The bridge that leads from Am Brill to the GAK has borne the name Bürgermeister-Smidt-Brücke since 1952: a consequence of the denazification process of Bremen place names. The street named after Johann Smidt (1773-1857) stretches from the main train station to here. Smidt revoked the emancipation of Bremen’s Jewish community in the years following the formation of the German Confederation. At the Congress of Vienna, then Senator Smidt fought for the recognition of the property and rights of Bremen’s Hanseatic establishment and, at the same time, denied these dignities to others. His name inscribes reactionary conservatism and anti-semitism in today’s cityscape.
virgil b/g taylor has attempted to find answers to the question of this street’s name since 2019, finding that beneath the pavement of Bürgermeister-Smidt-Straße and -Brücke are only more unresolved paths to follow in the pursuit of a history of Bremen.
The naming of the neighboring bridge is just one example of the incidental ways in which urban territories and affiliations are marked, how past and present are related, and what the practice of inscribing particular names on places in the first place entails. Fiction can enable new imaginaries and reorderings, but it can also repeat and literally cement toxic relationships. Exclusions are a common practice based on fictional, often nationally constructed, communities.
virgil b/g taylor’s Fag Tips for Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst (FT4GAK) suggest taking other paths. FT4GAK can be found in the poster frames in the tunnel outside GAK, online at fag.tips, and in the sticker kits available inside GAK.
virgil b/g taylor is a US faggot living in Germany. He makes fag tips, an online speculative zine. His work explores histories of care, crisis, exclusion and toxicity.
Within the poster frame series “Re-Framing“
Fr, 20.01., 7 pm
Special thanks for the translations to
Erfan Aboutalebi, Onur Çimen, Aria Farajnezhad, Zainab Haidary, Hatem Hegab, Shirin Mohammad, Alex Piasente-Szymański, Jake Schneider, Abdulghaffar Tammaa, Fritz Laszlo Weber
“Re-Framing” is made possible with the kind support of Kultur.Gemeinschaften, the joint funding program for digital content production in cultural institutions of the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media and the Cultural Foundation of the Federal States.