Public Spaces

Blühende Öde – Urban identities in transition

Temporal intervention in a public space
in collaboration with Kunstbüro Hohmann und Heid
Neukölln, Berlin, 2021


Taking place in Neukölln, Berlin, the project curated by Kunstbüro Hohmann und Heid was an exhibition format on view for a duration of four days, presented in a few different locations. The spaces were being located within walking distance to each other and map the district with an alternative focus – the unused spaces. The exhibition addressed the phenomenon of limited accessibility to such vacancies in two ways: on the one hand, through the representation of critical confrontations in the form of artistic works and, on the other hand, by connecting and acknowledging the unused spaces in our urban environment. Used as a temporary intervention, the exhibition appropriated said empty spaces located in immediate distance to one another, creating an alternative map of unused opportunities. Blühende Öde – Städtische Identitäten im Wandel was a tangible commentary on the exploration of urban space and its transformation in Berlin. The project reflected upon the existing and pandemic-related progressing extent of vacant spaces and interrogates the effects, but more so the potentials of this dynamic. The constant shifts in our urban environments and the concomitant change of the spaces we inhabit is a perpetual member of the cities we live in.

 

Connected through the element of water, the same works were repeated on view in different locations, responding to the particular architectural surface and framework, the setting and environment, appropriating the spaces. By projecting the imagery of running water from the video onto the alternating surfaces of the exhibition sites, the characteristics of the flowing streams became a visual connector of the single spaces, explored for this project. The restless movements created by the cascade arranged in an urban environment mirrored the dynamics of the city.

Accompanying the video work, object-based installations were on view at each location. By constantly releasing single water drops onto a powdered material, the constructions were placed in each of the entranceways of the individual spaces – on the verge between inside and outside. Having the water suspended from the ceiling, while the powder was opposed on the ground, the stamina of the falling water drops invited a dialogue with the surroundings and the in-between spaces. The constant force of the dropping water colliding with the powder gradually transitioned the material from something loose and fragile, into something concrete and solid. With persistence and unforeseeable outcome, the slow but steady metamorphosis into an object, soon a shape of its one, the work challenged our perception of change. Despite the repetitive concept, the individual objects developed during the process all responded uniquely to the variety of conditions they were installed in.

 

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Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Permanent installation in a public space and happening during ArtSesja Festival
NCK Nowa Huta Cultural Centre, Cracow, 2011

 

Nowa Huta is a district of Kraków, Poland, founded in 1949 as one of only two planned socialist realist settlements/districts ever built (the other being Magnitogorsk in Russia) and one of the most renowned examples of deliberate social engineering in the entire world. Built to accommodate the steelworkers from the gargantuan Vladimir Lenin Steelworks (Nowa Huta means “New Steelworks” in Polish), it was the most ambitious urban planning project in post-war Poland. After Poland got rid of the communist regime in 1989, it transpired that the very reason for Nowa Huta’s existence, the steelworks, was also one of the city’s greatest weaknesses. Its vast size – as it used to provide employment for 38,000 people – advertised as economically sound, made it hard to manage and deeply hindered any efforts to adapt the plant to the changes that came with the new economic realities after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. The plant eventually withered and was sold to a foreign company. Nowadays, it employs about 4,000 people. Before the district became popular among tourists and underwent the gentrification processes, it used to struggle with detachment from other districts of Cracow rooted in a complex history of the district.

 

Project was addressed to children from the area. It was developed in a dialogue with school teachers from the district to reply to the deficiency of art and cultural activities during the school year. Using the language of games and play, it engaged children to make footprints and handprints cast. As a result, a path was composed of traces of many kids participating in the process of casting yellow concrete plates. The project was using the symbol of a Forecourt of the Stars to point out the importance of each person participating in the process. The title – Follow the yellow brick road – was a reference to  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, where main characters have to travel along a yellow brick road to get to their ultimate goal, facing challenges that became essential for their journey.

 

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Did Just Happen

Temporal sound installation
AIAV Akiyoshidai International Art Village, Yamaguchi, Japan, 2018

 

At my studio at AIAV, there was a clock making a loud click every minute. Similar ones could be found in different galleries, hallways, and corridors of the Art Center. They were all connected with the cable, and as soon as one clock would be removed all others would be affected. I decided to use this desire to make time being perceived in the exact same way. I recorded the clocks, changed their frequency, and played it in public areas of the Akiyoshidai International Art Village.