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Noise barriers, urban parks, prisons, slag heaps, railway stations, housing estates, motorways and industrial heritage: these are all part of Observatorium’s field of operations. This consortium of three artists has developed a distinctive philosophy and working procedure. They take the grey areas and overlaps of urban design, landscape architecture, architecture and art, and make them productive. Instead of creating autonomous art in public space, Observatorium uses the media of sculpture and installation to make functional facilities. The results are monumental, symbolic and meaningful. As a way of communicating their knowledge, Observatorium founded the Open Air University. It presents student workshops and programmes of co-creation. Big Pieces of Time is an overview of their design philosophy and is itself shaped by it. It is a text which informs, philosophizes, inspires and goes discipline-hopping. The photographs, illustrations and narratives together form a lively and evocative account of Observatorium’s projects. It includes some intriguing reflections by members of the public who have inhabited the sculptures. The book concludes with a selected list of Observatorium’s works, ranging from small scale handwork to urban design. The summary indicates a geographical reach that takes in New York, Rotterdam, Essen, Dresden and Krasnoyarsk.
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