2020 has challenged our ways of living and making sense of the world, it drove us to rethink our daily life in both the private and public sphere. Public space has especially been questioned: our understanding of it and the way we use it have been completely revolutionised while we are still making sense of this shift. However, this challenge has opened up to new interpretations and evaluations of public space.
At the end of 2020 the research and design practice Rhizoma Lab launched a Call for Postcards to explore this matter, inviting architects, artists, designers, and activists to reflect upon the paradigm shift happening in our cities, observing and documenting the changing everyday praxis of inhabiting public space as well as envisioning its future, capturing those reflections and ideas in a Postcard.
The format is a provocation per se, as it encapsulates the idea of travelling – the action forbidden by the pandemic.
The call led to the exhibition titled “Back to the Future of Public Space: Postcards from 2020” which has travelled virtually and physically around the world becoming an observatory of practices, perspectives, memories, and futures currently shaping public space. Before landing at the Public Space Museum in Bologna, the exhibition was displayed in Australia (Deakin University, April 2021), in the US (Virginia Tech, September 2021) and digitally at MAB20 (Media and Architecture Biennale 2020, July 2021).
The exhibition is born as a collective narrative responding to the theme and the proposed call, therefore, we invite the audience attending the exhibition at the Museum of Public Space to actively participate with their own postcard, contributing to the expansion of the observatory on public space.
Rhizoma Lab is a design and research lab founded by Dr Dorotea Ottaviani and Dr Cecilia De Marinis based in Rome and Melbourne. Cecilia and Dorotea are architects, researchers, and educators, who have developed their professional and academic career internationally in several universities in Europe, Australia, the US, and South Africa, among others: RMIT (AU), Virginia Tech (USA), Deakin University (AU), University of Johannesburg (SA), Roma Tre (IT), Sapienza (IT) and Glasgow School of Art (UK).
Rhizoma investigates the spatial and experiential dynamics of art and architecture, especially focusing on public space and how people use, enjoy, and transform it.
In March 2020, Rhizoma was appointed as Advisor on Public Space for the cultural association “City Space Architecture”.