DIRECT was a project about city, culture and commercial enterprise. About connections and changes in urban space. And about how we are shaped by history and the places where we live – but also how we can make the most of diversity, change given structures, build new networks and create movement in our surroundings. The project started in 2006 and ended in 2007 and was located and realized in a number of places in greater Stockholm: both in the suburbs and in the city proper. Public project offices hade been opened there in dialog with the citizens, the locations and local politics.
DIRECT had an overall structure initiated by Thomas Liljenberg and Hans Andrén. The structure included measures to develop competence as well as a vision and a platform/network for artistic and commercial development with a focus on social mobilization and social capital. DIRECT provided training in production, which means that participants either brought their own projects into DIRECT or initiated projects while taking part in DIRECT. DIRECT also provided project managers with training in project management and networking to give them management tools and thereby speed up development work. The participants was artists, architects, filmmakers, designers, scientists, entrepreneurs, civil servants and residents. DIRECT received financial support from the ESF (European Social Fund).
DIRECT had an offices in Vårby gård, a suburb south of Stockholm, and in the city. The Vårby office was located at Centrumhuset in Vårby gård. The office in central Stockholm was located at United Spaces, Vasagatan 11. During three months Direct also had an office at Subtopia in Botkyrka, south of Stockholm. The offices included workplaces, exhibition space and rooms for meetings and seminars, and was open to the public.
An important part of the project’s theoretical nature concerned developing and esthetic strategies for artists and business owners make art and trade in cooperation with residents, the general public and those who give assignments. The ongoing discussion and training within DIRECT worked as an injection and a catalyzer to propel the various projects forward. Seminars, workshops connected different actors in the arts and in business and create a common bank of ideas and experience. With some fifty participants from diverse social groups, with varying levels of education, age, gender and ethnicity and a geographical distribution over the whole of greater Stockholm, the project was one of the biggest relational art projects to be carried out in Sweden with focus on city, culture and commercial enterprise.
Various tasks was developed in the project, connected with ongoing processes concerning democracy, integration, regional and city district development. Other tasks hade to do with commercial and artistic development in dialog with residents, local government and the business sector:Finn Malmgrens plan – FMP-DIRECT: FMP – DIRECT was a task concerned with social mobilization in Hammerbyhöjden, a suburb south of Stockholm. FMP-DIRECT invited initiators from business, cultural and community sectors in the area of Finn Malmgrens plan. Seminars, workshops, exhibitions and networking meetings pave the way for initiatives, projects, assignments, to partners, to sounding boards and to funding. OMVÄRLD (“OUTSIDE WORLD”) – OM-DIRECT: A group of 18 cultural workers: artists, designers, filmmakers, actors and architects developed strategies and tasks related to analysis of the world around them. The projects being developed within OM-DIRECT took the form of films, Community Gardens, architecture and design. Bo i Tensta (“Live in Tensta”) – BiT-DIRECT: BiT-DIRECT developed models for analysis of needs and social mobilization in relation to rebuilding of apartments in so-called “miljonprogram” areas (suburbs densely built up in the 1960s and -70s) under the name of Bo i Tensta. The point of departure was the concept “Recycle the miljonprogram. Individual solutions for everyone” outlined by Erik Stenberg, architect SAR/MSA. Kista Art City – KAC-DIRECT: KAC – DIRECT was an analysis examining the prospects for establishing a cultural platform in Kista where business, culture, residential and social life interact with one another. Kista is one of the most dynamic locations in Scandinavia and northern Europe with regard to information ICT – technology. Interesting processes are taking place here regarding commercial enterprise, residency, infrastructure and formation of a center. How can art and culture interact and develop practices that collaborate with this development and strengthen the identity of the place?