Of Public Interest (OPI) Lab

Of Public Interest (OPI) Lab

Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm

OPI Lab Storefront, 2023. Photo: Jonas Dahlberg.

March 16, 2023
Of Public Interest (OPI) Lab

Application deadline: April 20, 2023
The Royal Institute of Art
Flaggmansvägen 1
SE- Stockholm
Facebook / Instagram

Of Public Interest (OPI) Lab is a hub for experimental artistic and architectural practice-based thinking and doing. The Lab operates as an advanced course that is held at the Department for Research and Further Education in Architecture and Fine Art at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm.

We aspire to develop tools, methods and strategies, with which we can shape built environments and common spaces, capable of meaningfully altering the expectations and language around the public sphere.

The Lab asks, in different ways, what is of public interest?—through working on and realizing projects in, around, and in between art and architecture. While this is pursued through collaborative doing and learning, a key aim of OPI Lab is for the knowledge we produce to act as a catalyst in the practices of the individuals involved. Thereby affecting and shaping their respective fields, whether it be art, architecture, curatorial work, social practice, landscape architecture, activism, and/or other areas.

OPI Lab has two locations. One is the Royal Institute of Art, where we have access to a wide range of workshops, and the faculty comprising researchers and practitioners from other and related fields. The other location is a storefront in an area of Stockholm undergoing significant development. This space is the locus for our site specific work, and importantly, it also establishes a visible presence and commitment to a neighborhood. Working from the conditions and histories of a specific place, we develop methods that could also be applied to other contexts—not unlike what is necessary when conducting a multiple control group in any experiment. Our location of interest provides a ground upon which to test out ideas—ultimately, as a means of addressing places and conditions beyond the given site.

The work performed at OPI Lab is closely tied to socializing with the surroundings and with each other, as a necessary component of building ideas through conviviality. We host a once-monthly Open Door Session as a public moment in the space where we offer food and drinks, discuss and share some of what we do with colleagues, friends, passersby, and people from the neighborhood. 

OPI Lab seeks professional practitioners to form a multidisciplinary group for 2023/24, comprising 16 people with experience in art, architecture, curatorial work, social practice, landscape architecture, and/or other related fields. The Lab hopes to bring together a diverse group who work with different approaches, with the belief that different backgrounds and life experiences enrich the learning experience and the discussions that can take place, and significantly, that a diverse group of voices is essential in shaping our public spaces.

During the academic year, the group meets one week per month in Stockholm for an intensive session designed around immersive on-site research, individual work and multidisciplinary group collaboration. The structure of the course focuses on developing methods and forms of “public making” as experiments within the scope and timeframe of the academic year, culminating in a proposal for the future. This framework is complemented with a program of lectures, seminars, workshops, conversations and critique in a format that aims to stimulate knowledge exchange through learning and unlearning in a peer-to-peer setting.

OPI Lab is led by the artist Jonas Dahlberg together with curator and writer Jasmine Hinks. In the past we have invited a wide range of guests to speak with us at OPI Lab. These include: Sandra Mujinga, Pilvi Takala, Sumayya Vally, David Horvitz, Joar Nango, Jill Magid, Jumana Manna, Lea Porsager, Runo Lagomarsino, Assemble, Cooking Sections, Joanna Warzsa, Stephen Wright, Raqs Media Collective, Carlo Ratti Associati, Alexander Eriksson Furunes and Sudarchan Khadka Jr, Wael Al Awar, Monument Lab, Ken Lum, Katie Paterson, Katarina Pirak Sikku, Can Altay, Unscene Architecture (Madeleine Kessler and Manijeh Verghese), Olivia Plender, Nato Thomson.

For more information on how to apply and course dates for 2023/24, see the webpage of the Royal Institute of Art. To find out more, visit here or Instagram @opi_lab.

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Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm
March 16, 2023

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