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Bitter/Weber

Modernist architecture as an interventionist mode of developing specific social conditions and ways of living lies at the core of Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber’s artistic practice. This artist-duo analyzes the transition from mere architecture to living spaces as co-existential units of diverse social groups whose lives are often pushed into “non-spaces” (as Marc Augé has called them) due to the increasing demands placed upon the individual in neoliberal and post-socialist societies.

Linking textual material with historical and architectural image (re)productions of landmark works of architecture and their interiors can serve to reflect the complexity of culturally significant spaces’ image politics. Dealing with architecture as a frame for spatial meaning, the works of Bitter/Weber meet at the interface of modernist structures, new media technologies, and systems of representation. Their photographic and video works create space for engaging with contemporary urban spaces as social environments and as political discourse.

The artists always dedicate their work to specific urban geographies in cities such as Belgrade, Bucharest, Caracas, Paris, Tokyo and Vancouver, where the relationships between citizens and the potentials for altering urban situations are made visible. The thematic focus of these projects often lies on the rhetoric of political failure and crisis-ridden moments, both of which are in conflict with social utopias and the promises of the past. One such project resulted in the book publication “Autogestion or Henri Lefebvre in New Belgrade. This work is based on an unpublished 1986 text by the French philosopher and urban theorist Lefebvre that was part of a competition to design an urban plan for New Belgrade with the architects Serge Renaudie and Pierre Guilbaud, emphasizing the potentials of self-organization by the people of any given territory to counter the failed concepts of urban planning from above (i.e., the state, the city, urban planners). Here, the parameters of Bitter/Weber’s work are exemplified in the analysis of a historical urbanist utopia and its present-day remains.

 

W.S.

Sabine Bitter / Helmut Weber

(collaboration since 1993)

1960, Aigen i. M. / AT; 1957, Dorf a. d. Pram / AT


 

Please follow this link for a selected bibliography available at the ERSTE Foundation Library
(c) Sabine Bitter / Helmut Weber, photo Ben Tiven
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