Since 1999, twin brothers Frank and Patrik Riklin (b. 1973 in Switzerland) from St. Gallen have been operating under the name of “Atelier für Sonderaufgaben” (Studio for Special Works) and causing a sensation with their unusual activities at the border between art, society and the economy. With Trinkbrunnen (Drinking Well) in Leutschenbach, Zurich, on the premises of the building association “Baugenossenschaft mehr als wohnen”, the vision of a Social Urban Zone has been realised. “In the old days, a well would always be a village’s centre and meeting point. We have now reinterpreted the well,” say the Riklins. Trinkbrunnen is intended to create a place where “different people meet and get into conversations”.
This unusual intervention is the central element of an all-encompassing artistic system, because on the longer term, this “well” will only flow, or provide drinks, if the residents accept the framework conditions set by the artists. For the drinks, no money has to be paid, but in a sort of symbolic exchange, an “unusual action” must be initiated. This is how it works: The so-called neighbourhood telephone, for example, is situated on the site. It is mounted on a wall and can be called, free of charge. If someone who happens to be passing lifts the receiver, complete strangers, who might otherwise never have met, interconnect. The more the telephone is used and the more communication that occurs, the greater the flow at the drinking well. At times, the social interaction has been so intensive and the mainly adolescent Trinkbrunnen visitors so numerous that this action has put the cooperative context under considerable strain and triggered discussions in the media.