Arttours interrogates a specific form of walking experience, that of the city tour, encouraging an analytical and adventurous approach to navigating a city. Traditional expectations are redefined and playfully subverted; the consumer becomes the service provider, visitors became guides, the foreign became the familiar, the mundane became the attraction, and destinations became places of departure.

Kaspar Wimberley, Stuttgart, Germany

ARTTOURS explores, reimagines and interrogates a specific form of walking experience, that of the city tour. Established in 2011, ARTTOURS is a programme of city tours, walks and participative experiments, conceived by selected local and international artists to explore new ways of interacting with an urban environment, while responding to the role and potential of the tourism experience.

ARTTOURS concentrates on physical, sensual, intimate and unpredictable encounters with Stuttgart and its inhabitants, encouraging and nurturing an analytical and adventurous approach to navigating a city. The traditional expectations surrounding a ‘city tour’ are redefined and playfully subverted; the consumer becomes the service provider, visitors became guides, the foreign became the familiar, the mundane became the attraction, and destinations became places of departure. The tourist is an active participant, rather than a passive recipient: an explorer, researcher, detective, cartographer, collector, tracker and collaborator.

Tours have included an aerobic work-out-tour through the city center, an underground adventure to a city that doesn’t exist, a simultaneous walk in two different cities, a street sweeping ritual rewarded with coffee and cake, a ride in the slowest Porsche in the world, familiar songs in unfamiliar places, a political palimpsest of Athens and Stuttgart, an audio tour for lazy days and blisters, and an excursion to the moments that write the every-day history of the city.

To date ARTTOURS have produced and presented 30 projects with 35 artists. Projects have attracted a wide-ranging audience demographic, including both international visitors and local residents. Activities have been presented in local, national and international press, in newspapers, magazines, publications, radio and television.

ARTTOURS works together with a range of local and transnational partners to fund and promote our programme, while presenting papers and hosted discussions at international conferences and symposiums, such as the 'B-Tour Festival' in Berlin (2014), the ‘International Research Forum on Guided Tours’ in Breda (2013) and 'in fortbewegung' in Leipzig (2012).

In the space of three years ARTTOURS has established itself as a national platform for innovative interdisciplinary public art on the boundaries between performance, live art, architecture, intervention and tourism.

Methodology

ARTTOURS present a mixture of new self-produced or co-produced work, existing work that has been re-contextualised for Stuttgart and externally funded guest productions. We work with artists from a range of disciplines, including interventionists, activists, sculptors, fine-artists, architects, video artists, sound artists and radio presenters. Each season of events has a thematic focus, but projects are not restricted to this discourse.

The majority of projects are selected from an open call for projects. This work is placed alongside continued collaboration with a core group of local artists. Each year we host a creative laboratory to help define the curatorial direction for the coming season. Proposals are reviewed, before entering into discussions with selected artists. Most new productions begin with a period of on-site research to develop ideas, prepare for the presentation of the work and establish connections with local artists and institutions. Throughout this process we offer curatorial and production support, assessing needs and negotiating legal or personal requirements.

Submitter

Kaspar Wimberley, Stuttgart, Germany

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