2018 - Ongoing
City of London, England, United Kingdom; New York City, New York, United States; Paris, Île-de-France, France; Hamburg, Germany; Berlin, Germany
In 2008, for the first time worldwide, more people lived in cities than in rural areas. At the same time, a new architecture of discipline and social exclusion has developed, which is essentially shaped by private costs and thus escapes democratic influence.
The renowned architect Patrik Schumacher presented his eight-point manifesto for the first time at the World Architecture Festival 2006 in Berlin. In this manifesto he calls for the abolition of all state regulations with regard to subsidised housing construction, land use and rent regulation. He concludes his manifesto with the demand:
"Privatization of all streets, squares, public spaces and parks, if possible entire districts".
In the work "Excl." such architectural places of this "beautiful new living and working" in the "administered world" are interpreted photographically. The works were created in the city centres of London, Paris, New York, Berlin, Hamburg and Leipzig and depict them in their uniformity. We see anonymous, isolated homes and workplaces that are supposed to represent a modern, sterile and safe environment. In order to keep this promise, permanent surveillance is established and all disturbances are kept away as far as possible.
No lamppost, no plant is designed for its own sake, the architecture and the associated urban space are predominantly designed according to security and exclusion aspects. In the "competition of cities", clean, supposedly safe consumer environments are to be created, which only differ in their design and due to local conditions, i.e. in their "appearance" but not in their "essence".
The associated, internationally observed development of counteracting possible conflicts of use through design or redesign (for example, the installation of barriers or defensive devices) forms the basis of this work.
The sub-series "Silent Agents", shows various forms of these interventions in urban (supposed) public space. Depending on the respective conditions and requirements of the different places, differences in the objectives and thus the design of the respective interventions can be observed.
Similar to the panopticon described by Foucault, the installations thematized here become "silent agents", since they control the behavior of people without direct action by the respective authorities. In this way, behavior is influenced more subtly, whereby the individual actors perceive it to varying degrees - if at all - depending on their social, cultural and economic capital. An example of this would be a waiting bench in a subway station, where the newly available armrests make no difference to the majority, but are a restriction for a homeless person.
Overall, it can be observed that marginalised and socially excluded groups, which have little economic and cultural capital, are most affected by the measures of exclusion. While the developments in public space - described by critics as "unpleasant design" or "hostile architecture" - will disadvantage all citizens in the long term.