Recidency at Transforma, laboratory for contemporary arts /Torres Vedras /Portugal
Ana Paula Albé
ELECTION TO THE LOCAL MINESTRY OF HAPPINESS
Architectural Triennale, Lisbon and Transforma / Torres Vedras /Portugal
The election for the local ministry of happiness is an intervention and initative to catalyse dialogue on values, active citizenship and forms of governance. Depending on the local response and context, it can turn into an alternative political platform, a community driven initiative, a school project or other and it can also be designed as a participatory art-piece with a duration of ca 1-3 h.
The first edition of the election to the local ministry of happiness was part of the re-everything residency project at Transforma, laboratory for contemporary arts Torres Vedras.
In parallel to the real municipal election, the election of the local Ministry of Happiness was announced. There were voting papers and ballot boxes distributed in 30 public places in this small town, asking for the qualities of the person who should be the minister of Happiness of Torres Vedras.
The Ministry made an impact on the media, being invited to a talk show on the national channel RTP and giving an interview to Correio da Manhã, a national newspaper.
It went to the Lisbon architecture triennial for a week with installations, a conversation piece and workshops as part of the exhibition ”Embassy of No Land”, a project by Paulo Moreira and Kiluanji Kia Henda, part of the exhibition The Real and Other Fictions, curated by Mariana Pestana.
One ambassador of the election in Torres Vedras was the high school Henriques Nogueira where two teachers invited the artists to run workshops with five classes of students over three weeks, exploring the themes of the election and happiness from all the senses. The culmination of this informal education workshop program was an afternoon assembly with ninety students. The discussions about active citizenship and values were relevant to other aspects of the curriculum and the school intends to continue this both as a classroom based and workshop-based project.
Transforma, laboratory for contemporary arts
Architectural triennale / CLOSE, CLOSER – Embaixada da Terra Nenhuma
The Real and Other Fictions:
Newspaper review on the triennale overall:
LIVING LIBRARY OF PRESENT KNOWLEDGE
The Living Library of Present Knowledge is an open platform gathering all the knowledge, ability and ideas that people in a community or neighbourhood and beyond want to make available to each other.
The knowledge offered can be practical or poetic, useful or fun; the important thing is to make it visible and accessible through this platform. The library is always open to new entries, it works both as deposit of contents and archive of discovery. On an on-going basis the library is designed as a database for consulting and “borrowing” experts you need, but also to respect and value the richness of what is there, so it works as display / installation / exhibition as much as functional networking tool. By filling in a card you join this network and open yourself up to the invitation of sharing everyone’s knowledge.
The first living library of present knowledge was launched in Torres Vedras, as part of the project : re-everything, residency at transforma laboratory for contemporary arts.
Following a period of rooting and working within the community, the library was inaugurated at the Casa das Trocas (Swap house) a social economy project at an empty house in Torres Vedras.
Some members were present to share their skills right away, and many new members joined by filling in cards with their expertise.The library is conceived as a replicable installation that can be accessed in multiple locations simultaneously. It is currently displayed at the window of the Torres Vedras city hall gallery.
RE-STREET are a series of street signs- exact replicas of the tiled and logoed street signs of a place, blurring the line of daily life reality and art. The new signs are designed to accommodate poetic dialogues and reinforce the potential for social relation and interactions in the city. They give very real and clear invitations to overlap an emotional layer and function on the city map.
The first edition of Street Signs were developed as part of the residency project re-everything.
18 Signs were placed throughout the old city of this small town on carefully chosen spots. Overa 3 weeks period the engaged a wide range of the population in conversations, reflections and discovery.They have been so well received that from being an artistic project with a 6 weeks permission by the City Hall, they were discussed to become a permanent element of the cityscape.
Is a participatory choreography of 2 to 4 hours duration. Guided by a booklet, a group of up to 100 people are invited into a space of sensitive meetings and discovery. Triggered by actions participants do together, sensory exploration, and invitations for conversations beyond the usual, a different social fabric emerges, relations are enhanced, and possibilities for collective action revisited, surfaced and released.
The first edition of re-everything: the celebrationwas taking place in Torres Vedras, as part of the re-everything residency at transforma, laboratory for contemporary arts.
In the residency project’s frame of re-evaluating our perception of prosperity and lack,it was a celebration of the simple, the daily and the close encounters with each other, pointing at the immediate abundance possible right now, if inhabited, claimed and taken care of.The about 4 hour long celebration happened in different locations in the old city of Torres Vedras, and pointed also at a different use of well known city spaces.The celebration included the launching of the living library of present knowledge of Torres Vedras and the first Assembly of the Local Ministry of Happiness of Torres Vedras, among other.It brought together a diverse group of people of all ages from all corners of the community, thus inviting for a different net of relations amongst each other.
The event was not publicly announced, but relied on the participation and network emerging through a series of community projects and actions in public space throughout 2 month time previous to the event.
There is one country in the world, where the measurement of wealth is not the Gross national product but the Gross National Happiness. Inspired by this fact, and in the light of economical and environmental challenges that we are facing this project tunes in on surfacing and re-evaluating what we give value to, and opens a space for actions. It intends to create a dialogue on what we really need- and where to root happiness?
Throughout this residency in Torres Vedras a parallel city will emerge, subtly surfaced on the ev- eryday reality. Interventions in the public space will captivate people’s attention and invite them to imagine and engage in a space of exchange, conversations and dialogue.
Simultaneously specific ambassadors will carry knowledge about the process through different channels of the community, and be links to different parts of society as well as function as advisors for the project. This will culminate in an event in October for a participative act of shared space celebrating the hidden abundance of the community and present an investigation over richness and lack.
Drawing on multiple aspects that make up a city and a community the project identifies concrete resources and places them in a new context to release potential. It aims on creating awareness on our perception of prosperity and zooms in on ways of dealing with material things, basic resources such as food, as well as skills, ideas and the connections between people. It points at re-evaluating useful heritage of local production and exchange, and the value of things that might go unnoticed, discuss how we create value and what are parallel values to the economic system we are used to.