Not Standing in Place

14 imaginary monuments

For «Not Standing in Place», we invited a group of international artists to create imaginary monuments in text form to be installed across Theater Spektakel’s festival site. These monuments summoned in language are presented on a variety of structures – from billboards and 3-dimensional constructions to small signs and banners.

Our hope for this temporary project was that it would ask questions about which aspects of experience, history and daily life are marked or celebrated in shared public space. We had anticipated that different questions around permanence/ephemeralness, around material presence, and more broadly around societal change, might come to the fore, but essentially, we wanted the focus to come from the invited artists themselves, reflecting their interests and concerns.

The two of us come to this project from a number of angles. Through Vlatka’s experience as someone raised during socialism in what used to be Yugoslavia, living now – when that country no longer exists – as part of its diaspora, we have been sensitized to the ways in which social and political changes are played out in the public sphere. Thinking how acts of disavowal, removal and replacement – of ideas (and ideals), icons, monuments and other artefacts – often characterize times of change. More recently, debates about monuments have intensified since last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, provoking actions (and retrenchments) in many contexts, especially in respect of statues associated with histories of racial injustice, oppression and colonial exploitation. Meanwhile, broader culture wars, driven by populist politics have drawn attention to other performative symbols in public space, from flags to public actions in support of health workers.

We wanted these text-based works to open up a playful and vivid space of public imagination, reflection and thinking. A space where ideas can be unpacked in the minds of those encountering the works. With our invitation we tried to leave the field open, ceding to the artists to make text works that give attention to things that concern them: personal stories or interests, forgotten or marginalized histories, surprising events or images, shared dreams or even abstract ideas. The artists who have made works within the frame of «Not Standing in Place» – a mix of folks coming from visual art, performance and socially engaged practice – have indeed responded with an incredible diversity of ideas and approaches.

In dialogue with the festival team, we decided early on that the project would be realized remotely. With an awareness of both the global pandemic and the climate emergency, the goal was to avoid international travel. We have asked the artists to effectively give us proposals – texts and instructions for how their work should be realized – and, in dialogue with us, the production was carried out locally in Zurich. This process assumed a huge deal of trust on the part of the participating artists, for which we are immensely grateful.

The international artists whose temporary text-based monuments have been realized on the Landiwiese have each written an introduction to their own work for this guide. We hope you will consider some of the ideas, questions and concerns they have asked us to contend with.

Vlatka Horvat & Tim Etchells



Words are Monuments
Sibiu & Bucharest

In 1989 my fellow Romanian people died on the streets for Freedom. I honour their memory treating Public Space very seriously. Words are Monuments.

Dan Perjovschi lives and works in Bucharest and Sibiu, Romania. His solo shows include «Drawing the World» at Ludwig Museum (Aachen, 2021), «Unframed» at Kiasma (Helsinki, 2013), «What Happen to US?» at MoMA (New York City, 2007), «I am not Exotic I am Exhausted» at Kunsthalle Basel (2007), «The Room Drawing» at Tate Modern (London, 2006) and «Naked Drawings» at Ludwig Museum (Cologne, 2005). Perjovschi received the George Maciunas Prize in 2004 and the Rosa Schapire Art Prize (Kunsthalle Hamburg) in 2016.



Monument to Stranger in the Village
Brooklyn, New York

Today we honor the stranger in the village. Monuments are not permanent. They last when ideas grow inside minds and are encouraged to spread. «Monument to Stranger in the Village» is a living monument. It is a monument to the essay «Stranger in the Village». It is a monument to James Baldwin. It is a monument to the stranger in the village.

Dread Scott is an interdisciplinary artist whose art encourages viewers to re-examine ideals of American society. In 1989, the US Senate outlawed his artwork and President Bush declared it «disgraceful » because of its transgressive use of the American flag. His work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum (New York City), MoMA/PS1 (New York City), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and in galleries and on street corners. He is a 2021 John Simon Guggenheim Fellow and has also received fellowships from Open Society Foundations and United States Artists. highlighted his 2019 performance, «Slave Rebellion Reenactment», as one of the most important artworks of the decade.




«ShelTer» was conceived using the capitalised letter «T» as a sheltering shape, a shape for our time of social and climactic emergencies. The T-shape formed the basis for the construction and choice of materials, and dictated the poem below. The roof-word is wide open to the elements. At specific times of day, it exists mainly as a long shadow. Where is refuge? Where is shelter?

Caroline Bergvall is an international and award-winning artist, performer and writer. She works across media, languages and art forms. Her language-based pieces often utilise or revisit literary forms to tackle difficult historical or current events. Her travelling artworks include performances, installations, books, graphic pieces, soundworks and online events.

Under cover of Temporary
home wiThout home

Home is an earTh righT
EarTh is a home righT

When the Trumpets sound
where are The keepers?
—we are The keepers
of The world
of the hearT
of the earTh
of each oTher



Set Indiens Free
Cheyenne & Arapaho Nations, Oklahoma

Swiss artist Karl Bodmer travelled with Prince Maximilian, a so-called German «Explorer», in 1832 and ‘34 up the Missouri River in the Western tribal lands. Bodmer, in a sense, «captured» many Native people via his paintings, never to be released. There is a display of his prints and paintings right now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Those images often replace any articulation of true and now Native Nation citizens. Real Natives, even today, are not needed by the US republic to represent themselves since the Euro versions have been stolen and trotted out once again.

Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds is an artist and an advocate for indigenous communities worldwide. His works include multidisciplinary forms of public art messages, large-scale drawings, Neuf Series acrylic paintings, prints, works in glass and monumental porcelain enamel on steel outdoor sculpture. While representing indigenous communities, his art focuses first on social justice and on the personal freedom to live within the tribal circle as an expressive individual. Heap of Birds’ work has been exhibited at some of the most renowned institutions in the world, including MoMA (New York City), Site Santa Fe Museum (New Mexico), Documenta (Kassel) and the 2007 Venice Biennale and is included in the collections of many museums, such as the Whitney Museum (New York City), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and the Smithsonian Institution (Washington).



Black Text: A Covert Physical Manifestation in the Discursive Field

«Black Text» is manifestly the title page of a written work. The words and layout explicitly propose the work that is attributed to the author/publisher named «Palmer». This name appears in place of the author/publisher’s African name, which was erased as part of the transatlantic slave trade.

Katrina Palmer correlates sculpture with writing and associated forms including audio works, performances and signs. Objects, bodies and voices proposed in this writing are often precariously situated between absence and full emergence in the social space. Among her exhibitions are «The Coffin Jump» at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2018), «The Necropolitan Line» at Henry Moore Institute (Leeds, 2015), «End Matter» at Artangel (London, 2015) and «Hello and Retreat» as a part of England’s Creative Coast (Essex, 2021). Palmer received the Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists in 2014. She teaches at the Ruskin School of Art and lives in London.



They Knew
Beirut & Red Hook, New York

Lebanon is currently undergoing multiple humanitarian and economic crises, all of which have been caused by a corrupt and greedy political elite class. «They Knew» responds to the lack of accountability in regard to the devastating explosion at the port of Beirut in August 2020 and the current economic depression. The work refers to the political and business elites smuggling money outside the country just before the currency devaluation. A significant part of their (our) money ended up in Swiss banks. «They Knew» also points to the government’s knowledge of the existence of the highly explosive material stored illegally in the city’s port. In the aftermath of the explosion, a graffiti appeared, was erased, then resurfaced again. It states: «my government did this.»

Tania El Khoury is a live artist working with audience interactivity and its political potential. She is the director of the Center for Human Rights & the Arts at Bard College in New York. Tania is a co-founder of Beirut-based performance and urban research collective Dictaphone Group. She is the recipient of the Bessie Award, the International Live Art Prize, the Total Theatre Innovation Award and the Arches Brick Award.



Come Out Come Out
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

«Come Out Come Out» is a speculation on time and on being behind – both physically and temporally. These two slogans: «Come out, Come out Wherever You Are» and «An Army of Lovers Cannot Lose» are drawn from images of protests during the short-lived Gay Liberation Movement (1969–73). I think of protest as a grammar as much as an action. In that way, I see protest as composed of linguistic, choreographic, compositional, political and emotional elements. The tense of a protest sign or banner is one entirely its own: past, present and future at the same time. In this work, I want to offer a moment to linger «behind» the protest banner – a possible and impossible place. I’m interested in this holding up this space and in disrupting, ever-so-slightly the fixedness, frontality and assumptions/ presumptions of transparent facticity of the genre of monumentality.

Sharon Hayes is an artist who uses video, performance, sound and public sculpture to expose specific intersections between history, politics and speech, to unspool reductive historical narratives and to re-ignite dormant pathways through which counter-understandings of the contemporary political condition can be formed. In her work, she lingers in the grammars – linguistic, affective and sonic – through which political resistance appears.



Quid Pro Quo
London & Berlin

«Quid Pro Quo» considers the beauty and contradictions of Black social life, and the condition and consequences of social death. The trade-off is simple: You kill us, we haunt you.

Season Butler is a writer, artist and dramaturg based between London and Berlin. She thinks a lot about youth and old age, solitude and community, negotiations with hope and what it means to look forward to an increasingly wily future. Her recent artwork has appeared in the Baltic Centre, Tate Exchange and Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art. Her debut novel, «Cygnet», was published in 2019 and won Best First Novel at Writers’ Guild Awards in 2020.



No Emotional Abuse Monument
Amsterdam & Istanbul

No Orbiting Zone
*the practice of someone stopping communicating with you in real life but continuing to engage with your social media posts.
No Catfishing Zone
*the practice of someone misrepresenting themselves in a significant way.
No Gaslighting Zone
*the practice of someone trying to get you to question your own reality and judgement.
No Ghosting Zone
*the practice of someone cutting you off and cutting you out.
No Benching Zone
*the practice of someone keeping both you and your relationship hidden.
No Breadcrumbing Zone
*the practice of someone sending out flirtatious, but non-committal social signals.

Born in Silvan, Diyarbakir, Ahmet Öğüt has exhibited widely, including in solo exhibitions at Kunsthal Charlottenborg (Copenhagen), Chisenhale Gallery (London) and Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven). He has also participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Asia Society Triennial (New York City), Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale (Niigata), British Art Show 8 (Leeds, Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton), 13th Biennale de Lyon, Performa 13 (New York City), 7th Liverpool Biennial, 12th Istanbul Biennial, New Museum Triennial (New York City) and 5th Berlin Biennial. He co-represented Turkey at the 53rd Venice Biennale.



How to Do Things with Non-Words
UK waterways

I became aware of «non-words» via an issue of the «Journal of British Language and Communication Disorders» that belonged to my sister, a speech therapist. It featured a table of 40 pairs of nonwords of increasing complexity. This table has been replicated and enlarged. The poster is accompanied by the voice of Zurich-based artist and musician Lea Rüegg singing the words. Speech therapists use non-words as a diagnostic tool to gauge language skills – especially the ability of phonetic decoding. Non-words follow the typical structure of a word in a given language, but do not exist. The person being tested cannot rely on pre-familiarity and other social factors. The title of this work riffs on language philosopher J.L. Austin’s text «How to Do Things with Words» (1955/1962).

Harun Morrison is an artist and writer based on the UK waterways. His forthcoming novel «The Escape Artist» will be published by Bookworks in 2022.



I Propose That We Should Walk Together

I had wanted to make a work that considered potential interaction with an audience. Originally this text was made into a takeaway poster, stacked on a gallery floor, inviting visitors to the show to take them away, remove the work from the exhibition. This was not just a gesture but an invitation to be part of a performance.

What if, as it is now, the work was on a billboard? What if the taking away was in the memory, in the imagination? As a statement it can be read in many ways, as a collective action, a romantic gesture, as a physical act; in what direction, to what ends?

Perhaps as an invitation to consider others, show empathy, support, engagement, with those known and those not yet met.

Peter Liversidge lives and works in London. His selected shows include «Sign Paintings for Belfast» at The Mac (Belfast, 2020), «Out/Exit Piece» at Jupiter Artland (Edinburgh, 2020), «Working Title II» at Bonniers Konsthall (Stockholm, 2018), «The Bridge (A Choral Piece for Tate Modern)» (2016) and «Notes on Protesting» at Whitechapel Gallery (London, 2015).




We live in turbulent times. «Blickwechsel» invites to shift our perspective on discourses and materialities that have been shaping the Swiss society for generations, particularly on words that frame and affect our feeling of belonging. Dismantling and reshuffling these composite bureaucratic terms and euphemisms might lift the burden of a traumatic past and open up new perspectives for the future.

Embedded in the interdisciplinary, community-based project Schwar zenbach Kompl ex, which tries to put forward a new multivoiced politics of memory on migration, racism and resistance, «Blickwechsel» is a research on migrant workers in Switzerland (Saisonniers), the exclusive legal regulations, housing conditions in barrack settlements, illegalized families and hidden children.

Daphne Kokkini is an architect and visual artist based in Zurich. Her projects range from landscape and urban design to site-specific installations, scenography, film and performance. She perceives them as narratives deriving from cross-cultural observations on places, people and the things in between.




In 1970, for a performance, I set up a mirror and whoever came through the door could immediately see me in reflection and likewise I could see them. We communicated only through our reflections. The philosopher Michel Foucault spoke about the concept of heterotopia to describe spaces that are «other»: disturbing, intense, contradictory, incompatible or transforming. He commented on the heterotopia of the mirror as being a «placeless place», simultaneously real, relating with the real space surrounding it, and unreal, creating a virtual image.

In «Self Etc.», a monograph on Anne Bean’s work published in 2018, the writer Dominic Johnson wrote: «Anne Bean is a noted international figure who has been working actively since the 1960s. The art of Anne Bean makes strange our sense of time, memory, language, the body, and identity, particularly through solo and collaborative performances along a vital continuum between art and life.»



watching you become the sunset
Los Angeles, California

Playful and poetic, the works of David Horvitz, an ocean romantic, based in Los Angeles, California, meddle with the systems of language, time and networks, hyper-paced Zoom calls and images transmitted through screens. Eschewing categorization, his expansive nomadic body of work, traversing the forms of photographs, word of mouth and physical movement or distribution, artist books, performances, memes, mail art, sound, rubber stamps, gastronomy, weather, travel, walks and watercolor, is presented through examining questions of distance between places, people and time in order to test the possibilities of appropriating, undermining or even erasing this distance. Left face to face with his works, in the postal system, libraries and airport lost and found services, even engaged into action, our attention to the infinitesimal, finding loopholes and alternative logics within them, to the minute but important details and to the imaginary comes to the fore. As lullabies imprinted in our head, Horvitz deploys art as both object of contemplation and as viral or systemic tool to effect change on a personal scale. David Horvitz makes fictions that insert themselves surreptitiously into the real. Shifting seamlessly, pebbles often possess a naturally frosted finish.

Vlatka Horvat & Tim Etchells

Vlatka Horvat and Tim Etchells each have a varied artistic practice that moves between different forms: from sculpture, installation and performance to drawing, photography and video. In addition to pursuing their individual practices, the two artists have had a close collaboration for 20 years, working together on a range of projects and initiatives.

Guided Tours

See here for details about the guided tours with Yara Dulac Gisler and Phil Hayes



The presentation at the Zürcher Theater Spektakel is supported by Kanton Zürich Fachstelle Kultur, Ernst Göhner Stiftung and Max Kohler Stiftung