Re-Charting Places @ Designs for Vulnerable Memories

Article on Hybrid Space Lab’s work on contested monuments is published in book “Designs for Vulnerable Memories”.

Article
Re-Charting Places
@ Contested Spaces – Concerted Projects: Designs for Vulnerable Memories
April 2021
LetteraVentidue Edizioni, Syracuse, Italy

Re-Charting Places

In our globalized world the accelerating speed of socio-political and cultural change collides with the longue-durée of heritage sites and territories. As social and political contexts around places with a public meaning change, controversies often arise. Debates surrounding the future of these places are characterized by conflict, and opposing voices and claims with stasis hampering debates, resulting in impasse.

What is necessary, then, is envisioning, developing and designing solutions that enable observers – be they experts, researchers, non professionals, practitioners – to “look, and look again”, to rethink places and landscapes anew. The possibility to look at these places under a new light is the gateway to meaningful processes of re-signification of their wider public meaning, too.

To facilitate decisive new gazes and outlooks on such places, Hybrid Space Lab relies on a broad range of detachment and crossover strategies, combining the digital and the physical into eye-opening solutions. These span from transformative, provocative projections which promise to essentially overturn a place’s power dynamics such as in the Berlin projects “Humboldt Jungle” and “Humboldt Volcano” or to transform its negative space character such as in the project “DMZpace” to an outsider’s gaze approach allowing to work on the Valle de los Caídos monument without physically touching it …

Editors: Cristina F. Colombo and Jacopo Leveratto
Contributors: Michela Bassanelli, Marcella Camponogara, Cristina F. Colombo, Madalina Ghibusi, Hybrid Space Lab (Elizabeth Sikiaridi and Frans Vogelaar), Vladan Jeremić, Francesca Lanz, Jacopo Leveratto, Elena Montanari, Rena Rädle.

European cultural heritage is inherently complex and layered. In the past, conflicting or controversial perspectives on different historical memories and experiences have been colliding in the rich cultural landscape of Europe and continue to do so in the present. Contemporary projects of re-activation of contentious spaces seem to challenge both the traditional design parameters and the role of spatial practitioners. They require new strategies that effectively mix top-down and bottom-up impulses, through a new design approach that is still in search of a clear definition. Contested Spaces, Concerted Projects collects the stories of some selected cases of difficult built heritage, in order to highlight the most innovative methodologies of re-activation, by which architects, artists, designers and collectives have developed new participatory public interfaces.

Book cover Humboldt Jungle by Hybrid Space Lab