Nine Urban Biotopes – Negotiating the Future of Urban Living

9UB, Paris - Berlin - London - Turin - Johannesburg - Cape Town
14 Jan 2014

Nine Urban Biotopes – Negotiating the Future of Urban Living (9UB) brings together artists and urban practitioners living and working in cities in Europe and South Africa. From January until September 2014 they will engage in a working process that combines cultural exchange with artistic research and production, in order to reflect upon and make visible global processes and their local impacts.

9UB is an international, socially engaged art project delivering artistic research and cultural exchange. It does this both within and among social citizen and art initiatives in cities in South Africa and Europe in 2014.

The participating initiatives in Paris, Berlin, London, Turin and Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban all distinguish themselves by addressing vital matters of concern with regard to contemporary urban living in innovative ways. They work about and respond to issues of safety and housing, youth and migration, mobility and economical subsistence. They do so »on the ground« and »in the thick of life« in each city, which is the reason why they are referred to as »urban biotopes« giving the overall project its name.

Metropolises have become the central arenas of globalisation and its resulting social developments. Within the cities’ structures, global processes inscribe themselves as »local colourful complexions«.

The aim of 9UB is to establish both a »trans-local« and »trans-continental» dialogue by interweaving and connecting new context-specific, socially engaged art projects into the existing social activities of these biotopes. It does so in order to expose, discuss and share different »intentions, methods and techniques« of imaginative urban practices for building »sustainable cities«.

From January to September 2014, nine artistic projects will produce work and research in nine innovative urban settings. Three projects will run simultaneously; each for a period of three consecutive months. All of them are participatory in their approach; engaging actively with both citizens and initiators of existing innovative urban development projects.

Embedded reporters will represent each process of each participatory arts projects. The citizens of each local participating project will be linked up by means of web-based communication and social networks, and in this way themselves become actors in an »arena of exchange«.

By combining, linking and implementing 9UB within a South African – European partner structure – local answers to global questions can be discussed in such a way that they shed light on sustainable solutions and innovative ideas regarding urban development issues.

From January through March 2014 the project will begin with the artists Marjetica Potrc in Soweto, Antje Schiffers in Cape Town and Athi-Patra Ruga in Berlin.