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platzhalter (placeholder) 1, 2006

Billboards in: dangerous crossings, the grammar of tolerance. Ortstermine, City of Munich/d, 2006. Curated by Pia Lanzinger, Farida Heuck, Ralf Homann.

The RELAX project platzhalter - at chosen sites - serves to reappropriate those economy-dedicated and gentrified spaces, superficies and vacant sites. In addition, platzhalter provides the time and space to inquire into the general public that uses these semi-public domains. What kind of public makes up “the public domain” and which kind, from the start, is ignored as being economically uninteresting or seen to be a threat by those who stand for stability through identity? The medial setting and furnishings provided by the city speak a clear language. Thus in many cities, public benches have, for instance, been divided by armrests or replaced by moulded seats on which, of course, no one can lie outstretched.

Citizens have been converted into customers. The employees and staff of the public administration have been renamed. The term of human resources (HR) got successfully imposed on them. HR has now become part of everyday usage. In German, the concept of “human capital” is often applied here. RELAX prefers, however, to translate HR with “human raw material” or just “human material” (Menschenmaterial) in order to make clear the crude precariousness that comes about by assigning this passive role to citizens.

Installation: RELAX furnishes Munich’s city space with placeholder-type equipment such as enclosing a pavilion or providing walls with surfaces that are posted with fields of coloured paper and covered in words like human resources. These surfaces offer projection screens for all kind of inscriptions.
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