Ştefan RUSU

public space / projects

Block 89

Ursynov district, Warsaw, 2010.

“Block 89” is an attempt to re-read the meaning of socialist habitat and the social transformations that occurred after 1989. The core element and the departure point of the project is the act of entering a socialist residential block, which enables exploration of facets of Soviet modernism. In this particular case, a replica of an entrance into a social housing block (Brezhnev period, USSR in the 1970s) is used as a reference. Another important element is the back side of the wall, accessible through a passage in the form of a flexible wooden bridge that ends with a trampoline. Conceptually speaking, the wall divides the scene into two parts: before (Socialism) and after (Capitalism)

The situation before reenacts daily experience in front of a residential block (socialising, barbecues, playing chess or badminton, etc.) or just hanging around, as children do. The entrance into the building carries the idea of the passage through the period of transition in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Communist regime. The entrance to the building relates to former rituals, but it also conveys the meaning of a break through time and not-so-distant memories. The tradition of passing trough gates during public celebrations/demonstrations was one of the most important rituals, as it was also the case with celebrations of the most important holidays for Socialist societies (7th of November, 1st of May, etc.).The situation after deals with the unexpected social, economic and political change that occurred in the former Socialist societies. The other side of the wall can be reaches through a wooden passage that ends up with a sport trampoline (for gymnastics or water jumps) that turns things upside down. The function of the passage is to allow visitors to experience the situation before and be free to jump over on the trampoline in order to survive and enjoy life in the situation after.

BLOCK-89 was part of THE KNOT – a mobile platform for artistic presentation and production, traveling to Berlin, Warsaw and Bucharest in 2010. In each of the three cities, it stops for a few weeks, inhabiting different areas of public space, and offering itself as an open space of encounter, exchange and experimentation. The project is conceived by Markus Bader (raumlabor berlin), Oliver Baurhenn (DISK/CTM), Jakub Szreder (freelance curator) and Raluca Voinea (E-cart.ro).