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Invitation to the Forum 02: BASIC RIGHTS SQUARE

Lecture

Fr 14.05.2004

ZKM-Media Theatre | 6 pm | admission free

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Other forums:
Forum 01: Tue 11 May 2004 | 6 pmr | Bürgersaal in the Town Hall, Marktplatz
Forum 03 : Sat 15 May 2004 | 4 pm | Feuerbachsaal, Staatliche Kunsthalle

In early 2002 Jochen Gerz was commissioned by the Karlsruhe city authorities to produce a BASIC RIGHTS SQUARE, a work of art for the public space. It had its origins in the city’s wish to document, deepen and visualise its relationship with the law and the courts in Karlsruhe, in particular the Federal Constitutional Court. In the first part of his project Jochen Gerz put questions to the Karlsruhe court presidents, a number of other lawyers and prominent citizens of the city abut the contribution made by law to society. He then questioned the perpetrators of crimes, citizens who have fallen foul of the law and people with no professional or personal concept of lawfulness and unlawfulness. This provided him with two sets of 24 statements. One answer from each of the two groups questioned is to be enamelled on the front and back of a road sign. All told, 24 road signs are to be produced with 48 statements on the law, each mounted on a metal post.

There will be two versions of this public work of art. The artist envisages a central version of BASIC RIGHTS SQUARE as well as a decentralised version distributed over the entire city. The central location will be determined by the city, while the decentralised version is to be discussed by the residents of Karlsruhe. The proposed locations for the decentralised BASIC RIGHTS SQUARE will be the outcome of discussions at three forums. The first forum [11 May 2004] is being staged by the city of Karlsruhe, the second by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office [14 May 2004] and the third by the Staatliche Kunsthalle [15 May 2004].

As in other places in Europe, Gerz’s project in Karlsruhe is the product of a contribution by the general public; in other words the residents become the co-authors of the work. The invitation to attend the forums is therefore being extended to the citizens of the city, who are called upon to think about a location, a specific place in the city that they think would be suitable for one of the 24 road signs. Proposals based on historical arguments – such as for Schlossplatz, where Margrave Karl Friedrich proclaimed the end of serfdom in 1783 – can be submitted as well suggestions based on personal experiences or events that lend a new significance to a house, a road or a part of the city.

EVERY FORUM IS INTENDED TO TAKE THE FORM OF A DISCUSSION AND PAVE THE WAY FOR A VOTE ON EIGHT OF THE 24 LOCATIONS. THE ISSUES AT STAKE ARE KARLSRUHE, THE LAW, ART AND PUBLIC EXPRESSION.

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