CIVIC Swansea

CIVIC: Considering the City, Architecture, Art and the
Urban Environment

Mission Gallery • 12th April – 2nd June 2014

CIVIC is intended as an interrogation the city, an invitation to propose architectural and other interventions for a number of sites across Swansea; a process of observation and speculation to create an imaginative, discursive and creative space within the gallery.

How will the city be investigated? A number of local architectural practices, makers, writer and artists will be asked to participate and a number of sites and themes identified. Architects, artists and writers will be asked to produce or propose responses to a site, pairing an architect with another practitioner for each site (the term site may be expanded to incorporate the idea of ‘between sites’ or other interpretations).

Before the exhibition architects, artists, writers, academics, residents and makers will ‘walk and talk’ the city and start to approach the questions it poses.

It is hoped that the project will combine contributors with a deep knowledge of the city, those who have lived and worked in Swansea over time, with those who bring thoughts and ideas from other locations. The exhibition will acknowledge the skills already present in the city and create a forum for discussion between local professionals and those with knowledge from of elsewhere.

The gallery and period of the exhibition will provide a location and point of presentation within a potentially longer investigation. Week by week, after an initial period focused on activities for children during the Easter holidays, the exhibition will focus on each site – considering models and documentation for discussion, and scheduling events or the temporary placement of work at each site.

What will the investigation reveal? Problems, cultural richness, basic practical needs, unknown histories..? Why would interventions be created, what could they be and with what intended outcomes?

What is the relationship between the physical structure of the city, the occupation and use of this space by people, as residents, pedestrians, drivers, shoppers, makers and workers – or by wildlife – and the range of cultural, commercial and political frameworks through we read and understand the space?

The idea of ‘knowing’ the city will be proposed to counterbalance the notion of urban space as problem. Psycho-geographical readings of the city and literary and cinematic depictions describe and reframe the city without requiring resolution. How can these practices inform and interact with architectural proposals? How can visual artists mediate between the conceptual and the material? Can makers and crafts people find technological solutions to small problems, with big results?