Poster session in the „Öffentlichkeit als Interaktion“ Workshop-Tagung, 18. bis 20. Januar 2018, Universität Zürich
From Homeland to Dreamland: A Non-Place Odyssey
This poster does not communicate with one who is not equipped with a smart phone and a QR-scanner. For most of the people who are not equipped with a QR-scanner in their pocket (e.g. most of the x generation who are digital immigrants), interacting with this poster is comparable to the subjective experience of a „non-place“ or even worse: A digital space, that is not of the same significance of the real space , has made itself caring and deserting at the same time by the medium of a poster that paradoxically stands out of reach, in Ausstand, striking against the digital-immigrant’s desire for interaction. To feel abandoned from a supermodern space like this, in spite of an ultimate spatial closeness and availability, is to put our feet into the shoes of a refugee/immigrant.
A refugee camp is a place without history lingering between the tragic past and an unknown future of its people. This surrender to solitary detachment from the rest of the city is subliminally signaling a disintegrative message: You are not there! This is the experience of a “non-place.”
To share this experience would have its own “talking cure” effect but surely the language is a big barrier. The bigness of this barrier would become more palpable when we search for words like “Arabic art” in the internet. A large amount of calligraphies will appear on the screen. This reflects a kind of privilege of language as a set of signifiers (word) over the plastic world (Flesh).
Dwelling inside an archaic culture of this kind will process a very special kind of ‘visual system’. Language is a life form and there is a mutually constitutive relationship between the language that we use and the world that we live in. However, the language itself is paradoxically a communicative barrier. To skip this barrier we might have to learn to communicate by visual means and develop a brand new ‘visual system’. Integration means communication between two different “visual systems” yielding a new hybrid identity.
In this poster the results of two series of graphical workshops are compared. Two set of workshops with identical content took up the visual insights of two group of children: 1-the children of a refugees‘ camp in Stuttgart, mostly coming from the Middle East (girl on the right) and 2- the children of a normal school Germany (left side). Again, the same Word vs. Flesh dichotomy is detectable in the artworks of these children. On one side the children try to make something plastic out of the given words and letters (a pipe, a crown, a glass, etc.) where the other group is confined with the „gesture -letters“ as a set of calligraphic abstract forms.