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"Staging a Change"
ifa – Institute for International Cultural Relations
Above: © Solmaz Shahbazi.
Above: © Solmaz Shahbazi.
November 25–26, 2017

www.ifa.de
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The forum "Staging a Change," under the artistic direction of Solmaz Shahbazi (Berlin) and co-curated by Azar Mahmoudian (Tehran), is the first one of two public forums in Tehran and Berlin, focusing on the transformation of the capital cities of Iran and Germany by addressing questions about urban design, participation and art in the public space of both cities. As the two-day-long forum brings together Iranian and German architects, artists, sociologists and urbanists, the audience will be introduced to the latest developments in day-to-day discourses and solutions in debates on urban development as well as taking part in an open intercultural dialogue. Both in Tehran and Berlin, gentrification, increasing privatisation and the reclaiming of public space are being examined and negotiated in various forms by institutions, universities and self-organized groups. "Staging a Change" serves as a platform for the exchange of knowledge, analysis and experience.

Almost four decades after the Islamic revolution, Tehran is one of the 30 largest megacities in the world. The revolution (1979) and the first Gulf War (1980 to 1988) transformed both the cityscape and its inhabitants. Today, visual reminders to those times of resistance and defense are increasingly consummated or substituted by gigantic advertisements for products of international companies, luxury goods or new airlines. Historic buildings have to give way to new high-rise buildings and countless shopping malls. The face of the city is in constant change, and the collective identity is in transformation alongside it. Tehran is representative for the megacities of the world that experience challenges of uneven development through globalization and exposure to the free market. Dealing with a growing population, the city is in a state of negotiation between an ideological system and the needs of its inhabitants, who negotiate the future of the city, and its memory.

In times of global capitalism, such transformations are also experienced in a city such as the German capital, Berlin. The formerly divided city, whose districts to this day are characterized by the state ideologies of the FRG and GDR, bears visible traces of its turbulent past, and is also in a constant state of change since the reunification. Especially the coexistence of diverse communities in one city and the increasing gentrification and privatisation, which are most visible in the use of public space, are challenges Berlin is facing.

In both cities, art has played an important role over time, both as epitome of the government plans for urban design and regeneration, and as critical tool, resisting such transformations through aesthetics interventions. This double role of art in the transformation of the urban landscape is to be examined and discussed in hindsight to the economic, socio-political and aesthetic context of the two cities, proposing possibilities for a collective understanding of a global condition that affects our rights over the living space.

With contributions by:
Dr. Masserat Amir Ebrahimi (sociologist and geographer), Nazgol Ansarinia (artist), Farhad Fozouni (designer and educator), Mohammad Ghazali (photographer), Anna Heilgemeir (architect and urban planner), Dr. Anne Huffschmid (cultural scientist, curator and author), Elke Aus dem Moore (head of ifa Visual Arts Department), Homayoun Sirizi (architect, artist and critic), Prof. Jörg Stollmann (professor for Urban Design and Urbanization), Florian Wüst (independent film curator, artist and publisher) and others

Curated by:
Solmaz Shahbazi in collaboration with Azar Mahmoudian

Preliminary programme:

Saturday, November 25, 10am–6:30pm
Opening ceremony, welcome and introduction by Elke aus dem Moore (ifa) and Solmaz Shahbazi (curator), keynotes by Dr. Masserat Amir Ebrahimi and Dr. Anne Huffschmid, presentations by Nazgol Ansarinia, Florian Wüst and Farhad Fozouni, followed by a joint panel discussion: The City and Visual Interventions.

Sunday, November 26, 1:30–8pm
Keynotes by Jörg Stollmann and Anna Heilgemeir, presentations by Homayoun Sirizi et al., followed by a joint panel discussion: Public Space – Civil Rights and Urban Transformation.
Film screening: The City of Tomorrow by Florian Wüst

The forum is open for the public, the entrance is free. For organisational purposes and to inform interested participants on updates in the programme, we kindly ask for your registration at www.ifa.de/stagingachange.

About ifa
As an independent intermediary organisation, ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) is one of the most important institutions for international artistic exchange, shaping foreign cultural and education policy in Germany with its work. Our focus is on the creation of networks and platforms that strengthen intercultural dialogue. ifa encourages the promotion of international art and content-related collaboration between creative artists from Germany and transition countries.

October 24, 2017

location

Tehran