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City Tricksters

Press release

City Tricksters

Arno Brandlhuber, Alice Creischer, Larissa Fassler, Adelita Husni-Bey, Peng!, Andrea Pichl, Dierk Schmidt, Andreas Siekmann, Michael E. Smith, Bárbara Wagner & Benjamin de Burca, Weekend & Plaste, et al.

It would be funny if it weren’t so sad: humans invented cities so they could live safe and self-determined lives together and fend off assaults from outsiders—and now they find themselves conned and disempowered in the heart of their cities and hustled to the peripheries. By neo-feudal mega-schemes, global corporations, real-estate speculators, and other trojans. And, lest we forget, the true local patriots, the nationalist street sweepers, have gotten in on the hustling.

The city is no longer safe for its citizens. Not because marauding gangs of refugees roam the streets after midnight; they aren’t. But because big business, ever in search of profits, is descending on neighborhoods with a fleet of behemoth projects to pillage the resource that is the city and remake it in its image. One would think that political leaders and parliaments are tasked with protecting the city’s residents from these villains. And in many respects they do protect us. They have been derelict, though, on one core issue: who lives where and how in the city and who owns it, both in fact and symbolically. These questions have emerged as the crux of a deregulated fight for survival in which the political process is losing and capital is winning.