The visitor visits himself. Lukas Niermann

Neighbours meet, talking briefly on their doorsteps, a woman pushes her buggy on the footpath, children run to catch the tram, and the owner of the kiosk tidies magazines in his window display. The visitors to the exhibition see a street. They see something that they could equally see anywhere, without being spectators to a work of art.

The visitors’ school was an important part of 2-3 Streets. It was not only an invitation to get to know the streets and the creative people living there, but also an invitation to make a contribution and become an author of 2-3 Streets. Forty years after Bazon Brock's unforgotten Visitors’ School at the documenta 4 exhibition in Kassel, the Visitors’ School in 2-3 Streets turns the creative focus back to the diaspora of reality in the so-called problem areas, which up to this day stand for anything other than art and culture.

The Visitors’ School changed something for me. You learn to relate to an unknown, unusual reality. You meet a multitude of people, whom you might perhaps not meet in your everyday life – and communication outside of normal everyday life takes place. Charles Kaltenbacher

Interested individuals, art clubs, groups of pupils, students of creative writing, urban development or history of art, tourist groups from all over Germany and Europe − more than 1.300 people visited the exhibition. They were escorted through the streets, gardens, courtyards and apartments by new and old residents. No visit was like any other, each was an experiment, a new beginning for both sides. Thanks to these meetings and contributions, the visitors also became authors. The many foreign voices of the residents of the apartments among the old and new inhabitants of the streets broaden the common text to incorporate unusual perspectives from a social point of view.

Their contribution is that they bring themselves, their life or whatever else for a moment to these streets. I have always explained that writing represents the dialogue between the image and the observer symbolically. It is giving something back, writing back. Mathias Lempart

© Jochen Gerz 2008/2011   Contact   Imprint