Globale Positionen 22

"Chairs and Symbols. Project for Peaceful Co-Identification", 1995-7 / 2001

When people meet at conferences or some other public events they usually are seated in chairs which are arranged in abstract straight rows. I thought: what would it be like, for a change, if people would seat at a conference in chairs that had been pre-arranged in such a way so that the groups of chairs would resemble specific, very popular and well know symbols which have been used for all through the ages? In such a situation the moment you choose a group of chairs you actually select what to with and also your choice becomes immediately publicly visible. You may also seat in a group/symbol of chairs you don't necessarily with. As in "step into somebody else's shoes" or in this case "seat into somebody else's" symbol. This could be quite convenient because time is saved – you don't have to express any previous views but get straight to the point of discussion.

I did these photographs of chairs arranged like symbols in March 1995 in the auditorium of the French Institute in Sofia with the purpose of documenting my as a project for a future installation. So far it has not been done with real chairs. I am showing the photographs of the groups of chairs plus some texts stenciled with markers on each one of the photos. The texts read: "I was here", "Hitler was here", "Jesus was here", "David was here", "Adam was here", "Eve was here", "Lenin was here", "Muhammad was here", "Buddha was here", "Stalin was here", "You were here"…. The basic of the whole project is that we are all responsible for what is happening in the world because we all are, or have been, here – in this world. For instance, the main question related to the monstrosities committed during WW II by the Nazis or in the USSR by Stalin and Co., or still elsewhere or "elsewhen" is: "How was it all humanly possible to happen?". The question is yet without an answer.

Recently I have decided that if sometime in the future I will get to do the project with chairs and symbols with real groups of chairs, I will probably not use chairs for adults but rather chairs for small children – like the ones they use in kindergarten. Thus, the "call for peaceful co-identification" will come a lot earlier.