Örebro’s invitation for an artistic response to the public space highlights the need to strengthen the links between different parts of the city.
Because I am interested in the temporality of public space, instead of designing a sculpture or a bridge, I focus on the walking times between Central Station and Järntorget square, to propose a perspective on the human activities rather than on the space itself.
The purpose of Örebro Variations is to contribute to the construction of public space, understood as the symbolic agent that bonds us together – acknowledging that it is also a place of negotiation, conflict and surveillance. Örebro Variations proposes four films as predetermined paths inside the town. Viewers become participants, walking along to match the path in their phone or tablet. Earphones are recommended to better perceive the soundtrack, comprising original music. We also listen to whispered conversations, fictitious and real, proposing a cross-cultural reflection on relations between languages and places.
As the represented space is the same as the one experienced, viewers may at first have the impression of filming instead of watching; but gradually other times and other places begin to overlap. The town becomes a collage: a place intersected by other places. This is not an augmented reality application: the viewer is not geolocalized and the film does not respond to his or her position. It is rather the contrary: the viewer, following the film, may stop at any time and start again the film and the simultaneous walk.
Urban walking can then be seen as an act of resistance, encouraging a slower pace, allowing us to be idle and aimless, rendering us available for conversation and silence, curiosity and friendship. Nowadays, many of us walk looking at our phones, trying to keep up with the fast pace of the world. Örebro Variations imagines that these windows also have the power to bring us closer to the present time, to the place where we are.