The 20th century’s transportation modes are proven wrong because of climate change, scarcity of public space and resources and social gaps. We need new ways, in the truest sense of the word.
The time of motorized individual traffic is over.
metropa is an art and peace project that shows Europe as an entity on multiple layers; it anticipates the idea of a paneuropean metro network system that interconnects all its citizens and visitors, and turns them into admirers.
metropa operates in a future where all ecological, economical, technical and political questions are answered and transformed into a viable comprehension of what could be the United States of Europe sometimes.
metropa’s core idea has been conceived 10 years ago, just shortly after the financial crisis, shortly before the "Arab spring” and the wars which emerged from it; before the „refugee crisis“ and the climate change-issue from our days. For a long time, nobody was really interested in METROPA’s ideas and inherent conclusions– so we started printing posters and postcards, gave them away as gifts to friends, colleagues and clients.
Now, the situation changed. METROPA has become a junction of all these topics like mobility, climate change awareness, european integration and migration. Its clear and simple imagery speaks to the people like a current map of any subway in any possible city in Europe. It makes people believe that it is already true. And the more people see it, the bigger the pressure grows on the people in charge – the EU, the companies, the heads of governments. And finally, sometimes, it’ll maybe come true.
And though we all know that it probably won’t look like this and that it will take some decades or more, METROPA is designed as a vision and as a target of our efforts.
תל אביב-יפו/Tel Aviv
Вели́кий Но́вгород/Weliki Nowgorod
Together in one network.
We are working on metropa for 10 years now. We took slow and small steps, historically walking over Financial Crisis, Arab Spring, the War in Syria, Refugee Crisis, the rise of right wing populism. We printed posters and postcards as giveaway presents, then switched to offline-sale in two or three shops in Vienna. Still giving it to «multiplicators», politicians, culture officials, etc.
But what happened in late December 2019, we couldn't guess. In a chain of events, metropa suddenly reached a huge crowd of online people, sharing it, liking it, and discussing it.
It all began with writer Robert Menasse… (please ask if you want to know the whole story)
March, 13th – the day when supermarkets ran out of toilet paper:
The Berlin based multilingual online newspaper Berlin89 published the following article by Salvatore Trapani:
We couldn't believe when we saw our picture on the "Großformat"-page of the renowned Sueddeutsche Zeitung on March, 7th in the morning.
Gerhard Matzig's text in English (abridged):
"Despondency, hypocrisy, misery and impotence – and in the end even helplessness: taking a closer look at the war in Syria and the misery at the barbed wire of the Turkish-Greek border, we Europeans haven’t felt as miserable as in these days of agony for a long time. So it must be coincidence when at this very moment a map appears as innocent as one hanging in the Munich S-Bahn between Daglfing and Ismaning. Or on a bus in Palermo. On the tram in Vienna. In a train station in Ankara, Minsk, Oslo, Glasgow, Dublin, Toulouse or Tanger.
Perhaps the biggest fascination of the “Metropa" project of a European superfast train comes from it’s not just a map. At the same time it is a vision and utopia, a place of longing, a promise and self-assurance. Or, simple and plain: our home.
This map, of course, does not really exist. For the time being, it’s only a provocative, stimulating idea by the artist and musician Stefan Frankenberger from Vienna. Obviously, the map can NOT be purchased at the railway companies, but only from the cartography publisher Freytag & Berndt/Vienna. But the previously unpublished map has the power to make itself felt everywhere – as a sign of hope and as the key of faith.
Regardless of whether you take a look at the subway in New York or the tram in Munich, you’re always filled with childlike enthusiasm when looking at the colored lines, points and station names. It’s like you’re Gulliver. Like a giant who, in seven-mile boots, progressively explores the vastness and discovers closeness where previously there was only distance. A map not only puts things into order, it also creates confidence and self-assurance.
For Stefan Frankenberger, a European superfast train like the japanese Shinkansen, free of charge like recently agreed in Luxembourg, which makes Europe tangible in an ecological and sensually understandable way, is less and at the same time more than just a map. It is an idea. "Metropa," says Frankenberger, "is a vision of Europe as it could be in a few decades, put down as an everyday graphic that shows Europe as a city, as a metropolis: usable, expansive, universal."
Sometimes we wonder whether Europe has lost its narrative, its myth. Maybe this map is what it takes to tell an old story anew."
Through an unknown linkedIn-post, metropa arrived on numerous social-media pages and went viral.
3500 views, hundreds of comments.
Vienna's vice-mayor Birgit Hebein posted on facebook on Dec, 12
4000 views, 950 likes, 360 shares, 160 comments
some days later, another friend sent us a PM saying that metropa «is now reddit-famous»:
1000 comments, 11k views, millions of ideas.
on twitter, metropa has already been widely discussed through Ulrike Guérots post since October 16th, 2018.
In Summer 2019, she also asked us to use the metropa-picture for her new book, "What is the Nation?" ("Was ist die Nation?, Steidl Verlag, Göttingen, 2019).