feld72’s exhibition contribution Caring Infrastructures to Welcome to the Re_Public investigates the potential of the public space during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also aiming to encourage people to think about future uses of the urban street space in particular. The exhibition Welcome to the Re_Public is on display at the Liebling Haus until September 2021.
The “new” normality is shaped by a retreat into the privacy of the home. At the height of the pandemic, public and cultural life was almost brought to a standstill, creating cityscapes shaped by empty streets and vacant public spaces. From one day to the next, the space open to the majority of city dwellers was limited to an absolute minimum. In Tel Aviv, for example, movement was restricted to a radius of just 500 metres, with the home at its centre. This meant that many urban residents were suddenly no longer able to access their personal social network.
Examining the limited field of movement, it becomes clear that the connecting element remaining in times of isolation is the streetscape. As the quintessential public social space, streets make up the bulk of public space and a large part of the urban area. In a city, streets, squares and alleys are places of chance encounters, places to meet and spend time without any obligation to make a purchase. Here, opinions can be freely expressed and diversity prevails, where society is both discussed and made reality. They are shared spaces that remind us that we not only exist as individuals, but are part of a community. In the project Caring Infrastructures, the streetscape becomes a field of experimentation where structures for a new kind of solidarity can be developed in a time of social isolation. Which places of day-to-day interaction can support us in taking care of each other and our environment in this “new” normality? The Caring Infrastructures in the public space aim to foster essential everyday aspects of a civilised society, often overlooked at the height of the pandemic, and to create shared focal points in the city. The Caring Infrastructures collection will be published on the website Catalogue of Possibilities and new ideas will be continually added. The Catalogue of Possibilities will thus become a tool for public discourse on the resilient city of tomorrow, committed to public welfare.
With the support of the Austrian Cultural Forum Tel Aviv, we now have the possibility to open up the Catalogue of Possibilities to the public and invites all interested architects, artists, conceptual thinkers, scholars, urbanists, and creative individuals to submit a proposal for Caring Infrastuctures for the public space. With the Call for Ideas, we aim to foster essential everyday aspects of a civilised society, often overlooked at the height of the pandemic, and to create shared focal points in the city.