Architecture, garden, landscape: new exchange fields in Europe
The cooperation project is presented by the Governing Body of Suomenlinna and seven other representatives of important European architectural monuments – two of which are World Heritage Sites (UNESCO). The project brings together the participants’ invaluable experience in the field of re-use of the monuments to be further exploited by contemporary arts and different research activities. This “bringing together” intends first to demonstrate and disseminate information on “good practices”.
Secondly, it aims at reaching new fields of work and experience and launching original collective projects. The people in charge of all these monuments share the same philosophy concerning the opportunities for contemporary re-use of certain major monuments of our heritage. They can be turned into excellent laboratories of experimentation for innovative intellectual, artistic and social projects.
The individual experiences of the partners show that only high standard intellectual and artistic activities can restore the visibility and social importance of the monuments they need in order to justify the money spent on them by society. The salvation and rehabilitation of these monuments depend, to a great extent, on the contemporary projects which strongly emphasize linking these historical monuments to the present.
In exchange, we would like to provide the public in large with a monument functioning as a medium, thus making it possible for the public to be in touch with and to have access to a non-conventional intellectual and artistic project. This means that people participating in the existence of the monument, at the same time, also participate in the protecting and preserving of the monument. Consequently the monument itself protects the fragility of the various innovative projects carried out in any one of the sites.
Our cooperation project includes three different but complementary areas:
- First area: sharing and dissemination of know-how and good practice.
One of the tasks is to set up a common database, a resource and documentation centre including examples of the European heritage (monuments) re-use. The database will be edited on line and on paper. In addition, it is necessary to establish and publish (on line and on paper) a re-use manual, a collective, methodical and critical work that will be a collection of good practices throughout Europe in the field of the re-use of monuments. A group of photographers (Linea di Confine) will follow the work giving it the necessary visual dimension to convey its importance beyond the expert circles.
- Second area: common experimental work for the re-use of the monuments and their gardens for (professional) training and social integration.
The partners consider the spaces surrounding the monuments, especially the gardens and orchards associated to them, as inseparable from the monuments and worth being revived like the monuments themselves. The partners strongly believe that these spaces are ideal for ephemeral, temporary projects and interventions and that they can be very good mediums for the integration of socially disadvantaged people. According to the partners, the shared experiences between different European sites will be particularly instructive. The pilot sites for these projects/experiments will be the Castle of Voltaire (creation of Voltaire’s Gardens) and L’Ospitale di Rubiera (creation of the “Garden of Lost Fruits”) and they will be carried out in cooperation with the other partners.
- Third area: common experimental work for the development of the open spaces around the monuments – parks, landscapes.
The questions here are of how to develop the parks and gardens, how to influence the landscape so as to well integrate the monument and its open spaces into the surrounding environment? The pilot sites for these experimental projects, in cooperation with the other partners, will be Schloss Plüschow, the Ujazdowski Castle and the Serralves Foundation. A specific website and an international colloquium on these topics will be organised and there will be an artistic intervention on one of the sites as a synthese of the topic
The major objective is the largest possible decompartmentalization of practices.
The method the partners will use is the systematic exchange of experiences. The instruments will be the meetings on the sites, the use of an Internet forum, the collection and “bringing together” of data, the joint publication about the projects, the organisation of successive collective experimental actions on the different sites, the mobility of local forces and of certain target groups. The expected results are a better understanding of the European space as an experimentation field for heritage re-use, the opening-up and the improvement of everybody’s work thanks to the exchanges of know-how on a European level.