Kissing area

"Kissing area" represents an intervention in public space, conceptualized as a gesture of protest against violence, discrimination and intolerance towards members of marginalized groups, as well as a call for rethinking dominant social norms we all live by. This artivist action aims to open the public space through symbolic inscription of the four walls into the city streets. Four walls is a metaphor often used in everyday political discourse, reflecting the urge to exclude and isolate identity constructs and minority opinions that do not usually have their place in public realm.

During the two-day workshop "Gendered readings of the city", held at the 2012 BeFem festival, this initiative has resulted from reflecting on and requestioning urban space, its limits and regulations, among four students of the Faculty of Media and Communications (Angela Ceh, Sanja Seliskar, Petar Djosev and Nikola Herman). The city and its inhabitants inscribe themselves in each other, thus continually (re)establishing and transforming. It is a space of constant (re)signification and has to remain open to diversity.

We have set up alternative, public four walls as places that erase all boundaries generated by national, ethnic, cultural, racial, age, gender, sexual or any other stereotypes. The kiss, as an intimate gesture of friendship, intimacy and love, performed within the "kissing areas", problematize the duality of private and public and offers another possible perception of difference.

Locations on which these four walls have been drawn, are not randomly chosen, but rather mark the exact places where some form of violence occurred against members of marginalized groups or foreigners. Such concept of spatial distribution of "Kissing areas" not only serves to testify about particular cases of violence, but also to raise awareness on the extent of its presence and invite everybody to identify and review the existing norms and dogmas that generate it.

The "Kissing area" initiative celebrates some of the important dates and events, such as IDAHO Belgrade festival or "Days of Sarajevo", during which “Kissing area” spread internationally. Particularly important is the action carried out during the Serbian Pride Week, when "Kissing area" created the map of invisible violence against members of LGBT population in Belgrade. In cooperation with the Coalition for Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities, the initiative “Kissing area” has extended to Skopje (Macedonia), a city facing similar problems.

"Kissing area" strives to continue raising awareness on matters of discrimination and violence, not only in purpose of prevention, but as well to call for constructive dialogue with the goal of achieving a trully democratic society.

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