What is a safe place for you?
How would you describe an unsafe place?
When and where do you feel isolated?
How do you control your space?
Agora Phobia (digitalis) is a mobile monument for ‘public isolation’. Travelling since 2000 in city public spaces such as Amsterdam, Paris, New York, Berlin it questions and archives mental images and strategies for being (un)safe and isolated. The project connects social experiences in both the physical and the virtual space creating a hybrid agora.
Project Description: Agora Phobia (digitalis) invites you in a semi-transparent, inflatable Isolation Pillar, in crowded city public spaces. Inside the Isolation Pillar one feels safe within an intimate space; and at the same time, lacking control over the outside, one feels vulnerable. The Isolation Pillar provides for an isolated communication space in which notions of being inside and being outside are reversible.
In the Isolation Pillar is an online computer. You are invited for an online dialogue with someone who lives isolated somewhere else, such as someone who has been living in prison, someone who lives in a cloister, someone living illegally in the city, a digi-persona, someone suffering from agoraphobia - who are invited as 'experience-specialists'.
Each dialogue connection is set up by the artists, in collaboration with assistants; creating a social network for each specific city. For example, in New York AP(d) was shown 9/11, 2003; as a live monument for isolation and (un)safety. 'Experience-specialists' were people suffering from memories of 9/11, people from prison (on parole), people from the Muslim community in New York. On Alexanderplatz, Berlin, 'experience-specialists' included people who lost contact with their families and friends for years when overnight the Berlin wall was built; people who lived in Stasi prison; and people living without legal status, in Berlin today.
Each dialogue is published on www.agora-phobia-digitalis.org and becomes part of an database of chat-sheets, performances and installations. The website also offers the opportunity to participate at home by monologue. Each dialogue connection is set up by the artists, in collaboration with assistants and hosted on location; creating both a locally dedicated and a trans city hybrid social network.
2003 Eyebeam New York, USA, Curator: Benjamin Weil
2000 De Appel, Amsterdam
Curator: Zdenka Badovinac. Exhibition: 'Unlimited.nl#3'.
2004 Villette Numerique Paris, France Curator Benjamin Weil
2003 SKOR / City of Utrecht. Exhibition: Parasite Paradise
2001 Artfair and Podewil Berlin, Germany Curator: Wilhelm Grosz
2000 Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam Exhibition: 'Municipal Acquisitions'.
2004 MUU Galleria Helsinki, Finland. Exhibition: 'Direct exposure'
2007 www.Volkskrant.nl/oog Curator: Nannette Hoogslag
2002 Foundation DasArts.
2007 CBK Amsterdam Curator: Maryla Nienhuis