[spectre] NEWBORN -- Undeliverable?
felix at openflows.com
Thu Jun 5 10:31:26 CEST 2008
NEWBORN -- Undeliverable?
A truck is circulating through Zurich. Seven extra-large letters stand on
its open holding area. They form the word NEWBORN. At different locations,
the trucks pulls up. A rapper, EKI NOX, performs. But the truck has to
leave again after a very short time. Will its cargo remain undeliverable?
This intervention examines how multiple, translocal networks constitute
themselves in the common local space of Zurich and how they develop
specific forms of visibility and invisibility within the public space. The
truck with the NEWBORN sign serves as focal point triggering responses
which will render these presences visible to all.
The original meaning of the NEWBORN sign will be evident primarily to
migrants from the Balkans. Many of them were either present in person, or
via the media, when an almost identical sculpture was unveiled at the
Mother Theresa Square in Pristina when the independence of the Kosovo was
declared (02.17.2008). For the Kosovo-Albanians, that sculpture symbolizes
a new phase of their self-constitution. Not just in the Kosovo, but also
in Zurich. Since the establishment of the state, the Kosovo-Albanian
community in Switzerland is beginning to (re)present itself in the public
sphere on their own terms. Kosovo-Albanians will also understand the
rapper whose lyrics are partly in Albanian and how he interprets the
NEWBORN sign from his individual perspective.
The issue of a 'new beginning' is also present in the Swiss political
public, not the least through recurring debates over and votes on the
conditions under which foreigners can become Swiss citizens. At the same
time, a discourse on 'shifting identities' seems to offer -- if not a new
beginning -- then at least an alternative conception of 'post-national'
The third layer which circulation of the NEWBORN through the city of Zürich
investigates in the capturing of the public space through commercial
actors and their interest. The EURO2008, which starts while the
intervention is taking place, pushes this development to new dimensions.
Across the city highly controlled areas of intensive advertisement (fan
zones) are being erected. For those who do not behave according to
protocol special temporary detention facilities are being erected so that
they can be removed swiftly from the public space. The degree to which the
public and imaginary space as already been captured by commercialism will
lead most people who see the NEWBORN circulating through the streets to
interpret it as just another advertisement signage to be set up somewhere
in the city.
The Project NEWBORN -- Undeliverable? conducts research into the
constitution and interaction of multiple, parallel publics within the
local space of Zurich shaped by the dynamics of translocal migration,
national identity and globalized commercialism. Such a research endeavor
needs to take place in the public space itself. Only by intervening
directly the latent, often invisible dynamics can be brought to the
surface. Activating existing and triggering new dynamics is an essential
part of the approach. The interventions are being documented and material
will be made available online and offline.
NEWBORN -- Undeliverable? will take place June 5-7 in Zurich. The precise
locations of the interventions will not be announced in advance. Stay
More information about the SPECTRE