BLACKBENZ RACE is a semi-fictional race in the migrational space created by the Albanian/Swiss community with major nodes in Zurich (CH), Bari (I), Tirana (AL), Tetovo (MK) and Pristina (Kosovo, UNMIK). Aim of the project is to render visible the often hidden network cultures emerging in the migrational space which is local and translocal at the same time. It is local because human being are bound to physical space, but it is translocal, because its overall dynamics are not determined by a single locale, but by the flexible interrelation between many places, held together by circulation of people, goods and information. What is emerging from this practice, to a large part developed under conditions of oppression and marginalization, is a network culture that can be called "extraterritorial" in many of its aspects.


An extraterritorial place is one that is not subject to the rules and regulations which govern the surrounding area. The classic examples are embassies, harbors and airports, military bases in foreign countries and so on. In the last few decades, however, a new type of extraterritoriality has emerged. It is characterized by spaces that, formally speaking, are still under the control of local/national governments, but, in everyday practice, evade such control. The most important of these new type of space are the global financial markets, which function, by and large, outside any governmental control. Contemporary migrational space are another of these new extraterritorial spaces. What is common to both is that they are organized as translocal networks, selectively connecting multiple, physically disconnected spaces into a new, common cultural space, on the basis transportation and telecommunication. In these spaces, it is possible, with varying degrees of success and internal tensions, to counter the geographic fragmentation with cultural integration. To achieve this, significant cultural innovation is necessary, creating codes that are reflect only partially those of the host country, or those of the country of origin. Yet, they are also not a simple combination of the two, like a Chinese restaurant adapting its cuisine to European tastes. Rather, these codes are best understood as signs of new network cultures. BlackBenz Race is investigating this new cultural space by organizing a semi-fictional race through it.

It is fictional in the sense that the primary goal of the participants is not to get anywhere the fastest. It is a real race in the sense that a group of drivers will physically drive through the entire space. The car thus creates the central metaphor, both as the infrastructure of mobility as well as a contested status symbol in all cultures, place-based and networked. The cars, as they move to space, make the often invisible circulation visible and thus make it possible to negotiate in public the realities and effects of the emerging translocalism of migration. BlackBenz Race will start in Zurich with a large event in the center of the city. A group of 5-10 cars will then travel via Bari, Tirana, Tetovo to Pristina. In each of these places (and possibly additional places en route) events will be organized to investigate, through artistic intervention and other means, the realities of the network culture at the particular place.

long term project

(under construction)

2005 - 2006

krcf in collaboration with Felix Stalder, Arben Gecaj, Faton Topalli and Osman Osmani

- knowbotic research 2005


(in development)