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Art Basel’s Messeplatz: Immersive Projects Connecting the City

Art Basel’s Messeplatz: Immersive Projects Connecting the City – Lara Almarcegui, Isabel Lewis and Recetas Urbanas to collaborate on a public project for Basel’s Messeplatz, presented by Creative Time and commissioned by Art Basel.

Everything About Conversations Program for Art Basel 2018 (1)

Conceived by artists Lara Almarcegui, Isabel Lewis and Santiago Cirugeda-led architecture studio Recetas Urbanas, ‘Basilea’ encourages reflection on a city’s possibilities through a series of immersive projects connecting the city of Basel, its residents and the over 90,000 visitors who attend Art Basel annually. A Creative Time project commissioned by Art Basel, ‘Basilea’ will open to the public on May 23, 2018, culminating the week of Art Basel. The project marks Creative Time’s first international public commission and the first collaboration between the artists. Art Basel, whose Lead Partner is UBS, will take place at Messe Basel from June 14 to June 17, 2018.

‘Basilea’ is Elvira Dyangani Ose’s first project as Senior Curator at Creative Time. The project aims to create awareness of the active role we, as citizenry, have to intervene and alter any given urban environment, at an individual and collective level, encouraging discussions about the use and ownership of public space. The project includes a collectively built structure, a large-scale installation, a series of workshops, events and hosted occasions.

Everything About Conversations Program for Art Basel 2018 (1)

Samuel Leuenberger Curates 23 Artworks at Art Basel's Parcours (1)

Recetas Urbanas, led by architect Santiago Cirugeda, is working with local and international volunteers to collectively design and build a multi-purpose civic structure, using locally sourced and second-hand materials. Participants learn from and teach each
other through collective exchange and collaboration. During its construction and upon completion, the civic structure will be open to all and activated by programs and performances. Following the close of the 2018 edition of Art Basel, the structure will be relocated and given to one of the local organizations that participated in its construction, thus extending the significance and utility of the project long after the show concludes.

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Surrounding Recetas Urbanas’ civic structure, artist Lara Almarcegui orchestrates a large-scale installation of gravel deposits from an active quarry, from June 11 to June 15. Growing daily in increments, mirroring the average volume of gravel extracted from a Basel quarry, the work serves as an invitation to reflect on the consequences of our extractive relationship to the land. In conjunction, Almarcegui encourages you to visit Basel’s abandoned quarries using her publication which contains information about these ‘wastelands’ now awaiting a new function.The publication is free and available to the public on site.

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Drawing upon her training in cultural criticism, dance and philosophy Isabel Lewis has conceived a series of workshops and occasions engaging the public through new modes of addressal, inviting us to rethink notions of ‘self’ and ‘community’. The work facilitates spaces for experimentation and play, where members of the public determine their own trajectories and levels of engagement. The public workshops which will take place on the Messeplatz in the weeks leading up to and continuing  through the week of the show function as a meeting point for practices that, in Lewis’s view, can form situated and intimate relations with urban space.

Samuel Leuenberger Curates 23 Artworks at Art Basel's Parcours (1)

For her contribution to Basilea Lewis works closely with Berlin-based percussionist and composer Colin Hacklander who leads the sonic activations creating opportunities to listen in an expanded sense-to sounds, music, and the vibrations of urban material: urban life and nonlife. Hacklander introduces an original score made for multiple Basel drum “cliques,” engaging the centuries-old tradition of Swiss Rudimental Drumming and its unique Basel-born iteration. At the closing of the daily activities participants spread throughout the area, evincing the specific sonic identities of the Messeplatz within a stochastic composition of individual drum hits before reconvening to present traditional drumming from their repertoire.

Program Highlights

Friday, June 15, 2018

1pm to 2pm | Conversations on Messeplatz | Self-Construction, Self-Governance Santiago Cirugeda, Architect, Recetas Urbanas, and ‘Basilea’ Artist, Sevilla; David Juárez Latimer-Knowles, Architect, Founding Member of Straddle3, Barcelona; Patti Anahory, Architect, Cape Verde Moderator: Baharak Tajbakhsh, Architect, Basel

Saturday, June 16, 2018

1pm to 2pm | Conversations on Messeplatz | On Wastelands and Mineral Rights Anna Minton, Journalist and Reader in Architecture at the UEL, London; Emily Scott, Assistant Professor, History of Art & Architecture and Environmental Studies, University of Oregon, Portland/Zurich; Manuel Herz, Architect, Basel Moderator: Lara Almarcegui, ‘Basilea’ Artist, Rotterdam

Sunday, June 17, 2018

1pm to 2pm | Conversations on Messeplatz | Techne Techno Tech Isabel Lewis, ‘Basilea’ Artist, Dancer, Electronic Music Producer, Berlin; Claire Tancons, Curator, Writer, Researcher, Sharjah Biennial 14 Curator, New Orleans; Catherine Wood, Senior Curator, International Art (Performance), Tate Modern, London Moderator: Andrea Lissoni, Senior Curator, International Art (Film), Tate Modern, London

For the full program please visit:

‘Basilea’ is a Creative Time project commissioned by Art Basel and will be on display on Messeplatz from May 23 to June 17, 2018.

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