Freedom of movement – an essential human right

It was under this motto that a competition and the exhibition, »Denk-Mal«, took place early this year in Freiburg. In their exhibited work, the participating artists dealt with the issue of Residenzpflicht. On January 27, 2001, an independent jury awarded the prize to the work of Bernhold Baumgartner, which the artist describes as follows:

The foundation consists of concrete mixed with uneven, rough stones. The base has an area of three by four meters and corresponds to the amount of living space, including traffic areas, provided by law for one refugee. The 4 1/2 square meters of the inner cube delineate the living space allowed for one person. There are metal bars in intervals of 20 cm that compose a labyrinth whose walls range from a height of 1.2 to three meters. The labyrinth symbolizes the arbitrary restrictions and limitations of asylum laws. At the entrance, one has a sense of the structure or order of the bars, but as one moves into the interior, the barriers become more and more confusing. It is impossible to escape surveillance and freedom of movement is restricted from all sides. Seen from a distance – from the perspective of the outsider – the perils and traps of the laws are hard to recognize. But the person who is imprisoned within them experiences confinement and hopelessness. Refugees in exile live without protection in a »house without a roof« and »without windows« …

The jury and organizers of the exhibition suggest that the memorial be erected near the Landratsamt (county government offices) of Freiburg. The Foreigners’ Advisory Council in Freiburg passed on this recommendation to the district council. The city, however, has refused to erect the monument, on the grounds that it cannot support any art that protests against laws currently in force.

A photograph of the prize-winning design can now be found on the web.

Original open call for artwork in PDF format and at

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Dossier #1: Debates, events and projects that deal with the so-called "Residenzpflicht", while exploring methods of media communication and networking.

  1. Freedom of Movement
  2. What is Residenzpflicht?
    (Anke Schwarzer)
  3. Resistance against Residenzpflicht
    (Anke Schwarzer)
  4. Residenzpflicht – no change in sight
    (Anke Schwarzer)
  5. Freedom of movement – an essential human right
  6. <type=radio~border=0>
  7. The Flüchtlings-Voice
  8. »We need to become more active …« (Indymedia-Interview)
  9. Relevant links
  10. Dates