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Lab: Alt Art, Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Robots and Avatars, Kinect-based dance workhop. Foto Vaczi Roland.


AltArt promotes digital culture and aims to strengthen the Romanian cultural sector, contributing to promoting the impact of culture on societal development through research, debates, networking and policy work.

AltArt is a founding member of Fabrica de Pensule Federation – an independent collective art space contemporary arts in Cluj, Romania (2009-), a founding member of the Cluj-Napoca 2020 European Capital of Culture Association, Istvan Szakats, the president of AltArt is member of the Board of the association. AltArt is also one of the founders of the Cluj 2020 Initiative, a group of Cluj based intellectuals and experts to provide expertise in the preparations of the city of Cluj for the application to the European Capital of Culture title (2010-), and a member in the initiative A Soul for Europe – a European wide civic initiative advocating for the importance of culture in European development. A Soul for Europe promotes partnership among cultural operators and the political and business sphere. It established a working group in the European Parliament and the first European Business-Culture Platform. Rarita Zbranca, the director of AltArt, is member of the Strategy Group of the initiative (2006-)

AltArt projects involve the development of interactive platforms, a series of mixed reality events exploring new cultural dimensions through the use of the Internet and new technologies, workshops, exhibitions, live art events etc. AltArt projects deal with topics related to public space, urban regeneration, identity and social relations in digital space.

AltArt has consistently worked to support urban development through interdisciplinary projects, public debates and policy work. AltArt contributed to the development of the cultural strategy of the city of Cluj and to various initiatives of the civil society in Romania to improve cultural policies. In 2010, after a long history of lack of cooperation between the cultural NGOs and the local authorities in Cluj, AltArt has initiated a series of cooperation projects with the Municipality of Cluj, including contribution to the City Brand Development Plan, contribution to Cluj Urbanism Master Plan, coordination of debates related to city’s application for the title of Eropean Capital of Culture 2020, and a 5 year project on revitalizing public space by means of culture. A first project in this long-term project is “The Visible City. Art in Public Space”, where artists are invited to propose contemporary artworks to be exhibited in public space on billboards, urban screens and shop windows, and public debates on the urban issues with artists, public institutions and public are organised. Other relevant projects: Future Forecast – refection on urban contemporary life by artists and scientists, public art; Forum Cluj. Culture and Urban Development – conference on the role of culture in catalyzing urban development processes; E-Tribal Art – artistic interventions in the texture of electronic tribes, Bare Share – analysis of the culture of sharing in Romania, Terra Incognita - a series of interactive mixed reality exploring events, tackling social, cultural and political issues at stake, a.o.

SAMPLES is a multi-disciplinary project, a lab space in which artists from the dance field, electronic music and media art are involved in a common creative effort to deliver a contemporary dance production in the urban space. The project reflects themes that are relevant to the contemporary urban space and its social mix. The process of “modelling” the urban context starts from the small daily rituals of the individual and goes all the way to group behavioral patterns that are recurrent in the social life of the city.

Performances integrate sound, image and movement, involving direct and immediate participation from the audiences.

The project was initiated in 2008 by AltArt Foundation Romania and was further developed in 2010 as part of an European tour including cities of Istanbul, Pecs, and Sofia.

The first performances took place in Cluj, in 2008 in the neigbourhood of Manastur and later in one of the city’s shopping Malls. In 2010, the show was presented in Kadirga Park in Istanbul (14 September) and in the Central Railway Station in Sofia (3 November). In Turkey, the performance was included in the programme of the Istanbul 2010 European Capital of Culture.

The Visible City
“Orasul Vizibil/The Visible City” is a public art commission project is initiated in 2010 by AltArt, in partnership with the Cluj-Napoca Municipality. The project involves a public call, selection and display of contemporary artworks on public billboards and shop windows in the city of Cluj.

The project aims to generate a cultural programme that will build up to a dynamic public space, as well as increased ownership of public spaces by city inhabitants.

The theme of the 2010 call for works was Reapropriate. The project organised a public call and ensured the production and installation in public space of contemporary artworks.

AltArt projects have been supported by: European Union (Culture 2000, Lifelong Learning, Phare), European Cultural Foundation, Romanian National Cultural Fund, Romanian Ministry of Culture, Romanian Cultural Institute, Pro Helvetia, Goethe Institute, British Council a.o.
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Lab: Alt Art, Kluž, Rumunsko 27-28


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