Cultures of Assembly: Brennero

Innsbruck, AT
Type: Research
  • Devised and run by Prof. Markus Miessen

The studio sets out to investigate some of the social and political complexities of the linear cross-border territory of the Brennero, one of Europe’s major North–South transit chokepoints and infrastructural projects, read as a cultural object.
The primary research trajectory of the project will consist of contemporary forms and formats of (spatial) assembly, that is to say spaces and practices of social gathering and their importance in regard to a localized res publica.
Within this framework, the Innsbruck–Bolzano axis will be discussed not only as a trans-border and trans-topographic infrastructure, but an (in)formal social means of organization that could be considered a practice.

The studio aims to undo the countless myths around infrastructural alpine projects and sketches a heterogeneous and unbiased map of protagonists spanning different generations and backgrounds, which will help us understand this complex territory. What could be understood as the spatial practices that generate this territorial regime?

From the rural urban to the urban alpine; from the northern gateway tunnel of Berg Isel – an almost artificial – punctured mount, to the southern fortress of Franzensfeste deep in the Eisacktal; from the cultural matrix of commuter culture as part of family life to illegal migrants and financial delinquents; from the housing projects for customs officers to the spatial remnants of a drive-through exodus; from investor culture and the recent agglomeration of large-scale shopping malls and outlet centres to self-organized social spaces such as the rural network of youth groups and Jungbauernschaften: this mix of diverse and complex influences, effects and affects has generated a super-dense network of decentralized social organization that results in a rural-cultural topography, which is extremely playful.

4 research clusters:
– Alkoholräume: informelle Strukturen von Minderjährigen im Raum Sterzing;
– Wurstachse: die soziale Bedeutung von Wurstbuden entlang der Brennerstrasse;
– Im Schatten der Europabrücke: Peripherie einer Grenzlinie;
– Letzter Stopp Brenner I & II: Flucht bis zum Brenner / Asyl in Österreich.