An urban long-term usage
If you visited the centre of Leipzig early this year, you probably saw an empty city. Many facilities that define a city centre and determine its structures were closed due to the Corona-pandemic, either completely or to a great extent: shops, cafés, culture, catering, entertainment, recreation. The city’s structure and any feeling of communal life were disrupted by the virus. Both the public sphere and “public life” have been changed.
At the same time, the significance of the digital transformation has continued to increase. In times of the Corona-virus, it provided numerous spheres of action that sustained public life: school and college, work, shopping and quite a few municipal culture options were transferred online, whether we liked it or not.
But this digital transformation has not only been influencing our lives in every detail since the time of the pandemic and it has had a significant impact on the public sphere. Ever since the idea of a universal department store has moved online, department store chains with premises in city centres have been in a permanent crisis. The Corona-pandemic only fuelled the flames of bankruptcies.
Both digitisation and the measures to combat the pandemic have restructured the public sphere. What does that mean for urban life? For our communal life, life in the inner city? What makes an inner city into a city centre? What are the structures that will determine “public life” in the future? What kind of vacancies will emerge and what kinds of encounters can we imagine in a vaccinated urban society, with our without mobile digital devices? Instead of presenting theatre in the spatial vacuum of the internet, we will face the structural change of the public sphere that is currently taking place. We take our specific position in the city and claim Leipzig as our new venue: Pay attention! Want we want is to draw your attention to the changes in our urban space.
We will all have to rediscover our city. And since we are, after all, the city(’s) theatre, we also want to rediscover our city. We want to encounter the city – and we want to encounter each other anew within it. Leipzig has shed many skins. And we want to tell these stories. And the latest, the most current one, where it is not yet quite clear how it will proceed, how it will develop, what will happen within it – that is the one that we want to face. We want to go to places that have changed. Either a long time ago or just recently. We want to turn places where people live, places that used to be full of communal life for a long time and may not be anymore, back into places for encounter and for discussion. Our fourth venue will be the city.