Michael Rakowitz‘s project, The Visionaries / A KÉPZELET ÉPÍTÉSZEI was created for his residency at Trafó House of Contemporary Arts in Budapest as part of Art in General’s Eastern European Residency Exchange.
Rakowitz describes his project as follows:
Visionary architecture, while often optimistically broadcasting a wish or desire, is simultaneously rooted in inevitable failure. Often relegated to models, drawings, and other incarnations of the paper project, these proposals remain theoretical or unbuilt due to various circumstances, ranging from sheer feasibility, to political or financial circumstances. The residual idea exists as a pragmatic metaphor, a statement demanding a culture capable of enabling its existence, a poetic critique of reality.
In the midst of Hungary’s national election season, I made myself available in public spaces around Budapest and by appointment to collaborate with citizens in the creation of visionary architectural collages that address the many demolished buildings and empty lots—commonly referred to as “missing teeth”—created as a result of “urban renewal” projects in the VII District and elsewhere. Wearing a sandwich board that is derived from the temporary structures that display political campaign posters around Budapest, I walked the streets of the city. When removed from the body, the board transforms into a portable drafting studio, complete with supplies and seating. Participants were asked to enlist their dreams and visions as an representational tool to ignite discussion and a critical perspective in an effort to construct alternative visual possibilities that reach beyond the ideas of investors who are influencing the future of these sites.
The resulting drawings are displayed in Trafo Gallery in four suspended pavilions, part of an environment arranged according to Hungarian architect Yona Friedman’s sketch for La Ville Spatiale from 1958—a visionary project for a city that would accommodate the free will of its citizens and would be suspended on a framework above the existing urban space, avoiding any displacement of what came before.
This residency and exhibition are part of Art in General’s Eastern European Residency Exchange (EERE) gives artists an opportunity to create a new work in a new context, and to meet and interact with art communities in Eastern Europe and New York City. Michael Rakowitz was nominated by Art in General to Trafó Gallery in Budapest, Hungary .