Ted was here...

Public Art Project, Münsterhof Zürich

Public Art Project, Münsterhof Zürich

Zurich-based conceptual artist Peter Baracchi (b. 1982) often deals with virulent social issues in his work. For Gasträume 2017, he formulated a concise artistic comment on subliminal racism and restrictive European migration policy in Exclusive Society, a fenced- in miniature paradisiacal garden at Altstetterplatz. At Münsterhof, Baracchi now addresses the digitisation and associated commercialisation of the public space. Google, the leading company in this field, initially relied exclusively on its own activities, getting vehicles equipped with cameras to drive all around the world (“Street View”) or mapping the planet with the aid of satellite images (“Google Earth”).

For some time now though, Google has also been activating a sort of participatory model, intended to make the photographic capture of our living environment even more detailed. “Photo Sphere” relies on help from smartphone users who publish their photos. In this way, an intersubjective index is gradually being created — a directory of the public space, underlaid with individual biographies. Ted was here focuses on this new social phenomenon, not only touching on issues pertaining to mass tourism and the public space, but also thematising data protection and surveillance.

At Münsterhof, one of Zurich’s tourist hotspots, Baracchi has positioned large concrete spheres in the places that have been documented with “Photo Sphere” particularly often in the past. By means of these sculptural markers, he invites passers-by to compare digital and analogue reality on site — and ultimately to engage with the question of how they want to treat the public space in future.

Text: Christoph Doswald / Fotos: Peter Baracchi


September 5, 2020