VISIBLE CITY 2016 – Resignifying. Artisic interventions in public space

30th November  – 20th December 2016

AltArt, Cluj, Romania

The exhibition presents urban interventions that contribute to resignifying social uses of public space. Through transfer of meanings resignification reflects and catalyzes cultural mutation and thus contributes to social production. This process is relevant even at the global scale of human relations. Resignification is the genetic engineering if meaning. The proposed works appropriate texts and meanings belonging to other times, spaces and ideological constructs and inserts them in our collective present in order to make us understand better the way we function… and perhaps even beyond this, to help us understand better what we mean when we utter the word “future”.

Artists and works in the exhibition are:

1. Blajin | Pell-Mell/Val Vartej

Location: Cluj, The Fortress Hill
Launched on December the 7th 2016, 15.00

A physical narrative built to remind us of the paper planes we used to play with as kids. Pell-Mell is fictional character, made up by the art collective Blajin, a group of fictional creatures in itself. Pell-Mell, known to his friends as PM, is a supersized toy, made out of wood and metal. Actually it’s a bench, but prettier. It has 2.5 meters in length, a wing span (in the back) of 1.5 meters, and a height of 0.46 meters. It was fixed on the Fortress hill with 16 mm screws, so it won’t take off. The story of Pell-Mell is told through a comic strip.

2. Oana Matei | The Experience of a Water Tower (in 2 parts and 3 acts)/Experiența unui turn de apă (în 2 părţi şi 3 acte)

Location: The Water Tower of Armatura factory
Opened: November 30th - December 2nd, December 7 th

Water Towers, landmarks for Cluj as a socialist industrial city, have become inactive along with the collapse of the heavy industry. Few know exactly for what the oversized funnel actually stands, and even fewer know the interior space of its bowels. Yet the tower sits there, mulishly trying to tell us something, for which we need eyes to see and ears to hear. The experience of a water tower is the journey the audience is invited to take, from the small metal door of the entrance, to the belly of the water tank and back. The audio-visual installation gets one accustomed with the reality of the factory: people, colors, images, sounds, smells, and personal stories while allowing them to climb up to its top.

3. Sütő Zsolt | Sound City Remix

Audio installation: Fabrica de Pensule/Paintbrush Factory Art Centre, December 7-14
Listening session: December 8th, 20.00 at Casa Bōdhisattva

A week dedicated to the sounds of Cluj: through a series of soundwalking and field recording workshops the artist and participants selectively collect and recycle the sonic wastes of the city – an experience somewhere between art and acoustic ecology, individual and collective, material and immaterial. They REcord and REcycle the sounds of the city and thus they REinvent its current soundscape by exploring the possibilities of REmixing its forms and significance in the direction of the contemporary sonic arts.

4. Claudiu Cobilanschi | Who will shoot JR?
Location: The Paintbrush Factory/Fabrica de Pensule

The aging gaze of Larry Hagman as JR Ewing follows us from the wall of the Paintbrush Factory. Through the image of JR Claudiu Cobilanschi re-signifies the lust for profit, the founding myth of capitalism. “At the beginning of the eighties the Dallas series delighted Romanian TV viewers. Although the communist regime’s intention in broadcasting the series was to convince us how rotten capitalism was, the result proved to be exactly the opposite: we all imagined ourselves enlivening the caprices of the Ewing family. After 1990 we re-viewed the series, the memes returned and proved their persuasive power again. Our turbo-capitalism was looking to develop its own narratives. Who of us wasn’t JR? Who of us didn’t only wish to face the problems the millionaire Ewing solved with the skills of an international con-man? Today we are surrounded by all kinds of JR’s and nobody threatens them.”

5. Kopacz Kund | Masa critică

Location: Railroad Workers’ Park/Parcul Feroviarilor
Launched on December 20th, 15.00

The installation consists of a Ping-Pong table made out of concrete and surrounded by draped scaffolding, inserted into the Railroad Workers’ Park/Parcul Feroviarilor, a park left in decay for the past 20 years. The work re-signifies one of the joyful experiences of daily life in the former “Eastern” block. The Ping-Pong table is equally a symbolic and a utilitarian choice. Ping-Pong as a sport was during the Cold War one of the very few possibilities for a bringing around the same table, in a friendly manner, people from China and US. Everywhere across the countries of the Eastern Block Ping-Pong tables were present in factories, schools and parks. The author proposes the installation both as a pretext for the people of the city to re-appropriate the park and as a minimalist, contrasting sculptural object.


The five works were selected following an open call for projects by an expert selection panel. Members of the selection panel are Diana Marincu –  curator, Eugen Pănescu – architect, Oana Buzatu – communication expert/Cluj-Napoca Municipality, István Szakáts – curator, Rarița Zbranca – producer.

“The Visible City” is a public art commission project initiated in 2010 by AltArt, in partnership with the Cluj-Napoca Municipality. The aim is to contribute by cultural means to generating a dynamic public space, as well as increasing ownership of public spaces by city inhabitants. The artworks – urban furniture, installations, performances, and other types of artistic intervention – seek to contribute to urban regeneration by tackling issues such as : the city as space,  urban life, collective memory, individual and social identity, participation to pubic life, ownership of public space and means of social identification with space.

The 2016 edition of the project is co-financed by the Cluj-Napoca Municipality.

The Visible City takes places within ”Create to Connect” a project carried out by various Europan partners: Bunker Ljubljana (Sl), Artsadmin (GB), Arts and Theatre Institute (CZ), Empresa de Gestao de Equipamentos e Animacao Cultural (PT), Parc et Grande Halle de la Villette (FR), Rotterdamse Schouwburg (NL), Santarcangelo dei Teatri (IT), Stichting Noorderzon Groningen (NL),  Walking Theory (RS) and AltArt (RO), with financial support from the European Union, the Culture Programme 2007-2013.





Bunker AltArt Foundation Maria Matos Teatro Municipal Artsadmin Parc et Grande Halle de la Villette Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival Groningen Santarcangelo dei Teatri Arts and Theatre Institute Festival De Keuze / Rotterdamse Schouwburg Walking Theory

Fond B92 / Cultural Center REX Balkan Express Institute for Applied Theatre Studies