Association Rhino, established in May 1988, is a community of approximately 65 students and artists.
During the 1980’s Geneva suffered a housing crisis brought about by an abnormally high percentage of speculation on behalf of real estate investors. Rents increased due to the severe shortage of available living space. In response to this situation on the 9th of Nov 1988 the Rhino association (Retour les habitents dans les immeubles non-occupe) decided to take over a 3 building complex which had been vacant for more than 10 years.
These buildings have since become an important cultural centre and their inhabitants have continued to defend the issue of public rights for social housing. In turn the left wing political party, ecological societies, student co-operative organizations have supported their political agenda. The Rhino community has always had a reputation for its effective publicity campaigns and has taken full advantage of the buildings visibility, which is located at a busy intersection.
I have lived in Rhino for 6 years and have been responsible for the concept and realization of several facade installations. Through these projects I have been encouraged by the inhabitants of the community to produce provocative, eye-catching installations reminding people of our situation. This opportunity has enabled me to experiment on a large scale in the public domain using a diversity of materials furnished by the association.
In August 2006 Rhino was brutally shut down by the Genevan police. They tied a rope around the Rhino horn and ripped it off the side of the building in very un-Swiss like fashion.