Between May 3 and June 6, 2021, Safe Space Collective presented an exhibition titled “Safe Space” within the walls of ROM for kunst og arkitektur in Oslo. We had a “statement wall”, composed of 336 A3 sheets of paper through which we explained the premise of the conversation, starting from the enunciation of the need for collective reflection and for change while also calling for uniting around the question in order to move toward a more equitable architecture. In addition to this, we designed and built our own recording booth and furniture in preparation for the podcast. The idea behind this was to materialize a physical safe space where we can welcome people in and instigate common reflections.
We also set up workstations inside the gallery where we came to work on the project everyday during these 5 weeks. There, we read, we wrote, we researched; we prepared the podcast conversations; we curated a list of contributors for the publications to come and started reaching out to them; we received visitors, from unsolicited to invited, and talked to them about our research themes and discussed possible futures for the profession. But most importantly, we used the recording booth to welcome 20 speakers (architects, designers, artists, human geographers, activists, students and educators) who came in, physically or digitally, to record the 8 podcast episodes with us.
The last part of the project is a series of fanzines that complements the podcast conversations with critical articles to highlight various projects and initiatives related to the topic, and also artistic contributions related to each theme. We applied the structure of the podcast to the zines to maintain coherence between the different elements of the project. After editing and designing the 6 issues, we collaborated with Marie Payan (oonda studio) for the printing process. The 600 copies (100 of each issue) of the zines as well as 300 “Manifesting Statement” posters were printed using a risograph printer.
Last but not least, we organized a Zine Launch Party at ROM on October 29, 2021. As the exhibition took place during a complicated period of time due to changing COVID-related regulations, we could not have large gatherings for the community we were gradually building. We then took this opportunity in October to gather many contributors, friends and colleagues around a celebratory event to mark an intermediate ending to our year-long commitment to Safe Space.
This series of events was carried out in close collaboration with ROM for kunst og arkitektur: Gjertrud Steinsvåg (director), Gabrielle Paré (project manager), Tina Lam, Olaf Tønnesland Hødne, Ahmed Gad, Solveig Tjetland, and others.
Poster designs: Bui Quy Son
Exhibition photos: Bui Quy Son
Residency photos: Bui Quy Son, Paul-Antoine Lucas and Armelle Breuil
Zine Launch photos: Bui Quy Son and Franz Holtschlag
Video: Pål B. Johansen and Gabrielle Paré