Lopud Seminar – Patronage of Space
June 18–20, 2007 | Lopud Island, Croatia

If we conceptualize a form of Patronage of Space which bridges contemporary and historical space, without being patronizing, how can that patronage be infused by simultaneous concerns for historical continuity, sustainability, and at the same time change, rather than being frozen in time, conceptually segregated and catering to conservative notions of historical representation?
The Lopud Seminars are conceived to create an impetus for innovation, dialogue and exchange by bringing together cultural practitioners of different fields in small enclosed workshop-like Debate Sessions to interconnect different agendas and practices, that we have identified and localized in individual and institutional efforts and talents in the respective fields of contemporary art, architecture, preservation, performance, theory. In the light of an expanding international horizon, we plan to endorse alternative co-operations based on ongoing negotiations of the production of cultural meaning and spatial practices within sites of transformation.

Lopud Sessions, June 18–20, 2007
The first meeting in June 2007 investigated radical approaches to historic preservation, thus challenging the field to absorb and integrate the dialogue and exchange with artists, contemporary architects, urbanists, landscape and tourist development activists. A panel devoted to Preservation & Reanimation through Contemporary Art and Architecture brought together Jorge Otero-Pailos, Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation at Columbia University, François Roche, architect from Paris, Albert Heta, artist from Pristina/Kosovo, Dinko Peracić, architect from Split, Mark Wigley, Dean of Architecture Columbia University, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, TBA21 chaired by Andreas Ruby, architectural theoretician from Berlin.

Based on TBA21 activities on Lopud Island, this debate session explores the relationship between the historic fabric, existing place-bound values, natural landscapes, and contemporary interventions. With the encouragement of Jorge Otero-Pailos a new vision of contemporary preservation is formulated which puts creativity and contemporary interpretation ahead of the traditional orthodox approach to the conservation discipline. In this reversed paradigm, architecture (exemplified by The black horizon Pavilion) is seen as an act of preservation – quite literally by preserving the lights of Lopud – and the preservation of the Franciscan Monastery as a radical transformative act. Whereas the architect’s responsibility is always to go against time, the preservationist puts architecture into time. Do we need to preserve the toxicity of the Monastery, asks François Roche. Or can we just preserve a stone tower so that we remember something from the past and everything is totally protected from toxicity? Or do we need to inject a bad toxicity into the Monastery, to introduce danger? The danger of the past. As long as the battle between architecture and preservation is constructed as progressives versus conservatives, argues Wigley, we run the danger of giving way to the radical repressions that are involved in constructing a particular heritage image of the past. It’s a disaster because actually the real progressives in that sense are the preservationists, who are usually redesigning an entire nation, the aesthetics of an entire nation.

A second meeting titled New Sites for Art / Art demands new Typologies initiated a dialogue amongst curators, museum directors, NGO activists and artists about their respective efforts to stretch the realm of the museum and gallery work into alternative fields and platforms.

Participants: Hans Ulrich Obrist, Serpentine Gallery London, Daniel Birnbaum, Städel Schule Frankfurt, Jeebesh Bagchi, Raqs Media Collective, New Delhi, Nikolaus Hirsch, architect Frankfurt, Udo Kittelmann, MMK Frankfurt, Peter Pakesch, Joanneum Graz, Beatriz Colomina, Princeton University, François Roche, architect Paris, Daniela Zyman, T-B A21 Vienna and moderated by Andreas Ruby.

After two days of exchange and investigation the outcome and findings of the Seminars have been presented in two public Symposia on June 20 at the Lazareti in Dubrovnik.

Symposium: Patronage of Space

Is it possible to conceptualize a space that bridges contemporary and historical contexts? How does one conceive and implement patronage of space that enables and promotes this process? Rooted itself in history, the concept of such a patronage today must imply sensitive responsibility for the identity of the space. Thus, without being patronizing, how can patronage involve simultaneous concerns for historical continuity and sustainable forms of change, preservation and contemporary innovation?

Lazareti, Dubrovnik, June 20, 2007
Part I: Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Pavilion project

On the Croatian island of Lopud, near the historic city of Dubrovnik, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza has been involved in numerous conservation as well as contemporary art projects. Much in need of revitalization, the island has become the location of a series of pilot projects that could perform a vital role in the process. Lopud could potentially become a site for one of the T-B A21 foundation’s long-term art pavilions, but first a number of questions need to be asked and theory needs to be tested through the exploration of these temporary projects.

The long-term aim of the project is to place a limited number of Pavilions, in selected remote locations around the world. The Pavilions will be modular and flexible in form and size. It is the underlying spatial concept and its architecture that will make the Pavilions truly exceptional – a spatial concept that integrates the natural beauty of the site, the Pavilion’s design and the exhibited works of art in an exceptionally cohesive viewing experience. Artist and architect share the same metaphorical studio to engage, to respond to one another and to respond to the site specified for the Pavilion.

In addition to seeking a comprehensive new policy aiming to benefit and contribute to the communities where we hope to develop multi-disciplinary projects, T-B A21 wishes to present a new collaboration with an entirely new concept. It incorporates music and performance, as well as an important relationship between sculpture and architectural disciplines. The Foundation has been working for 2 years with the New York-based artist Matthew Ritchie on his new project entitled “The Morning Line” which was unveiled and presented for the first time at the Lopud symposium.

Part II: Current Practices, breaking with tradition, again...

How are we enabling and creating local capabilities in the realms of art, architecture, and preservation? How can patronage offer an alternate space for local reflection and critique through contemporary art and architecture, which are themselves heritage-in-creation? The phrase “adaptive re-use” implies partial revitalization of a historical site, but can one introduce a broader approach to the revitalization of heritage through a more interdisciplinary concept? The creative process should not be limited to individual projects, but tap into an aggregate of ideas that work together to create a completely new and refreshing dynamic and a sense of purpose for the whole community. What is necessary to establish a basis for such a process?

The TBA21 foundation, and its partner ARCUS Dalmatia are exploring the parameters of sustainable development, which encompass four policy areas: cultural, social, economic and environmental, with a few well-chosen pilot projects on the remote Island of Lopud, a few miles offshore from the UNESCO heritage city of Dubrovnik. It often happens that some implications of a growing interest for such regions do not lead to the desired results or even have a reverse effect. The necessity to discuss and implement concepts of sustainability in relation to such regions is therefore imminent. Which concepts and how do they relate to the cultural identity of the place? How do they take into consideration contemporary projects undertaken and their effects? One of the aims of the workshops was to investigate these issues.
June 18–20, 2007
Lopud Island, Croatia
Andreas Ruby (moderator), Konstantin Akinsha, Mark Wigley, Jorge Otero-Pailos, Dinko Peracic, Daniel Birnbaum, Peter Pakesch, Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, Nikolaus Hirsch, Beatriz Colomina, Francois Roche, Udo Kittelmann, Iara Boubnova, Daniela Zyman, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Matthew Ritchie, Raqs Media Collective, Olafur Eliasson, Sam Keller, David Adjaye, Chris Imman, Zeljko Pekovic. Albert Heta, And many other guests
Patronage of Space 
Lazareti, Dubrovnik, June 20th 2007
part I
Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Pavilion project
Andreas Ruby (Moderator), architectural critic and theorist, textbild, Berlin
Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, chairwoman, TBA21, Vienna
Olafur Eliasson, artist, Berlin
David Adjaye, architect, Adjaye/Associates, London
Part II
Current Practices, breaking with tradition, again...
Andreas Ruby (Moderator), architectural critic and theorist, textbild, Berlin
Beatriz Colomina, Professor of Architecture and Director of the PhD Program, Princeton University, New Jersey
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director for Exhibitions, Serpentine Gallery, London
Jorge Otero-Pailos, Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation, Columbia University, New York
Dinko Peračić, architect, Platforma 981, Split
François Roche, architect, R&Sie(n), Paris
Matthew Ritchie, artist, New York
Mark Wigley, Dean of Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, Columbia University, New York
Crist Inman, Visiting Lecturer of Management and Organizations, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York