WESTERN WALL (working title)

Participatory Art Project, Mittelschule Schendlingen, Bregenz Vorkloster - ongoing

In a participatory design process with pupils of the MS Schendlingen, the project Western Wall (working title), with the Wailing Wall of Jerusalem as its conceptual model, realises a low-threshold communication space that is located on the school grounds through an installation. The special feature and simultaneous challenge of the project, apart from the participatory, visual design of the object, is the organisation of communication among absent people. This includes, for example, the elaboration of communication rules with the participating pupils, which should enable an appreciative exchange. On the one hand, the aim is to break down communication barriers for pupils by allowing messages of all kinds, whether criticism, complaints or praise, to be expressed unaddressed but also addressed; on the other hand, a level of metacommunication is to be created through the installation - or a space of communication about communication. In the participation process so far, an installation design was developed in working sessions with the pupils and in cooperation with the school social worker, the realisation or implementation of which had to be postponed due to the pandemic. The visual model for the design is massive lattice walls as garden and property boundaries, which are not only increasingly common in Vorarlberg, but also generate a serious visual and communicative barrier to exchange between neighbouring parties - a phenomenon of an eroding communication culture? The core point of the installation is ultimately the ad absurdum performance of the wall as a physical barrier, in that it is supposed to lose contact with the ground. This makes it obsolete in its physical exclusion function, but as a cautionary boundary marker of communication, it can be a symbol of the effort for an appreciative communication culture and its location: "The border is not where something ends, but, as the Greeks recognisedbut, as the Greeks recognised, the boundary is that from which something begins its essence".1

1 Martin Heidegger, in: Building, Living, Thinking, 1967