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The Bureau of Desired Values by Altonale at STAMP

Hamburg, Germany

  • Altonale
  • Processional Theatre

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An unusual study was conducted with and about the local population in the Altonale district of Hamburg as part of the STAMP Festival. At different times, for 28 days, across a 6 week period, teams of local people and artists conducted surveys with passers-by and also observed habits, colours, smells and a whole myriad of statistics around the local neighbourhoods.

Jonas Feller, Producer for STAMP Festival, explained more about the project.

“Quantitative values are used to create images and ideas about public space, residents and behaviour in a city district – usually from a purely administrative perspective. Together with residents and passers-by the artist from das_Explorativ explored how narratives about a neighbourhood can be created by producing heir own statistics and counted values. For 6 weeks, the Office for Desired Values opened in a shipping container on a main street in Hamburg. The participatory project captured peoples’ wishes and views, counted a lot and produced unusual real facts, which were released as an artistic exhibition and as a collection for politics, the press and the public alike. Aim of the project was to create a changed and conscious view of the urban space – breaking it down into its individual parts and embracing these numbers as an artistic process of emancipation and showcasing the multiple views and visions for the district.”

Download all observations conducted here.

The data was presented back to the public in an open forum in the heart of Altonale’s STAMP Festival and people in the district can still engage with the project by taken part here: Desired Values
We asked Jonas to select some of his favourite statistics gathered by the research.
Interactions with pigeons, of which 29% are scared off
Triangles vs 253 circular shapes
Times more tattooed people than stressed people
Playground devices, of which 11 are boring
String smells per hour (in the morning)
Intimate moments per hour during the day vs. 13 intimate moments per hour in the late evening

  • 5

    Artists involved

  • 28

    Days of observation

For those of an inquisitive nature you can see all of the observations gathered here. There are plans for the project to continue further in 2022/2023 by taking this research into a more rural location too.

You can see highlights from STAMP Festival below or an interview with STAMP Director Tom Lanzki too!

A few weeks before the Bureau of Desired Values moved in, the same place was already occupied by another artist group, called Wir4. For several weeks they opened the Office of Superpowers that tasked people with sharing their ambitions, hopes and desires for district.

  • 414

    Types of observvations

  • 8

    Categories observed

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