Mnemonics proposes a contemporary take on the event’s theme and takes an ultimately optimistic snapshot of the public urban space that Romanian society has seen transforming over the past decades. It raises the question of the social and cultural functions of the free public space in Romanian cities.
The concept uses a scenographic approach to describe a vast territory of freedom for several generations in Romania – the freedom of movement and imagination and the freedom to remember childhood and reconnect its playfulness to adulthood.
Mnemonics appeals to the ancient technique of collecting memories – ars memoriae, based on the connection between thoughts and a visual support invested with meaning, which is impossible to forget. We reflect on different moments of a space that are representative for the universe of the Romanian urban environment.
During the second part of the XXth century most cities in Romania have gone through an accelerated process of industrialization and urbanization. This generated an interstitial space of the urban fabric which was soon reclaimed by the people who lived in its proximity, partly because it was not a priority of urban integration processes. In the collective memory of generations of the past few decades, this paints a common imaginarium, generated by the evolution of free urbanism, which provided the inhabitants of a city with a free space unclaimed by anyone but which actually belonged to everyone.
In Romania, the universal icon of the space between apartment buildings is the image of kids playing outside under the remote supervision of their parents and grandparents, freely creating invisible worlds in empty spaces.
The creativity of play and the limitlessness of human imagination offer us the chance to understand the way in which the places we hold dear to our souls have the power to take ideas further, connecting to the generations to come, to new cultures and to new communities. The space between the apartment buildings of cities in Romania is getting contemporary reactions at an architectural level, community level and educational level. There is much more to be done, but we’re looking to the future with confidence, as more and more projects and initiatives seem to be concerned with the way we will be able to use our public spaces and integrate them in our daily lives.