FREE ZONE

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Free Zone is a playful exhibition concept that sparks debate and challenges social and cultural conventions. So far, Free Zone has visited Gothenburg, Budapest, Copenhagen, Istanbul and New York

FREE ZONE

topic
Featured / Urban Space & Planning / Exhibition & Art / Culture & Exercise
year 2011

Traffic signs are usually used to convey restrictions and practical information from the official authorities. But what happens if the signs suddenly encourage people to kiss, jump or shout? That question is addressed in the exhibition concept Free Zone, which has created a stir in the streets of Istanbul, Copenhagen and New York.

When the exhibition concept Free Zone hit Copenhagen people encountered signs that
encouraged them to come out as a transvestite, scatter grandma’s ashes in the harbour or show off their coolest disco moves in designated zones.  

With Free Zone, Rosan Bosch has created an exhibition concept that reinterprets the urban space as we know it today. In their design, the signs resemble conventional street signs, but they encourage acts that lie well outside the traditional scope of official restrictions.

In this sense, the signs explore social conventions and highlight the issue of which types of acts and activities are acceptable in the public space. By encouraging people to dance, sleep, pray, hug, alter their personality or have a picnic in unconventional locations they suspend the conventional norms of behaviour in the urban space.

A white line on the ground around the sign marks the area where the designated activity is legitimate. That creates a temporary “free zone”, where people can ignore the social codes and use the public space in a new way. But what happens when you cross the line and re-enter the world that you came from?

The zones challenge society’s invisible boundaries and our perception of the public space. Is it socially acceptable to dance and sing in the middle of the city? Are you willing to shout or jump up and down together with a stranger, simply because the sign identifies this as acceptable behaviour?

Free Zone is a playful exhibition concept that sparks debate and challenges social and cultural conventions. So far, Free Zone has visited Gothenburg, Budapest, Copenhagen, Istanbul and New York. In each case, the project revolves around the same concept but based on the specific cultural code. Thus, each version of Free Zone consists of new works that address the customs and context of the individual country.

 Read more about the exhibitions in Gothenburg, Budapest, Copenhagen, Istanbul and New York.