In collaboration with MUTE Magazine, this Wiretap examined the old German saying "Stadtluft macht frei" or 'the city air liberates'. Dating from medieval times, the city was seen as the place where notions of freedom, citizenship and independence could come to fruition. However, is the urban condition still considered as a means that can stimulate and accelerate social and cultural change? In short: Macht die Stadtluft noch immer frei?
In the fifties and sixties the Situationists formulated a radical critique on capitalist power structures and consumer culture, by mapping public space as a political locus of action and cultural creation. Central to their theories was the remaking of urban space in which individual experiences become protagonists, and where cultural intervention is viewed as a political act.
Taking this historical note into account, how do cultural practitioners manage the fabric of the city today? Cultural organisations have increasingly been attributed a cleansing value through processes of gentrification and regeneration (e.g. the revamping of de Witte de Withstraat in Rotterdam). Yet, how radical can these organisations claim to be when their culture becomes a currency in the urban political agenda? Is there still a culture-critical wind of change in the city?
The participants of Wiretap 7.05 surfed between these tensions, often in the wind's eye