We found a fantastic series of events here and we knew from the moment we arrived that we had something to work with and that it would turn out well
I knew Timișoara had a complex public life and a very nuanced and rich culture. I was particularly interested in the Sigma phenomenon, the 1-1 groups, then the BETA Architecture Biennial in Timișoara. I was constantly watching Timișoara and it was no surprise to me that it won the title for Capital of Culture.
It had a convincing project, a vision, a genuine long-term plan based on the cultural and urban identity of this city. And this programme could not have happened anywhere else. I found it very valuable because it involves broad communities, it opens doors and networks, it involves people from all areas and places in the city. It's not a highlights-based programme, it comes from the operators, from the people, from the people who make the living culture of a city. It tries to bridge the gap between the centre and the periphery, in every sense of the term, which is not the case in many other programmes I have read.
From the time the Bidbook was written in 2016 to the formation of the Curatorial Team in 2021, a lot has happened, a whole history of events and excitement. We found a fantastic series of events here and we knew from the moment we arrived that we had something to work with and that it would turn out well, even if not exactly as the Bidbook was written, as there was also a pandemic in the meantime, some wars happened. However, we've stayed very true to the concept, I think. That was the luck of the project, that it had a good vision, it was a well-written project with real stakes and just as valid now as then.
I commute between three cities, I live in Barcelona, I have a studio in Bucharest and I have this mandate in Timisoara. It's interesting that way, it suits me very much. I think it's valuable to be able to look at things from the outside and see a different perspective, more detached and from a distance, this has helped me to relativize and see if things are in sync with a broader international phenomenon and to calibrate certain relationships or cooperation with professionals from other countries or cultures.
My interaction with the people implementing projects in the programme, in the Places territory, was very good. I found passionate professionals who understand their city well and love it. In turn, I also learned a lot, it was an urban laboratory for me and I leave with a deeper understanding of Timișoara and my practice.
We are not yet at the end of the road, we are in full swing. It seems to me, from the Locuri territory and my role as curator, that we have reached a change in the attitude of the people of Timisoara towards their city. Perhaps they understand it a little better and relate to it differently, with more attention and care.
Many programmes, such as "The Secret Map" or "Heritage in the Spotlight", have dealt precisely with bringing to light lesser known or less visible stories about the city. The fact that operators collaborated on a particular project, that they created something together in a particular place, connected them to that place and generated a sense of belonging. Here I'm also referring to a number of recoveries of places that were not intended for cultural content, all sorts of buildings, abandoned factories, but also areas of public space, such as the banks of the river that runs through the city, that were not necessarily used to their true potential. I think that the cultural programme has succeeded in making this potential visible and providing some scenarios for using the spaces and the city. This means new possibilities for the city and for our life in it, and this is no small thing.