General Approach

Image (c) Nabil Sami, 2019

Why and how ZK/U implements discourse

ZK/U is generally interested in bringing together global discourses and local practices. More specifically, it’s looking at how art and culture can be a catalyst for transformation in the urban sphere. In this context we are facing various challenges. How can we facilitate collaborations between cultural, public and private sectors to achieve sustainable, inclusive urban development allowing local culture and voices to participate in the decision-making processes?

These challenges come with the question how knowledge transfer between stakeholders with different educational backgrounds, skills and (professional) languages can be best enabled, ideally resulting in tangible projects, which can be grasped by practical experience. As we are considering global challenges, such as migration, climate change and an ever more powerful digital sphere, democratic political systems are increasingly under pressure to come up with quick and manageable solutions. This is highly challenging, because the issues to be solved are often complex and take thoughtful, long-term planning in order to achieve sustainable effects. In addition, participatory practices, i.e. finding the right balance between decision-making based on citizen involvement and expert knowledge, are institutionally not well developed.

Through its work, ZK/U tries to demonstrate the feasibility of participatory, urban, artistic practices. ZK/U tries to strengthen the trust in inclusive institutions, while maintaining a critical perspective, examining the flaws in existing institutional structures and making them more accessible and resilient.  ZK/U sees the need for better understanding and acknowledging the fast urban developments in the so-called emerging economies and the social and political changes coming with these developments. How can mutual learning processes on a global level be fostered? Can art create new perspectives on social issues in a global context? Can it help to build a network of reliable and respectful relations?  

ZK/U initiates the creation of digital and analogue spaces for dialogue and exchange, which help foster mutual learning processes between decision-making voices and disseminators from less economically privileged regions. From artistic research to action: ZK/U encourages and initiates the involvement in urban development projects. It conceptualizes, produces and hosts fresh perspectives on the public realms of cities. By scaling small site-specific artistic interventions to become prototypes ZK/U encourages artists to become a voice in the urban political discussion.