Of Public Interest (OPI) Lab

Of Public Interest (OPI) Lab

Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm

March 11, 2024
Of Public Interest (OPI) Lab
Open call

Application deadline: April 10, 2024
Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm
Flaggmansvägen 1
SE-111 49 Stockholm

T +46 8 614 40 00

“Public art does not exist. It is simply art in a more complex context.” This was artist Jonas Dahlberg’s response when invited to initiate a course on public art. The answer developed into Of Public Interest (OPI) Lab, a hub and laboratory that operates as a year-long advanced course at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. We focus on and work with spaces referred to as public. Our foundation is the field of art and the different histories, discourses, formal and conceptual strategies that belong to it. However, we seek to engage in methods and approaches from multiple disciplines.

Whatever we do as practitioners, working with the public means engaging with complex, often polarized contexts, and it demands that we question what, where, how, why and with whom we do things.

We are now accepting applications for 2024/2025, to form a multidisciplinary group of 16 professional practitioners: artists, architects, landscape architects, curators, cultural producers and people from other relevant fields. People interested in actively contributing to a peer-to-peer environment where different languages, practices and ways of understanding place co-exist to form an art and architecture laboratory.

We meet one week per month in a former storefront space in Stockholm—the base for the Lab’s work and research, as well as our monthly Open Door Sessions. Here, we are immersed in a neighborhood and can maintain a continuous dialogue with (a) particular place/site/situation/public(s). In this setting, we facilitate investigations and “public making” through experimentation and different participant-led projects with starting points in individuals’ practices and interests.

We explore practice-based thinking and doing though discussions, tests, sketches, prototypes, proposals and propositions. Projects initiated in the Lab are a way to experiment with and commit to integrating artistic values within our working processes. The mediums and forms of expression produced as part of these processes can be sculptural, conceptual, architectural, social, living, and/or participatory in nature.

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. Being embedded in a neighborhood provides grounds upon which to test out ideas—ultimately, as a means of also addressing places and publics beyond the given site.

Each year a new cohort comes together to participate in OPI Lab. The aim is that everyone ends their Lab year with a new beginning—this could be arriving at a point where a longer-term project begins. Or that the knowledge we produce together acts as a catalyst in participants’ own practices, thereby affecting and shaping future work and their respective fields.

OPI Lab is led by the artist Jonas Dahlberg together with the curator and writer Jasmine Hinks. For more info and how to apply visit here.

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Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm
March 11, 2024

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