Claiming Land (Manchester/Liverpool) /// Comment of the jury: "The reminiscence of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Mason and Dixon not only provides the poetic framework for the project Claiming Land, it also refers to the way in which people are used to fabricating topographical figures of cities and the countryside. The authors use characters in the novel, the surveyor and astronomer, as a starting point for their contribution to the competition in order to refer to the complexity of urban transformation, and also as a way of delivering a basis of argumentation for their possibly all-to-utopian proposal.
There is in particular a fear of the empty space; a massive shift in the relationship between the city and countryside (i.e. urbanization without the city) as well as the degeneration of an identifying context that would still be conveyed by an urban landscape.
Claiming Land proposes a 'pioneer-city' which offers new options for usage and ways of living within the empty spaces, thus resulting in a new regional context/connection between Liverpool and Manchester. International applicants for a free piece of land must have one thing: a plan of action.
The jury especially liked the fact that surveying, in reference to the literary model, becomes an act, and at the same time the place where activity occurs is spatially defined. Using emotional cartography and maps showing fictional land acquisition the authors present a scenario of a cultural use of the city which has little to do with long-standing images, but illustrates instead everyday use. How Finns, Africans and the English fancifully argue about the design of their properties gives insights into the opportunities and risks of this method of dealing with the new spatial vagueness. This entry does not give us any answers as to how the pioneer city will look. The goal is much more the documentation of the process of change within the urban environment."