2009-2010. Adaptive Actions. AA CAMP-MADRID (2009.11 / project review / theoretical data)


Short abstract

Adaptive Actions was initiated in London 2007 by Jean-François Prost and explores alterations in the workplace, at home and in public spaces in general. Identifying the variety of these personal and found alterations in the city as different forms of adaptation creates a vocabulary for the expression of the collective imagination through the existing urban structures therein.

These 'actions' modify and activate the intended use of architecture and enhance the character of the urban environments. They create positive tensions that test the limits of tolerated appropriation.

Can these simple actions, images and ideas, such as the hybridization of conventional and unusual urban realities, infiltrate our collective imagination to promote feelings of identity and a sense of cultural belonging?

Adaptive Actions points to how urban phenomena may have an impact on residents' perception of the environment and their relationship to it. By offering a space for sharing experiences, ideas, forms of actions and specific accomplishments, Adaptive Actions are in the process of compiling an inventory of alterations rarely presented to a general audience. Printed documents and organised events are being planned to increase the visibility of selected actions to the public eye, to build affiliations and encourage communal thinking.

For more information:

AA Camp in Madrid
During the Adaptive Actions Camp in Madrid, we would like to document and create new micro-actions. Some actions will be initiated in Madrid (in various types of spaces and neighbourhoods) but also in other cities and countries. I cherish the idea of creating a project of distributed actions taking place simultaneously in different places and brought together in one communal art project. All actions will be documented on the website and some will be part of the next AA publication.

Open call (for collaboration):
> Published in specialized and local neighbourhood newspapers
> Posted on billboards, urban furniture and places were people can and already post information.
> Sent to local community groups, schools and universities
> Sent to artists, Madrid Abierto members and all those who submitted proposals for 2010 but were not selected. This in order to offer additional possibilities for participation, to increase the number of participants and to reach a wider audience.

From Feb 04 – 28
The camp would be open 5-6 days a week. Visual material will be visible at all times.

AA Publication – Madrid edition
At the AA Camp the publication will be produced by several people who edit existing and incoming content (locally and through the web) in order to produce the new book, print and web (eBook format as a verbatim digital copy of the printed work) which will be published after the sojourn.

The publication will include (in Spanish and English) :
- 101 Adaptive Actions or locations with images and when necessary short descriptions
- 4 texts (or more) including:
- 2 interviews: one on the topic of micro-politics with philosopher and theorist Brian Massumi and Marie-Pier Boucher, PHD student at Duke University in North Carolina, and Jean-François Prost as representative of Adaptive Actions.


Global idea and intention:
The project consists in documenting, revealing and creating new micro-actions of appropriations and unplanned uses in the city of Madrid and elsewhere

Action – process:
The project indexes and reports on existing adaptive actions in the city and encourages the implementation of new activity in relation to architecture, urban spaces and objects. It unfolds in three overlapping stages: (1) a call for proposals; (2) action, and; (3) its subsequent publication/broadcast.

1. Call for Contributions and Proposals
In order to document and create an inventory of existing urban acts, a survey is being conducted (before and during Madrid Abierto). The objective of this project is to document existing or new, marginal, singular or popular, less discussed or highly known forms and places of singular actions. The request for proposals accelerates the process. Several existing or proposed adaptive actions will be chosen along with an idea for a collective action and a workshop.

2. Action
A space for gathering, loitering and submitting proposals will be erected in a busy Madrid public building. This temporary camp (with a large recognizable sign indicating ADAPTIVE ACTIONS) will combine presence, production and interaction.

Our shared knowledge and expertise will be applied towards accomplishing a creative project the aim of which is to modify the intended, predominant or limited use of architectural and urban elements. This infiltration of public space highlights such topics as resident adaptive actions and appropriations, creative transformation potential and the multiplicity of users and uses.

3. Publication/broadcast
These new adaptive actions will be made public via the Internet and through the production of a publication. Dissemination within the community will aim at representing the different forms of actions (in the workplace, the home or public spaces in general) as a creative means of appropriating shared realities and therefore as a form of adaptation. The presentation of actions (on a greater or lesser scale), be they projected or completed, will create a vocabulary with which the collective imagination may express itself through the use of existing structures, and will encourage the growth of other actions.

The intervention is based on the repetition of a series of micro-actions, simple gestures imparting and initiating change in our perception and conception of the urban environment.
This project wants to activate uses in public spaces, contribute and begin to rebuild an urban imaginary, show, encourage visible acts of resistance, of sociability and signs of positive antagonism.

Jean-François Prost, representative for the project