About

The Office of Nothingism was an idea developed in November 2019 within the Mediactivism project, coordinated by the Têtes de l’Art and their European partners. Conceived during a reflection on the theme “Labelled Marseille: living together and gentrification”, the Office sees itself as a response to a desire for counter-labelling. It takes a critical position confronted with the commodification of the city and of the urban phenomenon. How can we conceive and bring to life a space of resistance in a for-profit city, no longer a mirror of itself but of its decision-makers, and of its attributes deemed valuable in a global urban ‘competition’?

The Office of Nothingism wishes to produce a counter-discourse springing from the representations and the imagination of residents, through the creation of citizen labels. This labelling is based on a process of producing indicators and centralising data. It brings together useful information and data to sharpen and produce a critical discourse of the city, as defined by institutions.

Its distinctive feature is to lean on a humorous, satirical discourse, so as to produce another story of Marseille and its metropolis. At the core of this process, there is a desire to take the opposite stance on the race for labels, in a context of territorial marketing, on behalf of the administrative and political institutions. This territorial marketing reifies an ameliorative but fixed and partial image of these territories, captured in their touristic efficiency. As for the Office of Nothingism, the participatory dimension aims to open a debate by allowing visitors to share their own view on the inhabited territory, without worrying about the marketing impact of this view. On the other hand, the Office of Nothingism wants to be included in the local ecosystem of citizen and participatory media.

The role of the Office of Nothingism is to get to analysing the flagrant issues in Marseille we should know about: air pollution, poor housing, and surveillance.

Its ambition is to be able to articulate these themes on several levels: although these themes emerge from a local vision, they could very well find an echo in the Mediactivism initiatives known elsewhere in Europe, preferably in urban contexts.

And finally, the Office is a tool in service of the collective reflection on our right to the city.