Interview: Julia Reiter
Fotos: Arno Friebes
Kamera: Julian Glanzer
Schnitt: Reza Kellner

Megaphon walk with John Jordan

John Jordan (UK) is dedicating his life to transforming our world by combining art and activism. His traits of rebellion can be seen at the ZAD (an autonomous self-sufficient commune that prevented new airport), Reclaim the Streets or the Clown Army. Together with Isabelle Fremeaux he leads the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination.In March 2020 John visited Graz and took a walk with us around the city center. While we introduced him to some of our city’s controversial matters, he shared his own international experiences with us.

On Civil Disobedience. At Forum Stadtpark.

In 2017 a congress about civil disobedience took place at our so called city hall of the hearts. At the same time there was an incident of vandalism somewhere else in the city. Our vice mayer Mario Eustacchio drew a connection between these two events: „Behind the harmless-sounding term civil disobedience is actually a call to violence.“ Forum Stadtpark distanced itself from violent acts and acts of property damage. Eustacchio proposed to replace the critical institution by a city café.

On snowball fights against bankers. At Karmeliterplatz.

In 2009 after the financial crash John Jordan took part in the action „The people vs. the Banksters snowball fight“ in London. 40 people gathered in front of the Oil and Gas Bank and challenged the workers, whom they accused of harmful acts against humans and environment, to a snow ball fight.

On privatization. At Pfauengarten.

The once common space „Pfauengarten“ was sold off to private investors. Extremely expensive luxury apartments were build there in the core zone of the UNESCO World Heritage Site . Apart from criticism regarding the architecture itself – to many citizens a deterioration of the cityscape – this project lead to prostest on a social level. Among other things, the influence of apartment owners on the public park life was (and is still) criticized. Gentrification is feared as a result and leads to the question: Whom belongs the city to?

On other activist groups. At Schlossbergstollen.

Roger Hallam, Extinction Rebellion’s founder and John Jordan both come from England. Both put quite some emphasis on emotions, friendship etc throughout their activism. What more do they have in common (or not)?


On alcohol ban, public spaces and art. At Schlossbergplatz.

There is an alcohol ban in the public spaces between Schloßbergplatz and Eisernes Tor (in addition to other places in Graz). However it is allowed to consume alcohol in bars etc. How does that affect cities?

On art and activism. At Hauptplatz.

John Jordan is an artist and activist. Why does it make sense to connect the two? How can they profit from each other?

On public surveillance. At Joanneumsviertel.

There are numerous surveillance cameras in Graz without any explicit notice. Some are located at Joanneumsviertel, a museum district that invites you to hang out. Does public surveillance serve more for protection or does it threaten personal rights?

On Resistance against Ecological Destruction and Green Capitalism. At Andreas-Hofer-Platz.

Between 2017 and 2019 the controversial Murkraftwerk was built in Graz. Thousands of people protested against it and in some cases even occupied places along the construction site. The reasons for this: the destruction of the recreational area along the river, an increase in particulate matter pollution, expropriation and a mega construction site up to the Augarten. According to the demonstrators, the tax money is also urgently needed elsewhere. The Mur power plant was nevertheless built. What possibilities are there to prevent such big construction projects?

On Sponsored Art and Cultural Institutions. At Kunsthaus.

Is it legitimate or rather hypocrit to let yourself be sponsored by a company that is working against your ethical goals? We discuss this in front of Kunsthaus, one of Graz‘ most prestigious cultural institutions.

On sharing spaces and different needs. At Lendplatz.

In Graz, conflicts regularly arise between skaters who use public space for their hobby and residents who live within earshot. Jordan talks about alternatives based on consensus instead of displacement.