in-between | city | space
statements from gropiusstadt berlin
3-channel video installation
In 2006 Klaus W. Eisenlohr and Johann Zeitler worked as artists-in-residency at “Pilotproject Gropiusstadt”. Using the camera as a means for interaction, they met with people from Gropiusstadt, a large scale-residential housing project from the 70's in Berlin. They talked with people who are active in the public realm or, who just use public in their daily life. From the large amount of video recordings and photographic images they took, the two artists have edited a three-channel video composition. It shows impressions and statements about Gropiusstadt and about the conditions of public space in this modernist part of the Berlin city.
The art works' theme focuses on perceptions: the perceptions made by inhabitants, by local citizens, but also the perceptions conceived by the artists. In their work, the artists ask about the constructions and the representations of urban space. When does public space exist? How do people see, reflect on and use public space? How have architecture and the social constructions of modernist public space influenced daily life, senses and human bodies? Which kind of interventions would have a positive impact on common perceptions?
“In this video work, the people of Gropiusstadt are given a voice: inhabitants from divers backgrounds talk critically, but also positively, about their surrounding and they show their bonds to the quarter they live in. These reflections are being complemented with the perceptions of the artists who came from outside, and who have been looking at Gropiusstadt with fresh eyes and with little preconceptions.”
“They walked around in parks, the green axis called Wildmeisterdamm, in the streets and the green zones. They met many people and asked them: 'How do you perceive the public space in Gropiusstadt? Do you like the design of the green zones? How did the area change since you moved in? Where do you feel safe, and where insecure?' And they asked youths, when they met in the street: 'What are your activities when being outdoors? Do you have specific meeting points? Do you have special places you feel like they are yours? Where do you 'hang out'? Where are things happening?” (Walter 02/078, Gropiusstadt Magazine)
These statements about the past, the changes and the present state of Gropiusstadt may be an inspiration for a rethinking of the much despised modernist city planning concepts, for a renewed discussion of the ideas of city planer Walter Gropius, and of public housing projects. In the video zwischen | stadt | raum, as a result, Gropiusstadt — one of the modernist icons of post-war Berlin — appears to be a divers area, with ambiguities, alive, and worth to be lived in.
The Film was made during an art-residency at Pilotprojekts Gropiusstadt, sponsored by GEHAG GmbH. www.pilotprojekt-gropiusstadt.de
Special thanks go to:
Birgit Anna Schumacher & Uwe Jonas (international artist residency “Pilotprojekt
Gropiusstadt"), Harald Ramm, Mathias Geyer
Invitation card PDF