URBAN COMMUNICATION | SIGNS AND SIGNALS | STADTGESPRÄCHE
In the modern world everyone must be identifiable, gets an identity attributed, which can be defined within certain limits. Attributes such as gender, skin color, physiognomy, ancestry, nationality, etc., are used to make subjects describable and locatable. Classifiability is the basis for both bureaucratic forms of organization, as well as for mass production and mass media. It is a process of mutual adaptation. Those who break out of the specified classifications, can either be criminalized or reintegrated via so-called fashions. To apply classifications, they need a visible form. We feel at home, where the environment corresponds with our self-image. Therefore, we can observe an intense struggle for visibility in public space.
The demands for flexibility and adaptability come into conflict with the idea of a coherent, graspable personality. We can and should now change our character in different situations. If positions are manifested as stylistic characteristics, they can be replaced easily. Interests of power are hiding behind these expressive masks. Once these interests are not immediately visible, they enjoy a wide acceptance. A so-called "brand management" should help to establish a system of representative forms. Brands operate on the principle of a family of symbols or a sign language, in which the individual elements refer to each other so that they can be perceived as a comprehensive picture.
The components of business activities like banks, hotels, shops, offices have become more and more similar around the world and this leads to a loss of identity in the area of a luxury living. Global brands are universally recognized as landmarks, but also thereby lose its value as a differentiator.
What makes someone special?
Why do individuals use public space to be seen with the help of graffiti, stickers or various tracks? Why can even the smallest private signs provoke unexpected emotions while even giant illuminated billboards are usually accepted of without resistance?
We want to be noticed. But we focus our attention only to a limited number of people. The competition for attention takes place at different venues. There are those that we admire, others whom we trust, and those we deeply despise. The chances of success usually determine the choice of method. Appropriation and usage always leaves traces. When we want to be visible, we search for opportunities of visible expression. Depending on the possible options, we can, for example, try to mark or try to buy a house. It is not natural to find a place in the world. The human body as a form of expression is getting more and more replaced by symbols and signs. Body traces find in graffiti a visible expression. But this manifestation has to take place in the anonymity of the night. For those who find no place in society, provocation appears as an appropriate way to recognition.
The desperate attempts to be visible have no end with our death. We create places of memory. The grave stones in cemeteries can tell us who has died from what reason. Cemeteries can be irritating, because we are here again confronted with individuals, not with target groups, because here instead of brand personalities personal destinies are in the foreground, because in the face of death, the question of the meaning of life, cannot be answered with life styles, fashion and trends. Today, where we live an analogue and digital double life, we have to develop a new general form for an appropriate commemoration.