Western society is progressively becoming estranged and individualized. According to the OECD’s (Organisation for Co-operation and Development) recent report, people spend longer hours at work with an average of 46.7 weekly hours in the US. We also spend a shocking average of 5 hours daily in front of our TVs, mobile phones, computers and tablets according to the digital business magazine Ouartz. This has destructive effects on communal engagement and neighborhood life in western cities today. Therefore, the diverse, international and mobile societies in contemporary metropolitan environments call for new approaches to the formation of local, creative, democratic and active communities.
Confronted with this situation we created B_Tour, a platform to examine current needs of urban life and to explore how art can be used as a tool to find possible answers to these needs. We curate, commission and develop artistic guided tours in urban environments. The tours provide locals with a new perspective of their city and inspire community life and civil participation. We aim to trigger our audiences’ imagination in order to generate the cities we would like to live in and the societies we would like to be part of. B_Tours provide an intimate setting for an exchange with a group of strangers based on a common shared interest in one’s city. Participants develop a better understanding and empathy to their city in general and their neighborhood in particular as well as the people who inhabit it.
We work with artists who create tours that rethink storytelling and suggest innovative, experimental approaches to the conventional format of a guided tour. B_Tours refer aesthetically and in their use of media and new communication technologies (text messages, Apps, GPRS, geocaching etc) to our urban habits and lifestyles. The tours are lead either by the artists in person or the artists’ narrations in the form of audio tours, instruction guides/texts or maps through different neighborhoods.
B_Tour’s activities include:
As professionals in the field of art in public spaces, B_Tour artistic directors, Christin Prätor and Yael Sherill, were invited to participate in the following panels, programs and public talks:
Over the past two years we also collaborated with a series of institutions, university departments and artistic groups such as: English Theater Berlin- International Performing Arts Center, Public Art Lab, ZK/U Berlin - Center for Art and Urbanistics, REX Cultural Center, Cultural Center of Belgrade, Faculty of Technical Sciences - University of Novi Sad SCEN (Centre for Scene Design, Architecture and Technology) – OISTAT Center Serbia, Goethe Institut Belgrade - Urban Incubator, Rimini Protokoll, Bitef- Belgrade International Theater Festival, The 55th October Salon and others .
Still, B_Tour does not receive regular state funding, therefore, in order to realize B_Tour’s activities we apply for particular project grants. So far, we were able to secured grants by: Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen, ECF- European Cultural Foundation - Step Beyond, Kulturallianzen and the Marketing Competition by PAP (Performing Arts Program). We were also supported by the National Tourist Organisation of Serbia, the Canadian Embassy in Berlin, Prince Clause Fund for Culture and Development, The British Council and more.