Feature

Poland: Is it a town or just an art project?

Michael Kurzwelly, a German artist, recently proposed bringing the Polish town of Sublice and the German town of Frankfurt an der Oder into a single, &ldquo;virtual&rdquo; town called Slubfurt, said Bara Prochazkova, in <em>Respek

Bara ProchazkovaRespekt (Czech Republic)

The Polish town of Slubice and the German town of Frankfurt an der Oder used to be two parts of a single municipality separated by the Oder River. After World War II, Europe’s borders were redrawn and the Oder became the dividing line between Germany and Poland. But recently, said Bara Prochazkova, German artist Michael Kurzwelly proposed recombining the two towns into a single, “virtual” town, called Slubfurt. “I wanted to branch out from the world of art galleries,” he said. “So I decided to create a new reality, directly anchored in urban space.”

But there’s a problem: Many people in Slubice and Frankfurt an der Oder don’t like the idea of even pretending to be a united town. Letters about the project to both Polish and German local papers “make cutting allusions to cultural differences and to atrocities that occurred during the Second World War.”

Still, the project is moving ahead. Thanks to a dedicated corps of activists, Slubfurt has its own local newspaper, bilingual postcards, and even a virtual city council. There may yet be “a common German-Polish future.”

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