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PLAKART — ART IN THE STREETS
VIDEOBOARD | Braunschweig (Germany) | 6/29 to 7/9/2007

Videoboard with mindshots by Dietmar Kirves

Videoboard NO!art | 12 seconds spot on Videoboard 4,5 x 5,8 m | repetition after 5 min

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EN PASSANT

Large-scale artworks on railroad bridges, arterial roads, or in front of construction fences tear open gray city walls, open windows, surprise for a moment, and offer views of an art that is often hardly noticed in everyday life: Poster art that convinces through the power of its images. Photographs, graphics and graffiti quote the screaming language of advertising through their posterity. However, their message remains mute. The absence of slogans leaves room for interpretation. The silence invites the passers-by to think further, to project, to daydream. The concept deliberately plays with the break between the harsh reality of everyday life and the dreamlike play spaces of the image worlds.

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OPEN AIR GALERIE

Plakart 2007, Katalog30 selected billboards on Braunschweig streets, gaps between buildings, and railroad embankments that appear unattractive due to urban planning requirements or temporary processes such as construction work become showcases for art. The colorful pictorial worlds stand in opposition to the inhospitability of the city; they break through the dreariness of the urban space and create forums for public engagement with art.

Oversizedness and perception in motion characterize the production and reception of art in public space. Perceived from the car or viewed en passant, their offer is at the same time barrier-free, unobtrusive, but nevertheless of emotional potential. Street art reaches all levels of the population, regardless of their level of education, age, gender or nationality. It delights or opens doors for the exploration of creativity: often graffiti is the first introduction to the liberal arts for young people.

Street art in public places offers a solution to dealing with wild postering and graffiti. This art - used constructively - increases the quality of stay of the urban space, promotes the dialogue about aesthetics between young and old and responds to the need of art for public self-expression. It becomes a flagship for the artistic productivity and dynamics of a city that, with the HBK as the best-known art academy in Lower Saxony and the Department of Architecture at the Technical University, is a pioneer for art and cultural productions in the metropolitan region.

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INSIDE OUT

The INSIDE OUT action turns the creative potential that is created every day in studios, drawing rooms, design and architecture offices, or even in private, out onto the street. The action presents this hidden creativity in an unbureaucratic way. INSIDE OUT sees itself as a PUSH action, which is located in the environment of the activities of Braunschweig as City of Science 2007. It makes applied, visual and creative art an everyday experience; the encounter with it is low-threshold: everyone has the opportunity to engage with it with varying degrees of intensity.

The project has models such as the American initiaves of the Billboard Generation or actions of the artist Jim Avignon, who in the 1990s, among other things, with his Crazy posters against boredom, took art out of the galleries and made it interesting for the general public.

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REVIEW
Anna-Lena Bruns: PlakArt - artful Braunschweig
From June 29 to July 9, the region shows an art landscape of a special "nature".
in: Subway, Braunschweig, June 2007

"Ten students of the HBK and 22 artists from the fields of free art, painting, sculpture, graphics, comics and light art will present their work in an urban setting," says Ruth Fischer, co-organizer and fundraising manager of the PlakArt+ project. The idea for the creative open air of the arts was developed two years ago by photographer Verena Meier and graphic designer Steffi Klode. With the support of the project manager Sabine Ottemann, Ruth Fischer, the society for art and culture Insideout e.V., founded in September 2006, and many other free culture supporters, the idea grew into what it is today: an artful proof of Braunschweig's creative and cultural potential. "We will bring art to the people and enable the pop, sub and off scene a forum of creative expression through the large presence in the city space. Bridges are to be built and a dialogue about the meaning, possibilities and expressiveness of art is to be stimulated across social differences," explains spokeswoman Fischer. The passer-by is to be surprised for the moment with comparably suggestive means like those of the advertisement and kidnapped from the everyday life.

The concept is as creative as the action itself: "Plakart+ is a Braunschweig project and consequently our curatorial concept Kern & Stern also takes this into account," says first chairwoman Steffi Klode. Since the historical growth of the city has formed concentric circles and the exit roads radiate out into the region in a star shape, an analogy to the explosive growth of art is obvious: "Coming from the city center, we place our exhibits in a circle around the center to the ring areas and then use individual art walls on exit roads like Hamburgerstrasse as messengers." In the city core, subtle, delicate and typographic art will be the primary art to be discovered in pedestrian locations. The art of the ring areas and expressways, fleetingly perceived from the car, manifests itself in large-scale street art and poster art with luminosity.

The Kern & Stern-ldee does not select at all but brings a wide spectrum of artistic statements to the summer streets of Brunswick. "This way, our audience can decide what they like and what they don't - that's what we mean by democratic and participatory," explains 2nd chairwoman Verena Meier.

Each of the artists has a direct connection to Braunschweig, whether they were born and raised here or see the city as an important stage in their artistic development.

Not only will spray cans and brushes be wielded, but supra-regional activities such as poetry slams, events, opening ceremonies and farewell parties will also create space for artistic encounters. Funding for the project from the Stiftung Braunschweigischer Kulturbesitz, the city of Braunschweig and regional companies is being realized, "but there are still an infinite number of things for which we lack the means," Klode notes. Unfavorably, neither the cost of materials nor the working time of the actors can be paid or in-situ catalogs made so far. "That's why, of course, we're always happy to receive support or sponsorship from private individuals or companies and businesses in the region, whether it's non-material, financial or in-kind donations," Meier emphasizes. Nevertheless, the presence of the posters in the city will probably also touch those who are otherwise less intensively involved with art and for a short time snatch them away from everyday life: because "the work of art is an imaginary island that is surrounded by reality" (|osé Gasset).

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