This special two-part episode of Social Design Insights brings listeners to the Dutch Tech Culture Festival, Border Sessions, to meet two central figures in public art and community building, Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk and Italian architect/artist/activist Lorenzo Romito, from the collective Stalker. During this electric conversation van Heeswijk and Romito expose how our cities are molded by economic interest and are progressively erasing values as inclusiveness, communion and equity. Their respective work is focused on how citizens can imagine an alternative to their own urban environments, and bring them to life through active involvement, community ownership, and ultimately regaining the right to the city. With host Emiliano Gandolfi, they discuss how public art, design, and activism become key ingredients to enable communities, in van Heeswijk’s words, “to take control of their own futures”.
Jeanne van Heeswijk is an artist who facilitates the creation of dynamic and diversified public spaces in order to “radicalize the local”. Her long-scale community-embedded projects question art’s autonomy by combining performative actions, discussions, and other forms of organizing and pedagogy in order to enable communities to take control of their own futures.
Lorenzo Romito is a founding member of Stalker, a laboratory of urban art and research, that focuses on the relations between art, architecture, social history, and environmental studies. Over the past two decades Romito’s work has been crucial in terms of investigating the boundaries between our urban environments and citizen’s social engagement.
Be sure to listen to Part II of this podcast.