A project realized in the context of a residency program thematized around art in public space at Laznia CCA. Laznia CCA was established in Nowy Port, Gdansk, in the framework of a revitalization programme in 2013. One of its aims is to engage strategies of contemporary art in the renewal processes of the neighbourhood. At the time of the residency very few district inhabitants entered the building, or were interested in accessing contemporary art.
As an international, non-Polish-speaking artist invited to remediate the status of the contemporary arts centre in a district indifferent to the incursions of contemporary art, my project intended to reflect the expectations of the residency, and resist the instrumentalization of art and art institutions in the service of real estate development, and gentrification.
My project was to conduct an exchange of office spaces. For the duration of one month, five of the art institution’s employees moved out of their offices to available desks at a nearby social services centre dedicated to supporting members of the local community struggling with poverty, unemployment, and addiction (Centre for Integration).
Youth 180°, an organization that works with local youth, took up residence in the vacated office spaces in Laznia CCA, temporarily re-signifying the building, and bringing their clients into the arts centre who would otherwise not enter. One of the main organizers of Youth 180° had used the previously abandoned building that CCA Laznia now occupies to make art before it was renovated into the arts institution.
Through this three-way exchange the project created circumstances for links to be built amongst local organizations, for skills, resources, and information to be shared, and for the employees at CCA Laznia to be more deeply embedded in the issues and struggles of the district.