Lilo & Ástvaldur: Come Build an Amphitheatre with Us!

Ahead of the installation of the Amphitheatre Chiers in the Parc de la Chiers – one of the five projects that will be realized in Differdange this summer in the framework of Esch22, the winners of the idea – Lilo Ming Kiefer and Ástvaldur Axel Thorisson shared with us bits about themselves and what motivates them to create.

Tell us a bit about you, how your background affect the art you create?

Ástvaldur: We both come from a background of handcraft and construction, which sure has shaped our interest in the constructed world and the structures of cities around us. At the same time, we have both engaged in very different fields, ranging from architecture and different handcrafts to fashion and sound art. Our different interests and experiences complement each other and allow us to engage in vivid discussions about the different aspects of the projects we realize together.

What motivated you to participate in DiffMIx?

Lilo: We were very curious about the idea of reactivating spaces that the community of Differdange chose to be in need of a change. This citizen-oriented approach shapes the whole creative process and allows for it to become a form of dialogue, which was very appealing to us, as this direct form of exchange is not always given in the creative work, particularly when it comes to urban spaces.           

Where did you find inspiration for your DiffMix suggestion?

Ástvaldur: With Amphitheatre Chiers we basically just reacted to the comments from the citizens in the briefing. It seemed like the park is very popular, and people appreciate the place as a space of relaxation and enjoying nature, yet felt that it lacked the opportunity to get together for different activities. The circular area with its low stone border of the selected area in the park already defines a space that is separated from the rest of the park. The combination of its circular shape and the wish for an open space of exchange and engagement brought up associations with an Amphitheatre.  

Describe how art is important in shaping the urban space?

Lilo: We see artistic interventions as a powerful tool to change, rethink and develop urban spaces. As opposed to urban design and architectural practices, art has the potential to evaluate and shape a space from a different perspective that isn’t as much defined by the rules of its discipline, or at least, doesn’t have to be.  

What you were busy with when you learned you’re one of the winners of DiffMix?

Ástvaldur: Unfortunately there is no exciting story to tell, we were both just following our average work day when the email popped up – still, it came as a pleasant surprise and beautifully timed just before the Christmas holidays.             

What’s your first step to materialize your idea?

Lilo: Our first step is to adjust the design in a way that we can engage as many people of the community as possible in the process of making. As we are planning to set it up with the people of the neighbourhood in an open construction site, inviting everyone from kids to adults willing to join without any specific skills required, we need to make sure to prepare well and reduce the use of tools that require particular training to a minimum.