Signal Times 2037
Timing of traffic signals and visualization in public space
Signal Times 2037 is the name of a performance, which investigates the average duration of red lights at the intersection at Europe Square in Recklinghausen, Germany. It was realized on 20 July 2014, and it examines the fact that pedestrian traffic is given less time to cross the road than cars. A pedestrian has 18 seconds to cross a roadway 12 meters wide. However, street lights create a much longer interval for cars, and the total cycle of the street light system for motorists averages out at 120 seconds. These periods of duration are made visible to motorists and pedestrians alike using cross walk flags. These are signal colored, convenient flags, which are provided at the traffic light poles. Pedestrians can use them at the crossing to call attention to themselves. With this performance, REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT questions the future of our city’s transport systems. Considering our ambitious climate objectives, will we still be able to allocate such a huge amount of public space and time to automobile traffic? For example, what would be the impact if the city changed the cycle time of the pedestrian lights to a longer duration? The idea behind the exhibit is to increase the pedestrian cycle time one second every year, while reducing the motorist cycle time in equal measure. How would pedestrian and automobile traffic be potentially impacted over time up to the year 2037?
In 2037, the performance will be repeated to evaluate to which extent alternative mobility concepts will have been established. One of the longer term goals of this project is also to observe how slight changes of the traffic light cycle impact the development in the Ruhr in general. Structural and demographic change in the Ruhr offer new opportunities to create pioneering mobility concepts accounting for residents’ needs, which are oriented towards a deceleration of individual transport, an age appropriate infrastructure, and a self-governed and diversified economy.
REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT (RG) stands for an art practice within a social dialogue. RG works with partners from different backgrounds and presents a platform for interdisciplinary activity. The way of working is based on the potential that results from the intertwining of different social spheres. REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT understands contemporary art to be a catalyst for social and political processes.