Historically, a capital has always been the place where a given nation shows its identity, an identity composed of all its regions and provinces. The customs and traditions handed down by the “homeland” were transferred to this no man’s land, where everybody – for better or for worse – sought to create their own personal landmark. Some chose a particular quarter where they knew they would find kindred spirits; others settled in parts of the city where they felt less isolated. Globalisation ushers in new population groups that join the original city dwellers and transfer the city into an organism: “The city is a discourse and this discourse is truly a language: the city speaks to its inhabitants, we speak our city, the city where we are, simply by living in it, by wandering through it, by looking at it.” (Roland Barthes, “Semiology and the Urban” in: The Semiotic Challenge, Berkeley and Los Angeles 1994)
Curated by Simon Njami Xenopolis presents works by Laurence Bonvin, Loris Cecchini, Theo Eshetu, Mwangi Hutter, Anri Sala, and Jan-Peter Sonntag reflecting the city as an organism.