2019, Installation / Performance / Intervention / books
Hosted by MATERIAL – Raum für Buchkultur, Zurich/CH
During The gift exercise / Invitation 2.2: Zurich, Willimann/ Arai lived for 16 days in the space for book culture MATERIAL in Zurichs district 5. Via flyers they asked residents and passers-by to lend them furniture and everything else they needed for living. In return, the locals could ask services from the artists. Each barter deal was documented by Willimann/Arai – in the form of a contract and a staged self-portrait with the respective loan and optionally also with its owner.
Due to the various exchange activities, the initial empty space of MATERIAL became homely within a short time and deve-loped into a local meeting point. People brought along not only furniture and food, but also the (hi)stories of the quarter and the profound changes it had undergone in recent decades: After the collapse of industry in the 1980s and 1990s, the former workers' and industrial quarter – an immigration district from the outset – was characterized by Zurich’s squatter movement, the red light milieu and the local drug scene, and has been greatly gentrified in recent years. Rising rents have resulted, among other things, in the increasing displacement of low-income sections of the population, the influx of new high-income residents and a restructuring of the public space.