'How do you shape space? That question intrigues me because it brings together political, aesthetic and design-related choices. What interests me in particular is how human places influence awareness. I dream of spatial designs that transition smoothly into landscape – designs that would help our planet.'
– Marjan Slob
Over the past decade, our increasing and often conflicting claims on space have made disputes more intense and more urgent, widening the gap between the haves and de have-nots. That is why the AFFR programme this year highlights the theme of Contested Space.
Our theme is part of a broader development that we see emerging in schools of architecture, in open calls by funds, in public debates, and in the media. One noticeable feature is the varied nature of the discussions – ranging from food to ecological footprints, from construction to biodiversity, from migration to market influences, from beauty to nitrate debt, and from material choices to climate justice. Such discussions reveal an increasingly comprehensive orientation to the wider world. There is a growing awareness that everybody who works in the spatial disciplines – designers, builders, planners and policy-makers, as well as farmers and nature managers, critics and advisors – bears a responsibility that extends beyond individual needs and interests.
As the biggest international film festival that focuses on architecture, the city and the landscape, AFFR screens around 100 films at the festival. Reaching beyond the fleeting nature of daily debates, they not only offer an overview of the latest developments, but also provide fresh perspectives on and revealing narratives about the increasingly contentious disputes sparked by contested spaces. Moreover, the medium of film brings you the whole world, demonstrating that the local and the global are interlinked. Such a breath of fresh air is very welcome when it comes to the theme of Contested Space.