Kunst og Fellesskapets Rom (Art and Common Space) brings together art and architecture students in an experimental forum aimed at rethinking issues of public space. The course consists of lectures, sketch projects (student work produced spontaneously in a single day and presented the following day), longer workshops, events, study trips and discussion seminars. All of the lectures and many of the projects have been open for public attendance. Each semester has been organized around loose themes. Over the past three years these have included `spatial processes`, `politics and space`, `time`, `collaborations`, `senses and spaces`, and `creative journeys`. The theme for Autumn 2009 is dialogue and collaboration between the Arts and Sciences.
The concept `public space` comes to us under many guises and names, for instance `social`, `communal` and `third` space. This variety indicates that there is in fact a lively debate going on around the concept. Art and Common Space is a part of this discourse born out of dissatisfaction with traditional categories and definitions. Kunst og Fellesskapets Rom has attempted to create a pause, an experimental space counter to this linear and divisive way of thinking and working.
Students participating in the programme are encouraged to extend themselves beyond their comfort zone: to experiment with and share ideas outside of their training and expertise. Invited lecturers from all over the world from the fields of art, science, architecture, art history and philosophy introduce radically new and unusual approaches to common space for discussion in the agora-like forum that is Kunst Arken, Art and Common Space’s home at the Art Academy (KIT). At the same time students take the opportunity to offer up and translate aspects of their own studio or project practices for collaborative work and discussion. The atmosphere is a productive blend of the consensual and the agonistic. At the heart of the programme is the impulse to re-invent common space from an academic, practical, but also an everyday or `common` perspective. Equally important is the programme’s emphasis on unusual and highly creative approaches to issues of public space. Art and Common Space offers a space for thinking, and for spontaneous and creative re-making and re-fashioning of the very idea of public space.