B_Tour Belgrade

Quick look at B_Tour Belgrade (Facebook), from the team which brought you B_Tour Berlin and ran from 26-28 September:

The festival examines current needs of urban life and how artistic strategies can be used as a tool to explore possible answers to these needs…The tours deal with civil participation in public space, urban life and its socio-historical context. They are led either by the artists in person or the artists’ narrations in the form of audio tours, instruction guides/texts or maps.

12 tours by international and local artists, plus two talks, on local cultural urban initiatives and their artistic practices, and on the politics of public space and the idea of a participatory city.

Tours of particular interest:

  • Audio walk: Savamala – the story of an elderly resident of Savamala who retells its history through the memories of his childhood, comparing its past with its present and inviting the listener to think about its future; see Spuren Suche
  • B-B – Berlin and Belgrade, “two cities that have much in common but are yet so different. The tour will take you through two cities at once: one visited ‘live’ and the other presented interactively through visual and audio material, showing some surprising similarities and highlighting the transformations taking place. Can we feel one city while walking through another?”; see vid for some nice overlays, esp at the Reichstag (at around 0:45)
  • B-mapping – audio tour of the everyday, created from the stories, experiences, ideas and dreams of anyone who has a connection to Belgrade; see also have you ever been to Belgrade? and the JIAC B-mapping Belgrade project
  • I’m a stranger – “on the one hand the city is a site of meetings and exchanges, criss-crossing networks of personal routes and private maps; on the other it is an environment where one can easily get lost among the boundless number of strangers; this tour allows participants a double experience and a dual role: first as a map-maker, recording their own path; then as a map-reader, following a stranger’s route and seeing the city through their eyes”
  • Reversed cartography: from online map to the streets of Vracar – the participants of the Days of Remembrance workshop who made the Vracar map will come out of their virtual presence to tell their stories in person (also seen at Living Maps April)
  • Temporary viewing platforms – visiting places that offer a wide or interesting view; usually not accessible to the public, such as private apartments and public buildings with limited access, flat rooftops and open terraces, seeing the same landscape from different angles; takes place in two peripheral residential areas
  • The better the coffee the longer the queue – mapping the effects of the Belgrade Waterfront redevelopment project on the Savamala area and its historic coffee shops, as well as Belgrade’s culture in general; “through history Savamala embodied a specific spirit, not only as a border area between two empires (Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman), but also a place of great importance for a growing Belgrade”
  • Die Wohnung – Bauhaus in Belgrade?

Lots of audio, and history, to ponder. See also the Belgrade Sound Map and Kulturklammer (again).

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B_Tour Berlin

Update: Urbane Räume in Berlin (vid) from Alex TV

B _ Tour Berlin, an “international art festival of guided tours”, ran from 8-10 August, moving on to Belgrade from 26-28 September. An interview with Artconnect Berlin and article in Exberliner give good spiel, but in practice artiness may well have been on a sliding scale, as at #metropolis13:

On a route through the public space, a guide leads an audience along a narrative and is therefore a narrator interpreting the urban space. A B_Tour generates an interaction between a guide, an audience and a space. B_Tours are engaging in the sense that they call for participation and enable exchange. A B_Tour questions the convention of a guided-tour and challenges its format. It is conscious of the existence of multiple narratives and truths therefore it does not provide “The True” perception of a space. A B_Tour is not a spectacle. It is not a conventional touristic “alternative city tour”.

Guiding lights are “an exciting group of young women from all over Europe and its surroundings. We are a young and enthusiastic team, in our twenties or early thirties, at the beginning of our professional careers”…could maybe do with a bit of native English copywriting assistance and general adjective pruning. See the list of tours (15 presented by 26 artists/urbanists from 12 countries), events on Facebook, discussion panels. Twitter: @B_Tour_Festival but little action traced.

Taps into all the contemporary memes, eg slow food (Field of sensibilities in the community gardens of the Tempelhofer Feld), climate change (Microclimate mapping), urban nature (Strays), but rather too much play and headphone wearing involved. Smart walking?

Tours I would have been tempted to participate in, were I lucky enough to be living in Berlin:

  • Audiodrom – audio walk through the Velodrome Park, “surrounded by tall grey buildings and housing blocks, an artificial green plateau with apple trees and wild high grass plateau which appears out of nowhere, like a surreal oasis”
  • B-B – Berlin and Belgrade, “two cities that have much in common but are yet so different. The tour will take you through two cities at once: one visited ‘live’ and the other presented interactively through visual and audio material, showing some surprising similarities and highlighting the transformations taking place. Can we feel one city while walking through another?”; see also have you ever been to Belgrade? and B-mapping Belgrade
  • The Berlin Circle Audio Walk – from the Berliner Ensemble to Checkpoint Charlie and the Pergamon Museum with dialogue from Charles Mee’s Berlin Circle, a collage­-like collection of events set on 9 November 1989
  • Die Wohning – exploring Berlin’s Bauhaus settlement; see vid

For more Berlin walking goodness see the Berlin tag on the A/drift tumblr. From the write-up in Slow Travel Berlin:

Some examine the city in terms of memory, others in terms of movement, and still others in terms of microclimate; but regardless of their particular subject or approach, each tour has the potential to unlock some of the magic hiding within the urban spaces of Berlin.