Still impressed by our visit of Piața Victoriei, we tried once more to understand the square, its rules and dimensions today. For this we met with Iuliana Dumitru from Tranzit in front of the natural history museum, that is also located at Piața Victoriei, at the famous giraffe.
This giraffe is a really important landmark for the people in Bucharest and their protest culture. During protests, when the phones aren’t working, it serves as a meeting point and therefore became a major identity sign for protesters over the years. With this setting we started our conversation about protests, public space, monuments and their connections.
Our guide Iuliana led us on the Calea Victoriei to Piața Revoluției. On our way we stopped by Autoservire Amzei for lunch – this is a real insider tipp, it was so good and cheap – thank you, Iuliana! We discovered small streets and green spots hidden behind old palaces at the Calea Victoriei. And we once again made the acquaintance of dripping air conditions and their lose cables, often reeled like artworks in the air.
When we arrived at Piața Revoluției we were greeted by a big parking lot (surprise surprise!) and a statue park, including an artwork, that is being called “potato on a stick” by the people in Bucharest. The square has many things in common with Piața Victoriei, like the big parking lots and a lot of traffic, but we also discovered some major differences: Especially around the statues a kind of public space has evolved that is actually being used by, for example, skateboarders and people who are sitting on the benches. Close to the statues we ended our tour and Iuliana invited us to come to an event at Tranzit in the evening – an offer we gladly accepted.
Tranzit, a multi-country-network for contemporary art – a huge garden, oh, and there’s also an office, in a residential neighbourhood just behind the parliament. On our way there Iuliana reminds us that this is one of the neighbourhoods that narrowly escaped Ceaușescu’s destruction of the city centre.
Tranzit doesn’t just work on interesting projects but also dabbles in making pickled vegetables, liqueur and schnaps – all of it from vegetables and fruits from their amazing garden (and we’ve tasted everything, so trust us, it’s all amazing). We also met Athena, who is responsible for all the good jam and marmalade and four adorable adopted kittens roaming the garden.
Listening to a weird techno-flute-performance later that day, the evening event at Tranzit, we suddenly came to a realization that we want to share with you:
All day we have been encountering small green spaces with benches in between or in the back of the tall, sometimes monumental apartment buildings. Those small green spaces somehow have their own quality to them.
This is a city that is dotted with small, publicly accessible, sort of cosy-looking green spaces with benches or even playgrounds. So maybe these small spaces are the real public spaces of Bucharest because these are the places that are actually being used, and maybe people are even better off using the huge squares as parking lots and not as public space?
At the moment, the small spaces still seem to be enough but what is going to happen when the demand for public space grows, as several people have already suggested to us? Maybe then Bucharesters are going to question why they cannot use certain spaces, why most of the big squares are mostly being used as parking lots, and are maybe even going to start claiming and appropriating those squares for themselves – even without the protests.
Building of the day: The house and garden of Tranzit
Insider joke of the day: “We love techno” #sarcasm
GIF of the day: #romania #airconditions #loosecable