In its second year, AA Visiting School Slovenia continued its development and execution of nanotourist strategies in the town of Vitanje, Slovenia.
Students continued with the initially researched topics of Exhibition hotel in KSEVT, Accommodation Strategies in Vitanje and Objects of Activation within the realm of local vs planetary. These stimulated students to develop four completely different strategic projects at a scale of 1:1.
A three week research, design and make course focused on the strategies of nanotourism, allowing participants to engage in a wide range of projects: from site-specific micro interventions at a 1:1 scale to holistic strategies for existing contexts. The students had to develop adapted projects that had to materialize as actions or structures, temporary or permanent, ultimately seeking to create a comprehensible, tangible and novel experience of the building and institution of KSEVT and Vitanje. Within the contemporary economic realities, the workshop aimed for small and smart solutions that relied on local resources, and pursued innovative design and financing alternatives that bypass major institutions and established spatial planning bureaucracy.
The course took place at the new, highly specific building KSEVT, Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies, a bold landmark in the tiny Slovenian village of Vitanje of 800 residents that has welcomed over 25,000 visitors in its first year of activity. KSEVT has a public significance and generates social, cultural, and scientific activities, with fixed and temporary exhibitions, conferences and club/study activities. There is an open need and an exposed potential of Vitanje to become a case study of developing an extreme set of bottom up strategies or prototypes to challenge the conventional notion of tourism.
The key teaching agenda of AAVS Slovenia is to research and promote the process of creation that stretches beyond ‘design’. The process is equally as important as the final project itself. A simple process diagram was introduced to the students at the beginning of the course: ‘research’, ‘design’ and ‘make’ activities have to be successively organised in a recurrent process to create a closed circle that has to be perpetually repeated to generate refined, specific and sharp results. Following this bottom-up process of design development and starting with initial elements of research, decision-making and prototyping, these had to be gradually organised at higher levels of understanding, in order to produce more complex structures and holistic design solutions.
Exhibition hotel in KSEVT, Accommodation Strategies in Vitanje and Objects of Activation were three proposed topics that stimulated students to develop and test, at a scale of 1:1, four strategic projects.
Aljoša Dekleva, Michael Obrist
Jakob Travnik, Blaž Šef
Visiting experts in juries and tutorials:
Elke Krasny - Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna
Tina Gregorič - dekleva gregoric architects, TU Wien
Miha Turšič – director KSEVT
Dragan Živadinov – KSEVT and post-gravity theatre
Sven Jonke - NUMEN / For Use
Vasa Perović – Bevk Perović arhitekti, Faculty for Arch. Ljubljana
Matej Blenkuš - Abiro, Facutly of Arch. Ljubljana
Blaž Šef – actor, KSEVT Vitanje
Blaž Jemc - TravelStarter
Gabriele Pitacco – Italy
Denis Hitrec – Slovenia
Eva Vasilevska – Macedonia
Marin Berović – Croatia
Gregor Mljač – Slovenia
Sabina Marov – Croatia
Johanna Machunze – German
Danica Sretenovič – Serbian
Nuša Zupanc – Slovenia
Martina Mataija – Croatia
Asena Colak – Turkey
Katarina Bošnjak – Bosnia and Hercegovina
Sanja Bušatlić – Bosnia and Hercegovina
Tina Čerpnjak – Slovenia
Francesca Gatello - Italy
Zeno Franchini - Italy
Moritz Benatzky - Austria
Florian Hummer - Austria
Can KSEVT be a playground? We are triggering unconventional ways of body movement and individual experience of each visitor of KSEVT by a specific spatial intervention. Referring to an old children game, we have designed a spatial intervention which will induce visitor’s various body movements in space that will provide a dynamic bodily experience. We have used participatory action research to create interactive experience to understand diverse experience of individual transition through given space. We have created two objects for twofold experience: the outdoor object works as a permanent 3D playground in a form of a cube intertwined by climbing ropes, whereas the indoor object is upgrading KSEVT’s central space, shifting the perception end physical experience of unique round indoor space of KSEVT.
The project wants to expand the experience of the existing exhibition in KSEVT and wants to offer to the visitor the experience of the outer space which will connect the local with the planetary. In the surrounding hillsides of Vitanje there will be deployed objects from which the visitor can observe the specifities of Vitanje in relation with KSEVT and planetary phenomena. Hillsides are crowded by trembling »stars«. The experience point is alineating the visitors from everything known to him and allows him to experience multiple sunsets. Austronauts in outer space are experienceing 16 sunsets in one day. The visitor will be guided from KSEVT to individual experience point by a local person.
Together with the community of Vitanje, we have created an unique landscape installation to demonstrate the potential of space technology beyond its purely technical aspects. It is a social project, starting from a simple participatory event to show the world how a community can communicate with the whole planet and the outer space. On Wednesday, July the 15th, 2015, local and visiting population has created a land art sign writing the phrase “DON’T PANIC” on the hillside above Vitanje. The event and the formation has been documented on several layers, with a drone, a small airplane and a satellite.
Why is Vitanje with KSEVT in a unique position of communicating the “DON’T PANIC” message? The phase refers to Douglas Adams novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, where the phrase is featured on the cover of the fictional guide book. Further more, Arthur C. Clarke, who new Noordung’s book featured in KSEVT, communicates to us that “Douglas Adams’ use of don’t panic was perhaps the best advice that could be given to humanity”.
Today’s global society is facing several conditions of uncertainty. Whether this is directed towards global issues of inequality, climate change, peace and dialogue – to only mention a few – or the more individual everyday life all of us are being challenged with – sometimes a simple and direct phrase is enough to remind each of us that, like everything else, we can face it.
We have looked at the contents of the institution od KSEVT and it’s programme of culturalisation of space through the participation of local inhabitants at building up structures through which they represent their own understanding and participation to the “yet unseen”. With the ambition of expansion of the public programme surrounding KSEVT, we have invaded already existing structures, with which we stimulate new rituals of use and understanding of everyday structures in relation to the planetary experience. In this way we stimulate collective awareness of the new bond of Vitanje community with the existing programme of KSEVT.
Photo credits: Ajda Schmidt and AA Visiting School Slovenia archive
AA Visiting School Slovenia 2015 was made possible by the following sponsors: