Hostile Cage in Frankfurt interprets homeless’ distress

A metal structure hanging from a billboard represents the housing hardship of many people in times of pandemic and mobility restrictions.

“Living tomorrow is everyone’s sorrow… Modern man’s daydreams have turned into nightmares,” sang Black Flag in the 1980s.

Moving from California’s sunny beaches to the productive heart of Germany, Christos Voutichtis (aka Studio Urma) transforms the nihilism and rage of the hardcore punk band into a parasitic construction, which he hangs on a billboard next to the tracks of Frankfurt am Main train station. The architect and artist’s work is hostile architecture, an art installation interpreting the complex condition of the homeless in the pandemic era. 

The institutions invite us to lock ourselves up in our homes, while mass media claim that the pandemic makes us all a little more equal. But in reality this period has only exacerbated inequalities: there are those who have large private spaces – indoors and outdoors – and those who have nowhere to stay, or who live in overcrowded accommodation. The project, entitled Cage, interprets this latter contemporary condition with a spatial intervention.

Voutichtis uses a billboard – a symbol of our consumer society – as the structure to which he attaches the work. The steel cage is a hostile refuge like the many found in marginal urban locations. Completing the intervention is the use of blue lights, which are the same ones used in Frankfurt’s underground to prevent intravenous drug use, as they make the veins invisible. His small architecture is anti-functional and contradictory, a critique of the contemporary city, which is increasingly exclusionary and hostile to minorities.

art installation
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Christos Voutichtis
Pola Sell

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