A Festival of Creative Urban Living

26 September – 13 October 2019

To complete A Festival of Creative Urban Living’s programme, raumlaborberlin launched the Crossroads Open Call to commission three public art projects which will accompany the Festival under the categories of ‘the built’, ‘the unbuilt’ and ‘the unbuildable’.

The response was breathtaking. Together the Jury looked at 101 proposals from visual artists, architects, designers, creative practices, musicians, urban planners, gardeners…. So many professions, many interdisciplinary and international groups and collectives who submitted an array of craziest constructions, mobile units, programmes, processes and visions!

We are very happy to announce the three winning projects that will be commissioned as part of A Festival of Creative Urban Living:

Category: The Built
Awarded: Winner

The Utopian Laundromat
by La Bonneterie (FR) Pascal Lazarus, Amandine Lamour, Benjamin Blacken, Auguste Paillard, Florine Cruel, Alex Lambert, Mirant Jane Wall.

An installation in human scale which proposes a different way to wash, dry, and recycle water. The masterpiece is a mechanism of 3 connected watersheds. The water runs from the clean to the dirty, from the top to the bottom. The laundry moves in the opposite direction, from bottom to top, immersed in the different watersheds. Next the water is filtered and stored in an adjacent tank. Then, the mechanism starts again: the stored water passes through a solar boiler and then back into the watersheds. The left-over and grey water runs into a natural pool with a weeping willow.

In the middle of this revolutionary mechanical system is a pub, a common space, a soft detergent workshop, a filters research space and an open-mic scene. Utopian Laundromat is a place for us all to combine business with pleasure, harmonizing the needs of nature with the needs of being human.

 Jury’s notes
Introducing the rituals of washing, bathing culture and laundry and connecting there to the interconnectivity of our everyday lives was perceived by all Jury members as a great idea.

Category: The Unbuilt
Awarded: Winner

Where do we go from here? by No Purpose collective (NL/IT/GB/South Korea) Jack Bardrell, Heejung Kim and Daniele Valentino

The Boulevard Broadcast is a mobile radio station that has the unique ability to pick up signals from the future and broadcast to the present. As it cycles up and down the boulevard, the antenna structure swaying in the air, the radio will host workshops with different communities to create fictional narratives about future living in Milton Keynes. These stories will be broadcast in a daily radio show. At the end of the Festival, the team propose a parade, a moment in which these actions can be lived out in reality.

 Jury’s notes
The idea of a radio station that connects MK’s residential estates with the centre, the neighbourhoods with the Festival, the people and the ideas persuaded the Jury to make this proposal the winner of the category the unbuilt. To create a working social interaction between different neighborhoods in Milton Keynes and indeed many other cities – is probably one of the biggest challenges that the city faces.

Category: The Unbuildable
Awarded: Winner

Good morning Milton Keynes! Oh…. it’s afternoon by Spreafico Eckly with Matteo Fargion (IT/NO)

 Jury’s notes
The idea is to have a local brass band (or several) playing every afternoon during the Festival at the same time but in a different location around central Milton Keynes. They will play a musical piece exclusively composed for MK and the Festival. After each concert the theme of the day will be announced.

This proposal stood out from all the other projects for a number of reasons:  It is totally non-material and installs a new ritual for the city of Milton Keynes, and uses the public space as an open stage. The project in this sense connects time and space in a very effortless way. It is new and original and yet works with a very traditional and locally rooted media. By inviting local bands to perform the daily piece, the project also becomes rooted into local communities. The theme of the day will raise key questions of the Festival’s content in very humorous ways and will amplify these into the everyday world of MK’s public life. Slightly surreal moments of encounter with music and poetry create a great contrast to the highly rational grid of central MK and will encourage a pause to question our ever-accelerated and digitised everyday routines.

Runners up

Category: The Built

Peddle up Pneumatics by Gordon Yip + Enoch Liang (GB/China)

Peddle up Pneumatics is a temporary pavilion which eludes static conventions. Standing at 5-6 meters tall, the yellow puppet starts off as a peddle-up pneumatic which cycles along the boulevard and possibly around a few blocks as a conglomerate of 18 participants. Someone sits down, starts peddling, very soon the canopy grows even further and pushes into the surrounding trees.

 Jury’s notes
A playful, fantastical and spectacular performative sculpture, animating the city through a collective, bike-powered action.

Category: The Unbuilt

The Flyover Arms – a very public House
by Team Tango (various countries) Iris Andreas, Sam Stalker, Han Li

The Flyover Arms is a very public house offering a multitude of social engagements through one piece of garden furniture. The timber structure loops over the Midsummer Boulevard East in Milton Keynes, sweeping in height and width to create spaces for eating, drinking, performing, sunbathing or playing, all defined by the occupants present.

 Jury’s notes
The Jury enjoyed the purity and bravery of this proposal. This simple, circular intervention into the strict grid road system of MK that offered up a platform, a roof, a walkway…. It construction from wood in a sea of concrete was also very welcome, along with its playful and tongue-in-cheek title.
Category: The Unbuildable

Library of Structures by Invisible Playground + 72 hours urban action (D/Israel/Turkey) Jennifer Aksu, Kerem Halbrecht, Anna Hentschel and Sebastian Quack.

Some things cannot be built. Like joy. Like tearing something down that took really long to built. Destruction can be fascinating because the time consuming efforts of planning, building, working hard on the best of all solutions are rendered obsolete – in the blink of an eye. Building materials are 72 wooden one-meter-long sticks and 72 perforated plastic balls the size of a golf ball. Construction happens when a stick is connected to a ball and to another stick and to another ball and so on and so forth.

At the end of each festival day there will be a participatory unbuilding ceremony performed by a team of volunteers. They will think of the most beautiful performance to take down the structures built by the building teams.

 Jury’s notes
The Jury discussed this proposal and length and felt that it was important to find a way to integrate this empowering approach to self-building into the Festival. To build a structure and then destroy a structure; to enjoy the challenge of deciding what to build and working together to build it was a very special quality to include.

There were also 12 special mentions that the jury thought were great ideas, which will hopefully be realized in another time and place.


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A Festival of
Creative Urban
Living 2019

26 September
– 13 October

Illustration by Lukas Hamilcaro
Design by Studio Chehade  

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