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Osman Bozkurt (TR)
Encounters

Between the trees in the green area in front of Vanløse School on Ålekistevej hangs a clothes line with local football team wear on it. Istanbul-based artist Osman Bozkurt brings this improvised use of public space from Istanbul to Vanløse and shows how public space is revitalized when the locals are present and visible in the shaping and use of their environment.


How would you introduce your work?

Osman Bozkurt In my work, I generally watch the street and let inspired it me. The idea for this work springs from a park that I went to in Istanbul, where the clothes of football teams dried on lines and fences, filling the whole park. I wanted to bring such a situation, where the boundaries between public and private space is erased, to Copenhagen. The small park at Ålekistevej, where I've now made the intervention of a clothesline with local football t-shirts, shorts and socks connecting the trees of the park, looks abandoned. Only marginalized people like alcoholics use it. There is no furniture for children. I find this a meaningful place to propose a new public life.

How does the clothesline suggest another public life?

OB As opposed to how public space is used in Europe, Istanbul is full of surprises, and the boundaries between private and public space are blurred. Empty public spaces are used and easily turned into private spaces through collective creative activities adding new functions. This is an important way of using the city. In Europe public space might look democratic, but it is framed by rules and orders. Over-designed and -defined spaces are decisive for public behavior and prevent organic and personal uses of space. The situation of lines of football wear drying in the park in Istanbul demonstrates how the private space of a home can step outside and squat the streets. Repeating this as an intervention at Ålekistevej can make people think about an alternative public realm.

Could you explain what you understand by private space? Your notion of the private seems positive, focusing on personality and sharing, not on ownership as opposed to public space?

OB I think it’s interesting to create a public realm, where collective creativity shapes space instead of obeying the rules of city planning. Public space must be developed by people living in it rather than by the authorities looking from a distance or from above. In Istanbul the city grows more from the bottom-up. The inhabitants shape public space according to their needs rather than having the authorities plan for them from the top.

Why does it make sense to make this intervention in an abandoned place?

OB There are many beautiful and well-kept parks in Copenhagen, but people don't see this one. Even the statue, which is placed in the park, turns its back to it. My intervention creates a relation between the park and the football stadium nearby. In that way, a vital part of local life normally situated in the stadium moves into the park and revitalizes it by giving it a purpose. I think it important to emphasize neglected space like this park and expose its problems to illuminate the meaning of public space. It is also a general comment on public space in Copenhagen, which might need to relax a bit.

The park between Klitmøllervej and Lønstrupvej all days 1pm-6pm

Photo: Malene Nors Tardrup