At Home in Wollishofen

Mo Diener, Genia L.-Hünemörder, Lada Nakonechna, Anuradha Pathak 

12th of June – 1st of July 2010

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The project „At Home in Wollishofen“ is investigating the new types of identity emerging in our globalized world and the means through which one can attain a sense of belonging. The project is located in and focused on the Wollishofen neighborhood of Zurich, and tries, through artistic interventions, to create settings for a “communicative home”. The underlining thought is that having a sense of home is having a sense of connectedness to others. The project is realized in collaboration with the GZ Wollishofen and with the support from the Rote Fabrik, as part of the series of events celebrating its 30th anniversary. One of the factors that triggered the idea of the project were the public construction works that take place in many areas of Wollishofen, which changed the face of the neighborhood, brought in new inhabitants (the workers), made the streets narrower and interaction more frequent. We can think of the whole project as being under the sign of labor, in process, as a network of relationships and interactions in flux. The goal of the project is to create “spaces of encounter”, where the inhabitants of Wollishofen, the passers by, the artists and the street workers can meet, interact and maybe feel “at home”.

The “headquarters” of the project are situated in the Artfoyer Cavigelli (arhitecture studio, Albistrasse 27) and the window of the GZ Wollishofen (Albisstrasse 25). From here, the project will expand through actions and performances that will embrace other areas of the neighborhood. The artistic interventions are all site-specific responses to the neighborhood of Wollishofen, raising questions about how we interact with each other within a community, about public versus private spaces, about recognizing the others not just in their stereotypical quality of being “workers“ or “artists“ or “immigrants“. The form of the project is not structured as a classic exhibition, but more as a platform which tries to open up spaces for communicating and sharing ideas.

“At Home in Wollishofen” Events: 

11th of June, 6 p.m.                              Opening with actions by Mo Diener and Lada Nakonechna
20th of June, 4 p.m.                              Anuradha Pathak, action, Rote Fabrik
24th, 25th, 26th of June , from 11 a.m.  Mo Diener, Workshop and Performance in Artfoyer 
27th of June, 11 a.m.                             Lada Nakonechna, action, GZ am See
1st of July, 6.30 p.m.                             Finissage 

We are living in an itinerant and time-compressing age, defined by the quintessential experience of movement around the globe. Globalization, migration, exile, relocation, on one side, and new technologies that facilitate instant real-time communication, on the other side, have an unprecedented impact on our lives and have become the central motives of our culture. Our lives have become decentered and fragmented, at once local and universal, a set of journeys between places and experiences. According to Zygmunt Bauman „one thinks of identity whenever one is not sure of where one belongs; [..] Identity is a name given to the escape sought from that uncertainty.“ Where one belongs is in other words where one feels „at home“. Thus, the concept of home as an identity searching space gives a good vantage point from where identity constructs can be investigated. 

Identity is always a temporary and unstable effect of relations, thus incomplete, in process. The emphasis today is on the multiplicity of identities and differences rather than on distinctive identities of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, class and nationality, and on the connections between these fragments.  As a result, our understanding of “home” as an identity searching space has also changed. Our “homes” are fragmented, temporary, decentralized and even impossible to attain, mirroring our identity constructs. In place of the conventional conception of home as the stable physical center of the universe – a safe place to leave and return to – a far more mobile notion came into use: a home that can be taken along whenever one decamps. For a world of travelers and journeymen, home comes to be found far more usually in a routine set of practices, in a repetition of habitual social interactions, in the ritual of a regularly used personal name. "Home" is "where one best knows oneself" and stands for a safe place, where there is no need to explain oneself to outsiders; it stands for community. In a world more open than ever, where long term relationships are hard to maintain, people are always and yet never "at home", they always struggle to find means to feel connected to a place, a group, a community. What elements help us feel "at home" in a different environment? How do we remodel our identity and thereby our definition of "home"? How do we fight against the spreading condition of homelessness?