Pizzeria Babylon

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Pizzeria Babylon

Series of interventions in public space and internet since 2005

Pizzeria Babylon is an artistic collaboration, which we started in 1998 in Helsinki. At that time we were both working under-the-counter in a pizzeria in a Helsinki suburb. At first Pizzeria Babylon was a title for an exhibition, but soon it grew to a platform for different art projects that deal with ‘otherness’. In our works we have dealt with issues such as encounters of cultures, global networks and rights and position of marginal groups in relation to majority culture. Of the material, which we have produced, we have constructed different work entities depending on the site of presentation and its specific characters. In our artistic work pizza represents the society, which anyone can bake to his/her liking.

As an overall framework of our work is postcolonial thinking, which for us stands for critical observation of social, political, economical and cultural policies. Often life of members in marginal groups is politicized against their will. In these situations the members of the group have to develop survival strategies and rebuild their identities. Politicization against one’s own will does not produce identification with citizenship or with the majority culture, but different identities of departure and arrival, where the individual constantly has to re-evaluate his/her world view according to the shifting situations.

“All humans are created equal” crystallizes the principle of the Enlightenment. The western countries have taken that as part of their politics and wish that also other countries would follow their example. A closer examination reveals that realization of the principle has happened in the Western countries relatively late, or is still underway. Risk is that these principles remain as rhetoric speech especially when symbols and slogans of the Enlightenment are instrumentalized as commodity products, which have directed people’s attention from unrealized promises to consumption. The philosophy of the Enlightenment has reached its self-destruction when the thought has become a product and language its advertisement tool. That is when no one can bake pizzas to their liking anymore.