RE-IMAGINING THE AGORA – CREATING MICRO-SPACES OF EXCHANGE
The Ancient Athenian Agora is the first public space we know, a place where the economic, political and cultural spheres intersected, people gathered, and questions around how we want to live together were discussed.
Inspired by such social practices, Re-imagining the Agora sought to create micro public spaces where encounter between people can happen, to initiate small possibilities to learn about and from each other, and to stimulate questioning, and possibly collective thinking and imagination. The project worked through a series of interventions in different cities, and specifically in one space in Tbilisi – an underpass, which is also a market, and opens out to a park. It used a mix of performance and installation processes, and included one word interventions around the questions which word would you teach to a foreigner and what is important to you about this place in one word, displaying the words contributed to people and observing the personal exchange which these words, thoughts and the space created gave rise to, played with sentences creating a joint story of the underpass, and the set-up of an imaginary news-board to display headlines people thought should be in the news and creating a discussion around those, an imaginary newspaper and a theory walk with democracy.
The interventions worked literally i.a. with Aristotle’s thinking that ‘what makes it worthwhile to live together is the sharing of words and thought’, the original meaning of Greek words such as ‘theoria’, Castoriadis’ social imaginary of the instituting society, and Ober’s writing on democracy understood as empowered people/ capacity to do things, and played with the element of being a foreigner without knowledge of the language.