key to the city

paul ramírez jonas
new street station, birmingham, reino unido
28.5 - 7.8.2022
imagem: Express & Star

‘What if everyone, not just the chosen few, could be recognised with the Key to the City of Birmingham? What if anyone could decide who is deserving of the Freedom of the City? What if this key could open dozens of previously unexplored spaces around the city? And what if all those spaces together created a portrait of Birmingham?’ asks Paul Ramírez Jonas, creator of the 'Key to the City' project in 2010. By that time, Ramírez Jonas chose New York, the city that he lives in, to distribute 25,000 keys to private or normally inaccessible spaces throughout the city.


Now, as part of arts events around the 2022 Commonwealth Games, the artist performed the project for the first time in the UK. 15,000 keys, which will give recipients access to 22 locations around the Birmingham region, will be distributed from May 28 to June 5, on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from 11am to 7pm at The Key Exchange Ceremony site, located beneath the departure boards at New Street Station.


Then for ten weeks anyone will be able to award the ‘Key to the City’ to whoever they want. Key holders will be able to explore private and intriguing places and spaces - From private gardens to underground tunnels, a locked museum drawer to a panoramic skyline view - bringing a new perspective to the city. Keyholders will be able to access these locations until August 7, as the Games close.  There is no need to register. You just need to arrive in pairs or solo to collect your keys. And remeber: all locations are accessed using this single key.


Learn more about the project here.