Orange Works is an ongoing collaboration project, started in 2004, to build unauthorized temporary urban constructions camouflaged as in-process construction sites in order to probe existing spatial pressures, and reorganize public spaces to allow for new social uses.
The emphasis of the project is more on the uses and reactions the different types of constructions trigger, within a specific social and spatial setting, than on the formal architectural features of the constructions themselves. In this sense, the constructions are never seen as the end result of the individual interventions, but rather as the triggering event of an indeterminately extended process that includes:
1. The documentation of the reactions of the local population to the constructions (use, appropriation, alteration, resistance, destruction);
2. The establishment of relationships between the artists and the local population as mediated by the constructions (explanations, interviews, discussions, disputations, collaborations);
3. Maintenance and/or alterations of the constructions as a reaction to points 1. and 2., aiming at the establishment of a feed-back loop between the artists and other agents that claim the site;
4. Research on the site’s situation within the surrounding urban context (i.e. historical background, zoning, actual and planned uses and constructions, economic value and speculation, exclusivity, social stratification, etc.)
The interventions have lasted periods from two days to 10 weeks, depending upon the interaction between the structure’s degree of architectural integration into the environment, and the degree of spatial resistance enacted by authority actors (property owners, police etc.) with an interest in spatial control.
The intention is to make constructions too formally idiosyncratic to be easily digested into the strident visual noise of traffic and construction signage yet too ubiquitous in materials to allow immediate certainty as to the nature of the architectonic device. In this way, the temporary urban development construction provokes questioning as to the power dynamics of public space and the future of the built environment. The aim is that the public will question the constructions themselves, their intended function and who made them, triggering more participatory practices.
The interventions have made material connections between public and private spaces, created permeable private spaces within public spaces, or offered alternative forms of existing public functions, creating uncanny situations between recognition and confusion, and provoking diverse, long-term reactions from the public, varying from active questioning to consternation, wariness to laughter.