Indicator of political and economical change
A kiosk provides space for activities which do not claim a permanent place in our built environment. This has several reasons: e.g. if the activity cannot afford economically a fixed location. Some activities are only temporary and do not demand a permanent accommodation. Another case is when the built environment is not able to take over the infrastructural task due to of war damage. Sometimes the political and ideological situation is an obstacle to proper establishment. By using kiosk units even private initiatives could fit into the pattern of a socialistic unified society. In that sense K67 can be seen somehow like a forerunner of market economy by hosting small private businesses, long before the beginning of the collapse of the Eastern Block in the late 1980´s.
Urban linking element
During the last decade most of the Eastern European countries joined the western economical and political systems. New national states were formed. Some countries converted rapidly into western-orientated democracies while others are still governed by autocrat leaders. This provoced a rapid change of the (common) identity of Eastern Europe. Many witnesses of eastern design disappeared from everyday life, from the shops, from the built environment and the public space. For many people they embody the negative aspects of the socialist model of society. The new freedom of choice after 45 years encouraged many clients -most understandably- to turn away from the unitary, uniform assortment which was quickly replaced by western products.
While some products and designs survived thanks to massive support of the eastern European population (e.g. the "Ampelmännchen" in Eastern Germany), others could only be preserved in the western market system through a radical renewal. The few products that succeed to survive without being radically altered were smart, timeless solutions. Within this context the K67 becomes one of the few remaining visible signs of a vanished social union and an important linking element in Eastern European public space.
Revaluation - new consciousness and other K67 (art) projects
Nevertheless the K67 kiosks are in danger of disappearing from public stage. Statements by eastern inhabitants about vanished or vandalised kiosks confirm this worry. The aim of K67 - The Kiosk Shots is to revaluate the design and point out its extraordinary role in the urban space of Eastern Europe. The process of revaluation is accompanied by a number of recent art projects which make use of K67 units. The Slovenian artist Marjetica Potrc, for example, combined some K67 units with a South American "palafita" for her installation "Next Stop Kiosk", which was shown in the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana. Magnus Bärtås, a Swedish artist, arranges K67´s in front of a black background in his photograph series "Satellites". Already a few years ago the "Mutations" project documented the important role of the kiosks in Ex-Yugoslavia for the re-establishment of facilities in the war-destroyed area.
By collecting and mapping the K67 kiosks, K67 - The Kiosk Shots will give an outline of the eastern countries in their state of transition. The K67 website www.publicplan.com/K67 brings together, at least virtually, the kiosks which are physically spread out over the whole of Eastern Europe, linking the most diverse urban spaces in Eastern Europe and rendering them visible. The project intends to show the individual variety and diversity this design product can bring into public space. K67 is significant component of a complex history and identity of the eastern European countries. With these countries joining the EU it also becomes part of a wider, common European history. As travel from one Eastern European metropolitan area to another is becoming easier and faster, also the urban network of K67 units will become increasingly perceptable.
Helge Kühnel, 19.04.2004
[E] = exhibition, [L] = lecture, [P] = press article / publication
13.07.2003 Arrival in Ljubljana, meeting Jana.
14.07.2003 Walking the city of Ljubljana I notice all these modulare units with their rounded edges. They seem to be a linking element in the urban space. I decided only to take pictures of the the city where there is one of these modules.
15.07.2003 Remembering that there is a fastfood K67 unit behind the central station in Dresden / East Germay I think about making a series of K67-photos in different countries.
24.07.2003 In Maribor (SLO) we find quite a lot of new copies dressed in "West" design. But there are also original K67s to find.
01.08.2003 Realizing that K67 was a successful east europaen product I send emails to friends which are living in the former east block countries. I ask them to look for K67 in their cities.
06.08.2003 I send an email to the Ljubljana University where designer Sasa Maechtig is professor now. I hope to contact Mr. Maechtig in order to get more information about his design.
08.08.2003 Tahl Kaminer told me that he saw a K-67 in this "mutations" book although it looks more like made of concrete ("Mutations", p. 344-348, "Use Network" Pristina, Stefano Boeri, www.useproject.net).
12.08.2003 Jana tells me the name of a Swedish artist called Magnus Bartas, who also investigated on the K67 units. Searching the Internet I found information about his project "satellites". He took also photographs from different K67 on different places in six countries, mostly Ex-Yugoslavia. He sees the "Satellites", in retrospective, as omens of political and economical changes. Cutting out the units and presenting them in front of a black neutral background he brings them to a more abstract level. Taking away any urban context they appear like objects from outer space, like "satellites". - For a moment I thought "my" project is already done by somebody else. But in contradistinction to the Bartas-Project I want to show these kiosk in their urban surrounding, want to prove that the same system is valuable in different places, want to show the eastern European places through these K67 units. My goal is it to make this project really a "movement" using the simultaneous technology of the internet. I will try to make people enthusiastic about the K67 like inhabitant of their environment. Creating consciousness that this K67 tells a lot about common history and identity.
14.08.2003 Start of the making of the K67 website.
15.08.2003 Doing research on the COMECON like east european economical system.
17.08.2003 Gero Heimann writes from Bejing. He hasn´t seen K67s in China until now. But he send a really nice photo of a typical Chinese kiosk.
19.08.2003 A friend from Dresden tells us that quite some K-67-booths in Germany have to suffer from vandalism.
27.08.2003 Sasa Maechtig answers my email and sends me some nice photos of the K67. The K67 unit has appearently such a big success that has even reached countries like New Zealand and Japan. A slovenian artist called Marjetica Potrc will use K67 units for their exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art of Ljubljana.
27.08.2003 Sophia tells me about two exihibitions in East Germany, one about eastern fastfood stands in (Domäne Dahlem / Berlin, „Imbissbuden - Essen ohne Grenzen“) , the other about GDR busstops (Verkehrsmuseum Dresden "Magic Bus")
27.08.2003 Test launch of the website.
02.09.2003 Official launch of the K67 website.
03.09.2003 [P] The spanish web directory Lnkscape.org adds the K67-project to the catogory "architecture"
20.09.2003 New entries from Minsk (Belarussia) by Jeroen van Nieuwenhuizen
26.09.2003 New entry from Wrozlaw (Poland) by Tim Zümendorf
02.10.2003 Approximately 350 site visits in one month
21.01.2004 [P] The Italian section of the Architects Council of Europe (ACE/CAE) reports about "K67 - The Kiosk Shots" in their newsletter
24.10.2003 New entries from Ljubljana (Slovenia) by Ilka and Andreas Ruby
29.10.2003 Opening of the exhibition "Next Stop, Kiosk" from the slovenian artist Marjetica Potrc, Moderna galerija / Museum of Modern Art Ljubljana, 29 October - 30 November 2003
30.10.2003 New entries from Ðurdevac and Zagreb (Croatia) by Assen Ivanov
21.01.2004 [P] Joost tells about the project on the EASA website (The European Architecture Student Assembly).
21.01.2004 [P] Ilka and Andreas Ruby write an essay for the SIXPACK exhibition (young slovenian architects), in which they talk also about the significance of K67 for Slovenia and in which they refer to "K67 - The Kiosk Shots".
29.05.2004 [L] Magnus Bartas and the Biennial of Visual Arts of Pancevo (near Belgrade) invite me for a lecture about "K67 - The Kiosk Shots".
16.06.2004 New entries from Warsaw (Poland) by Marcin Koltunski
09.07.2004 [E] The Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) seems to be interested in showing the K67-project within the upcoming exhibition "Collage Europa" in October.
Helge Kühnel (publicplan)
news around K67