Homezone – Erlangen 06.08

Photo: Kaspar (Rubbing a circle of scent into Erlangen)

Homezone, an area defined by mobile telephone networks and based on my residential address.

For the ARENA Festival in Erlangen I agreed to document and interact with the ‘Festival Homezone‘. For three days I invited people entering our Homezone to a nice cup of tea, mapped out an interlocking network of resident’s Homezones, conducted interviews on the streets, and led a group expedition around the perimeters of this virtual boundary.

Group expedition

The Erlangen Festival Homezone has a diameter of 1,7km, and happens to run along the old city walls, though this is perhaps not surprising, given that the Theatre is next to the old town square. My first walk around the Erlangen Homezone took place on Wednesday the 25th of June, shortly after the Euro 2008 semi-final between Germany and Turkey. The sight of people pissing along the boundaries of our Homezone helped me decide what exercise I would like to conduct as a group activity.

Writing and reading a line into the city; a border; a boundary:

We armed ourselves with lemons, nutmegs, ginger, garlic, vinegar, oranges and lavender. We rubbed a ring of scent into the streets of Erlangen. Like dogs leaving a scent or marking out their territory.

We let other stories, associations and coincidences cross, join or interact with our line/journey. We looked for other territorial markings or references.

Could we perceive a difference between the outside and inside of our zone, outsiders and insiders? How do our territorial actions affect these perceptions? Are we informing or mis-informing ourselves? Place as a place of perception.

What is it like if you come into this space as a guest? What kind of host are we walking through?
Vodpod videos no longer available.
I wasn’t sure how much the walk would also function as a drift (reading into the city), partly due to the task we had to complete (writing into the city), and partly due to the way in which we were doing this as a group rather than a solitary activity.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear of the many varied accounts from the four returning expeditions (each group scenting a quarter of the line to complete the circle). Alongside the playful mis-perceptions towards outsiders and insiders, there was a greater emphasis on the political reading of the activity than I perhaps expected, including the possible implications of such commercial and technologically defined boundaries within our living environment.

On a personal note, I found myself becoming less ‘aware’ of some of the contradictions and coincidences that the city was offering me, and more engrossed on the task in hand. I also found myself becoming increasingly territorial/aggressive, rubbing garlic provocatively in front of doorways or at nose height, breaking certain social acceptance barriers and having fun doing it.

One older participant encountered an elderly resident who objected to the apparent waste of food used to conduct the activity, leading to a debate between the participating group and the offended party. To a post-war perspective that takes food as a matter of survival, a potentially offensive and flippant game. I don’t know exactly how this debate was resolved.

ARENA Festival – Documentation/Report
ARENA Festival – Rubbing a circle of scent – Review
Homezone – Full project description

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