Non-fiction’s Michiel is selected by the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture, known in the Netherlands as Fonds BKVB, to join a group of artists, architects and curators for a 2-week study trip in October 2010. The trip was given the somewhat cryptical title ‘What’s up, what’s down. Cultural catalysts in Urban Space‘, focusing on the way that culture and cultural infrastructure, both formal (museums, festivals, etc.) and informal (underground art and music), are shaping different European cities.
This somewhat bizar trip will take us from post-industrial British cities, including Manchester, Sheffield and Liverpool (European Capital of Culture in 2008) to Marseille in the south of France (chosen to be European Capital of Culture in 2013, and curiously combining Corbusier architecture and French gangster rap) and the Albanian capital Tirana. Their will be a fourth, and final destination, that will be selected based on suggestions from the participants. Expectations are high, especially for Tirana.
When former artist Edi Rama became mayor of the city in 2000 he immediately set upon a controversial project to enliven the troubled Albanian capital by re-painting the city’s decaying buildings in a riotous array of colour and pattern. An aesthetic and political act, which prompted social transformation, and much debate, through its visualization of signs of change. Three years later Rama and the project became the subject of Albanian artist (and friend) Anri Sala’s film, Dammi I Colori. Watch the film and an interview with Rama and Sala: