For several years, Zurich has seen major reconstruction. While imposingly named skyscrapers (think “Prime Tower”) encroach on the city’s western districts, the area near the central station is about to reinvent itself as a brand new quarter: Europaallee. Once witness to Swiss National Rail barracks, the planned neighborhood (scheduled for completion in 2020) will encompass new apartments, a shopping and leisure mile, commercial real estate, and an educational center. Since September 2013, this area in flux has also served as the setting and scene for an artistic project: Here, Basle-based interventionist Heinrich Lüber regularly takes over the bare bones of an ongoing building project. At construction plot G he affixes his three-legged aluminum disc structure to the façade, perched inside an open sphere of poles, to embark on a dialog with the building and his audience. As part of this temporary intervention, he slowly moves up with the growing structure and thus escapes the viewers below, while – from his perspective – the audience keeps getting smaller.
This confronts the artist himself, as part of the transforming landscape, with fundamental questions on the potential scope for exchange between what is planned and what is built. How do people, the key indicators of any building project, slot into this new environment – and why are they there? While Lüber does not provide any set answers, he does open up opportunities for tackling these challenges ourselves.
The Under Construction performance series will continue with three further dates until May 2014 as part of the city’s Art in Public Space Europaallee initiative. Lüber’s next public performance will take place on February 2nd, 2014.
Text: Vanessa Obrecht
Header Image: © SBB Immobilien