Five fingers are not equal — by doing they become similar

Participatory project at Helmhaus Zurich, 9. 3. – 6. 5. 2018
With Nadja Baldini and inhabitants of the Übergangszentrums Halle 9 Zu?rich-Oerlikon: Omar Ali, Hicham El Khemisi, Filimon Habtom, Fatime, Rahimullah Mohammadi, Qurban Ali Rahimi, Sidy Sangare, Jawed Stanikzai, Architecture for Refugees, Eritrean Disaspora Academy
Get the beautiful catalog by A.C. Kupper.
Documentation as PDF in German.

My contribution to the first part of an exhibition trilogy titled ’REFAIRE LE MONDE * POSITION‘ from 9. 3. – 6. 5. 2018 at Helmhaus Zurich dealt with the housing situation of asylum seekers at ’U?bergangszentrum Halle 9‘ in Oerlikon.

The ’Halle 9‘ became infamous in 2015, because IKEA better shelter housing units should have been installed there. But as these units burned down in no time during a test by the fire police, an alternative solution had to be installed within no time between Christmas and New Year. Due to the familiarity with the working material, spartan units were made out of wood with metal mesh covered ventilation holes instead of windows, which were not suitable for a longer stay. But—what a surprise—for many dwellers their stay turned out to be rather long than short.

It was clear for me, not to do a work about but with the inhabitants. Subsequently, many meetings and visits to Oerlikon followed in order to find participants, who were willing to take part in workshops and co-create the space in the exhibition. My approach was, as the title is telling, to dissolve differences by a joint doing and let a community evolve.

The spatial layout was a decision from my part in order to set a frame and allow activities to take place. The communal doing found various forms like an audio and text installation, a photographic self-documentation, a collage by Architecture for Refugees, a reading corner, 3 workshops, 4 evenings with talks, ape?ro and dinner every Sunday for which the audience was invited, walks, boat trips and grill feasts. The house was alive and our social sculpture morphed into the Club La Fafa, which took over the same space during the last part of the trilogy REFAIRE LE MONDE * PROPOSITION.