
moments, as well as the installation view at Casco, please visit our website
<http://www.cascoprojects.org/?show==453> . Notes on the installation
components and list of case studies are also available.

The work of Can Altay is known for its focus on improvised architectures in
the city, unauthorised systems of organisation and models of co-habitation.
The artist, who is living in Istanbul, has been working on a long-term
project, 'setting a setting', which searches for a collaborative, productive
method of exhibition making. Altay's project at Casco is part of a sequence
following 'The Church Street Partners' Gazette' (CSPG) which he developed
with
The Showroom in London. A book that will combine 'CSPG' and 'COHAB' will be
published by Bedford Press in collaboration with Casco and The Showroom
later
this year.

'COHAB' is part of Circular Facts <http://www.circularfacts.eu/?page_id=32>
,
a collaborative endeavour between Casco ­ Office for Art, Design and Theory,
Utrecht; Objectif Exhibitions, Antwerp, and The Showroom, London in
partnership with Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen and Electric Palm Tree. The
project
is an informal think-tank and a mutual support structure that works as a hub
for the production and dissemination of artistic projects, the sharing of
imaginative thinking and open-ended forms of circulation. Circular Facts is
made possible with support from the European Commission.

Casco ­ Office for Art, Design and Theory, established in 1990 in Utrecht,
is
committed to the production and presentation of cross-disciplinary projects
and "participatory" activities. Its primary focus is on the areas where art,
design and theory intersect to form critical, imaginative and collaborative
inquiries into our social and physical environment.

The Casco programme is generously supported by the Mondriaan Foundation and
the Utrecht City Council.

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