next 5 minutes international festival of tactical media, September 11-14 2003, Amsterdam

Packing Geldershoofd by Archeopteryx

Handle with care

The art group Archeopteryx from Izhevsk (Russia) proposes to execute their project PACKING on the blind façade of one of the large High-rises of the Bijlmer district (Amsterdam South East), called “Geldershoofd”. The high-rise will disappear within a few years as part of an urban restructuring plan. The original idea of the Package action was to mark 9-storey housing blocks (the traditional Russian standardised housing "boxes") in various Russian cities with giant painted protection labels, normally used on transport boxes. The traditional meaning of these labels is apparently projected onto the residents inside these “boxes”, urging to protect the people inside: DO NOT WET, DO NOT BREAK, HANDLE WITH CARE.

This humorous intervention acquires a deeper layer of meanings when situated in the Russian context where several explosions in similar living blocks, ascribed to fundamentalist terrorists, became an incentive to step up Russian military efforts in Chechnya. In the Bijlmer district it acquires yet another connotation, where the trauma of a Jumbo Jet that crashed 10 years ago into one such high-rise is still a vivid memory.

Interesting websites:

Archaeopteryx out to protect high rises in Amsterdam South East