Do you feel that your neighbourhood is currently not for people but rather for cars and that you rarely meet outside with neighbours and friends? Neighbourhood festivities „Zažít město jinak“ (Different City Experience) open the streets to the people of Prague for one day. Thanks to them you can see the city where cars are not parked on pavements, but where coffee houses have their tables and where children play in the streets.
Different City Experience was a very first project of Auto*Mat. It was held in 2003 on Smetana riverside for the first time and its central idea, to experience the city unoccupied by cars, is still with us. Every year Different City Experience is growing and more local clubs, associations and businesses are taking part in the preparations.
More information and program can be found on Different City Experience website.
In Auto*Mat, we love the power of images. One morning, the city woke up to find dozens of white angels in the streets. Everyone met them on the way to work. The police were puzzled to discover white creatures on their security cameras, radio comentators tried to find out what it all meant.
These white angels with veils covering their faces simply helped pedestrians to cross at difficult places, they appeared at unexpected places in the middle of the traffic jungle or they stood on the roadside and looked at passing cars. Some were happy, some were sad, but they definitely made people think about their city that day.
A traffic obstacle: a pianist playing and singing his song on a grand piano, the choir and string players on the sidewalk. Again, a negligible few minutes of disturbance in the flow of the city made people wonder. Was it totally inappropriate for a pianist to play his song in the middle of a highway, or did the pianist actually belong to the space and it was the highway that was totally inappropriate in the heart of the city?
We invited people to take a walk with us. First, the procedure of putting one leg in front of the other was carefully explained then we set off to the streets of Prague. Strange things happened on the way. It was as though the city was a theater, yet all the performers seemed to be doing nothing special, just using the city for ordinary activities such as walking, lying down and having a rest or talking.
Once again the participants were reassured that if streets were interesting, walking was a pleasurable and effortless means of transportation.
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