/11 Wealth

Jules Spinatsch

Temporary Discomfort

Chapter V – Revolution Marketing

EVIAN/GENEVA, G8 Summit, June 2003

The G8 Summit in 2003 took place in Evian, a romantic health resort on the French border of Lake Geneva. The Swiss government was confronted by the French government with the fait accompli that the eight heads of state would reside in Evian, and the City of Geneva would have to take care of the rest. The protests took place in Geneva; the participants arrived at the airport of Geneva; all access roads led to Geneva; 2,000 functionaries stayed in Geneva and Lausanne. In short, any visible activity would take place in Geneva, and not in Evian.

A few days before the actual summit meeting, almost every storefront in Geneva’s inner city—in the neighborhood of the Belair shooping district and, in particular, along the course of the protest march—was barricaded with yellow boards. Evidently, no one had considered that yellow acts as a signal and attracts attention. Only at a BP gas station on the road to Annemasse, with its logos painted over green and columns covered with white plastic sheets, it became evident what this was all about on a visual and symbolical level. It was not about protection, but rather about making invisible possible targets of destruction. After all, who would want to damage a neutrally white column? In the two days before the protesters arrived and predictably covered the yellow boards with their logos, images were taken of the various strategies to render invisible possible targets of destruction, between protection and camouflage. The boards are a thin membrane between two worlds, the point of their postponed intersection.