Group – Rotterdam, The Netherlands
STEALTH.unlimited was founded by Ana Džokić and Marc Neelen in Rotterdam in 2000 with the aim to probe and expand what architectural engagement can be. Projects range from the development of future scenarios to the production of space in a more conventional sense, and from art installations to productive exhibitions. They understand their work as challenging the ‘responsibilities and capacities of architecture in contemporary societies’. One of their key interests is common space, space that is neither private nor public but collective space that asks for personal engagement, and the development of conceptual and creative devices that allow common space to emerge. As architects they see themselves as actor amongst many other actors who can use their skills and capacities to open up otherwise inaccessible or incomprehensible processes to others thereby questioning the possibilities and potential of citizen engagement and empowerment.
In 2008, STEALTH co-curated with Saskia van Stein of the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAi) the Dutch pavilion at the Venice Biennale, set in the context of the wider theme of the Biennale which questioned architecture’s role beyond the mere provision of buildings. The project itself, entitled Archiphoenix – Faculties for Architecture, engaged with architecture’s capabilities and capacities asking how architects could radically reconsider their products, modes and tools of working to engage in challenges such as economic instability, limited material resources and also massive population growth. Through workshops, discussions, interviews and the production of position papers STEALTH not only challenged the typical function of the pavilion as a space for national representation but also provided a spatially flexible platform for international exchange that was continuously transformed, done and undone, as required by the different work and presentation set-ups.
Another project and exhibition, (Dis)assembled, developed for RödaStenKonsthall in Gothenburg in 2011, challenges conventional practices of urban development and consultation processes. Together with RödaSten STEALTH proposed to use the space around the Konsthall, which is situated at the edge of as yet uncharted urban development plan for Gothenburg, as a testing ground to explore possible future development in this area before anyone else stepped in. The concept was to use the main exhibition space inside the Konsthall as a storage space for raw materials and equipment necessary to assemble stuff, things, objects on the outside. The inside of RödaSten became a repository of materials for visitors to take outside in order to make – in real space and time – things. The project, which could have been easily dismissed as just another insignificant temporary intervention, however, provoked the local policy makers to involve citizens in the development of future plans for this area.
The Stealth Group, ‘The Wild City. Genetics of Uncontrolled Urban Processes’, hunch (2001), 106-27.
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