Marina Abramovic’s contribution to MONU #23 on Participatory Urbanism

The Genoa-based collectives Burrasca and ICAR65 are going to publish a book on “Independent Publishing in Architecture” in autumn this year. The following interview with Bernd Upmeyer will appear in the publication:

Kick-starting Topics

Could you tell us about your magazine and about your journey in making it? Why is there the need to make such a magazine?
Bernd Upmeyer: The MONU-journey began in 2003, about one year after my graduation as an architect from the University of Kassel in Germany. At that time I was working as an architect in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The motivation to found a magazine was not based on the conviction that there was a particular need for a new magazine, nor did we feel that the world or our society needed a new one. It was based, rather, on a very personal and intellectual need to continue working on – and thinking about – urban topics with some of my former student colleagues from University, who were spread around the world after having finished their studies. I think that we all missed the intensity of discussions and debates that we experienced during our student projects in Kassel, something that was pretty much impossible to experience in the daily routine in an architecture office, where things had to be produced and not always discussed.

Please tell us about your editorial policy. Could you tell us about your editorial line? What do you look for? What is your mission?
BU: I think what I look for today is what I looked for at the beginning: intellectual exchange and the possibility to raise questions, put topics on the agenda, and discuss issues surrounding architecture and urbanism. Last week, I met an old friend from high school, who asked me what drives me to continue producing the magazine – which I have been doing now for quite a while – and what I am looking to achieve. I told him: answers. I am full of questions and the magazine is a kind of outlet for that. Questions usually appear while not working actively on the magazine, but rather while working in my office, BOARD, on other things that are related to architecture or urbanism, or while reading a newspaper, travelling, or simply walking around in the city. They are usually by-products of other activities. But the magazine’s mission also changed a bit over the years, especially after we became aware that it has a certain power to influence and shape debates, which we wanted to deploy for a good cause. Thus, what started out as a rather selfish intellectual pursuit transformed over the years into a tool to criticize and question prevailing urban conditions in order to understand better how cities work, to fuel the debates surrounding cities, and to ultimately improve our living conditions within them…

… the entire interview can be read in Writings.