BA !! - Places of living culture (1989-2016) is a book and website with the ambition to map the extinct, but in its time significant independent cultural spaces of Bratislava in the period from the fall of the Iron Curtain to the present day. Published by the Atrakt Art association, one of the founders of A4 - the space of contemporary culture and also the publisher of the 3/4 magazine.
The project looks at the recent cultural history of Bratislava through the extinct independent cultural spaces through the authentic testimonies of their creators and collaborators. In the present and recent past, we have witnessed the decline of many independent cultural spaces, which are of great importance in the artistic, cultural and social life of the inhabitants of the city. The cover visual is rather dark, pointing to the symbolic death of projects.
The publication includes, in addition to photographs and graphic design, the axonometries of individual places. These were drawn from scratch by the designer Braňo Matis as a valuable data collection and architectural typology overview of recent cultural centers.
Most of the material is based on real proportions - the basis was the floor plans. Obtaining data for the illustrations was enormously demanding. The graphic designers were also working as journalists, or detectives, with a high level of deduction and improvisation. Some places have not been accessible or disappeared a long time ago, so-called memorial reconstructions were used to sketch the schemes. Since it is not possible to determine the exact proportions in this way, the drawing is indicated by a broken, "indeterminate" line - the reality could have been different. This also applies to the appearance and layout of furniture, which was perceived as symbolic rather than descriptive. The scale of the spaces is illustrated by a staff from the pictorial Hello font by designer Lukáš Čeman, the possible resemblance to real people is mostly coincidental.
The experience of cultural creators is often a test of what kind of operation of local democracy we are able to do in practice. The visualisation of this data is also very crucial for future city development and the research. Socialism, with its central planning of urbanism and culture, was replaced by the constant struggle for the face of public space, which has a collective owner, but in which everyone can play a very specific role. This project is describing and visualising these processes. The webpage was completed in 2018 and in addition to the printed book contains wider search possibilities as well as flexible visualisation of the situation in Bratislava cultural scene according to years, places and people, that were active in these places.