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Bochum (Germany) 2007/2010


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Square of European promisesSquare of European promises
SQUARE OF EUROPEAN PROMISE, Bochum (Germany), 2007

At the heart of the Ruhr district, in the city of Bochum, the Square of the European Promise is a work in progress. Since 2007, local inhabitants and people from all over Europe answered Jochen Gerz's invitation to become authors of a new public square.

Two lists, situated in the Heroes Memorial Hall of the tower of the Christ Church, are the point of departure of the artwork. One shows the names of citizens of Bochum who died in World War 1. The other, surprisingly, lists Germanys enemy states: not just England, France, Russia or Poland but also Brazil, Chile, United States, China, Cuba and more. This was in 1931, two years before Hitlers rise to power,

A third list, the one of the Square of the European Promise, will display the names of the living.

To date 14,225 people have answered the invitation; in total the square can accept 15,000 inscriptions - there is still time to contribute. The names will be engraved on the square in exchange for a promise made by everybody to oneself. What promises for Europe today? Every contribution is an act belonging to an individual memory invisible, intimate and private. It represents a Europe with all of its diversity and creativity.

The names of the participants will be inscribed in the new square. They will be engraved on basalt plaques 3.80m x 5.58 m (25 in total) each with several hundred names. As each plaque is installed in the square, which is presently under construction, the identity of the site around the Christ Church will be transformed progressively into the Square of the European Promise.

A blue light, the idea of the light designer Laurent Fachard, LEA Lyon, will offer passers-by and visitors by night a space to reflect.

The Square of the European Promise has been commissioned by the city of Bochum and is part of the European Capital of Culture RUHR.2010.

Image courtesy : Gerz studio,
Photograph credit : Sabitha Saul

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