2-3 Straßen. Eine Ausstellung in Städten des Ruhrgebiets
2-3 Streets. An Exhibition in Cities of the Ruhr District
Dortmund, Duisburg, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany 2010
2-3 Streets is an exhibition of streets without any noteworthy sites or events, streets that can be found in any number of places. Essen, Dortmund, Duisburg, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Oberhausen were the candidates from which the participating cities were chosen. Within the framework of the Ruhr.2010 European Capital of Culture, the streets in Duisburg, Dortmund and Mülheim an der Ruhr are open to the public as an art exhibition from January 1 to December 31, 2010. The purpose of 2-3 streets is to change the streets, in mostly modest neighbourhoods, as a result of the exhibition.

Participants are new renters and live along side the existing population of the three streets, the old renters. In all, over 1,456 candidates from 30 countries responded to ads on rental websites, publications, daily papers and cultural magazines to move to rent-free, renovated flats. The free accommodation is provided to participants as a basic income for one year. 60 flats are offered by the cities and about 78 candidates contribute to the artwork. They are able to pursue their private and professional lives in the streets, while at the same time being part of the exhibition by means of a production: A text collaboration realised on-site from the anonymous input of the new and old residents and visitors of the street alike.

Everything that happens on the streets during the year of the exhibition is a manifestation of aesthetics and society. Daily life is art. Consequently, it is not easy for locals or art connoisseurs to identify the artwork as such, even though both come into contact with it, constitute it and address it. They are the authors of the work without realising it.

The collaborative text is a chronicle of the exhibition in real time. It is a record of the events, feelings and thoughts, be they inner or outer, far or near, encountered or imagined by participants, regardless of the underlying rationale. It is a production of society.

A year (a text neither consciously desired nor prevented by its authors) is, incidentally, picking up the trail of modernism following Joyce, Pound, the écriture automatique, Holz, Burroughs,
Schmidt, Kerouac and many others. It tests the opportunities offered by contemporary tools of production for society as an author, rather than an audience at large.

Public Authorship
Object: TEXT, 887 authors, 10,000 contributions, 16 languages, 3000 pages
Participants: 78 new residents

The uncompromising nature of his works results, now as then, from a radical critique of culture, which Gerz summed up in a 1989 interview in typically metaphorical terms: ďItís all about life, not about cultural surplus value. Actually, art has little to do with good and evil. Itís not about the survival of culture, but about survival. Culture has taken us exactly where we are today. We have been the world champions in acquiring things. Iíve got a feeling the shelves are coming down on our heads. Today, what matters is how much of it weíre going to be able to recyle."

Friedmann Malsch,
Jochen Gerz Video and other media technologies
In case we meet
Editions du Centre Pompidou
Paris, 2002, page 179

- 2-3 Straßen TEXT, 2-3 Straßen MAKING OF, DuMont Verlag, Cologne 2011 (German)
- eBooks, Amazon Kindle edition 2012
To order books go to

Click on link below to see "Public Art (Now): Claire Doherty talks to Jochen Gerz"

© Sabitha Saul