ARTR_Vertical_horizon

 

16th – 18th October 2020


Presents:
Die Mauer – der vertikale Horizont (1989-2014)
by Rotraut Pape

and New Political Thoughts (2020) by Teresa Dillon

Curated by Art Republic.
Commissioned by the German Embassy in Norway.
Located outside the Nobel Peace Center, Oslo


The German Embassy in Norway has invited Art Republic to curate an art installation for Oslo`s public space on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the reunification of Germany, and the European presidency, which Germany currently holds. Art Republic seized the opportunity to mark these two important topics – Reunification and Europe, by presenting the works by German artist Rotraut Pape, and Irish artist and writer Teresa Dillon. The project is a celebration of peace and reunification, and also a response to Europe's current state-of-play, its shifting borders, tensions and global position.

Pape (1956 -2019, Berlin) documented a quarter of a century of German history with the camera in her film, Die Mauer – der vertikale Horizont. This is the first time her film is being presented in public space. Here, Pape`s performative gesture meets the series of slogans for an imagined political party created by Dillon. The project is extended by a newly written essay by Dillon, presenting a conversation between both artists` work and practice. 

The artworks are displayed on a large screen located outside of the Nobel Peace Center. Die Mauer - der vertikale Horizont takes us on a walk through the passage of time, and as it meets the slogans “Your wellbeing is my concern” and “Living is always an act of imagination”, the two artists’ sentiments touch. This meeting invites us to reflect on the act of transformation, borders and hopes for a better future, and intentionally comments on the context where the works are placed.

Writing these lines in our current times of crisis and uncertainty, and where public space might be the only place where we (physically) are able to meet, I hear the echo of Dillon`s words from her essay, that whatever you as a viewer take away from this meeting, may it create a moment of pause and reflection.

I would like to thank Pape`s Estate and her family for their precious contribution,and the German Embassy in Norway, Goethe institute and Oslo Municipality for their generous support.

Daniela Arriado
Curator

Artworks 

Die Mauer – der vertikale Horizont
/ Berlin Wall: vertical horizon (1989-2014)

A project by Rotraut Pape (1956 -2019, DE/Berlin)
1989-2014, Multichannel Installation & UHD / HD Projection, Split Screen, 131 Min., Stereo

For 25 years, Pape kept going with the camera: on foot from Kreuzberg to behind the Reichstag, along the wall, along the scar that they had drawn across Berlin city center and across half of their lives - 15 moving continuously, parallel Mounted perspectives objectively document a subjective archeology of German-German reunification. Her film, Die Mauer – der vertikale Horizont, epically profiles the Berlin Wall in its physical immenseness and emotional presence in the everyday life of a city – and also the impact of its disappearance on the city: a visual long-term observation of German reunification. 

After 30 years, the scar left in the cityscape by the wall has almost healed. Life grew at breathtaking speed on both sides, over the death strip which was no man’s land.

 —

Rotraut Pape (1956 -2019 in Berlin) was a filmmaker, artist and Professor for Film/Video at the University of Art and Design, HfG Offenbach. She studied Fine Art at HFBK (University of Fine Arts in Hamburg) with a focus on film, video and computer generated works. Becoming a master in camera, software and editing techniques and tools, her main interest was in the artistic potential of moving images, to raise critical social, political and ethical questions. Performance and installation played an important role in her work, as did theatrical representation and interactive experimentation.
Parallel to her artistic work, she realized numerous experimental documentaries for television (Arte/3Sat/ZDF), focusing on the subversive role of subcultures within a larger cultural landscape.

Her work toured internationally and she held several workshops, lectures and teaching post at numerous institutions. A founding member of the Hessian Film and Media Academy (hFMA) and co-founder and curator of the B3 Biennial of the Moving Image Frankfurt, alongside her own work, Paper contributed significantly to several artist collectives such as Raskin, Frigo, Infermental

http://pape.werkleitz.de/
http://mp.visuellebiotope.de/

DieMauerDerVertikaleHorizont_Still09
Mauer_LinePureHD

New Political Thoughts (2020)

A project by Teresa Dillon (IRL/UK)
Digital Poster Slogans

New Political Thoughts is an ongoing series of slogans and texts created by the artist Teresa Dillon for an imagined political party. Taking various forms for hand-cut letter prints, to rally cries and statements of declaration and intention, each piece looks towards an expanded notion of who and what constitutes as the democratic mass. Looking beyond politics dominant, capital and human-centric formations, this latest edition responds to the current bio political moment and shifting European borders.

The artwork manifests in public space as a series of projected slogans, which will be situated on the square outside of the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo. The work will rotate at different intervals throughout the day. The slogans will also be available on people's phones, through a QR code, located on the same square. 

__

Teresa Dillon is an artist and researcher. Her performance and storytelling practice focuses on the situated, lived entanglements of interspecies relations and techno-civic systems within urban spaces. Recent works include UNDER NEW MOONS, WE STAND STRONG (2016-), an ongoing series of interconnect sculptures, performance lectures and urban walks, relating to surveillance histories, biometric data and avian wildlife; In Your Aerial (2019) a project in which the inheritance and heritage of a community Internet network is established, the text Liquid Loss: Learning to Mourn Our Companion Species and Landscapes (2019) and the online ritual series, Cleansing Rituals for the Internet (2020).

Since 2013 Dillon has organized Urban Hosts, a program of talks and workshops that promotes and provokes alternatives to city living and in 2018, established the Repair Acts network, which focuses on practices and scholarship relating to repair, care and maintenance cultures.

She currently holds the post of Professor of City Futures at the School of Art and Design, UWE Bristol, where she leads on projects relating to urban living and governance, restorative and healing futures, sonic, tech and data folklores and urban commoning

http://www.polarproduce.org/

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Schedule

 

→16.00 - 18.11hr:

Rotraut Pape, Die Mauer – der vertikale Horizont

→18.11 - 18.21hr:

Teresa Dillon,"Your Wellbeing is my concern"

→18.21 - 20.32hr:

Rotraut Pape, Die Mauer – der vertikale Horizont

→20.32 - 20.42hr:

Teresa Dillon,"Living is always an act of imagination"

→20.42 - 22.53hr:

Rotraut Pape, Die Mauer – der vertikale Horizont

→22.53 - 23.03hr:

Teresa Dillon,"Your Wellbeing is my concern"

Project partners

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ESSAY


passing on
Die Mauer - der vertikale Horizont, Rotraut Pape and New Political Thoughts,
by Teresa Dillon

 

I remember well the first time I met Rotraut (Rodi) Pape, it was Christmas 2016. The top floor flat that she shared with her partner and collaborator Gérard Couty (RIP, 2017) was full of plants, ethnic prints, books and smoke that swept its way around an open plan space that was tucked in with grey film slide boxes, monitors, video paraphernalia, trinkets and souvenirs from holidays and work trips abroad. 

The view out of the large windows stretched across the rooftops of Kreuzberg, Berlin, offering an almost 360 degree view. Rodi, you could say, appreciated a decent skyline and panorama, one which provided perspective and reached outwards. Having known Rodi only a short few years before she sadly died of cancer in 2019, this personal connection makes the most sense, when grounding her work ‘Die Mauer - der vertikale Horizont’. The piece cannot be described as ‘typical’ of her character. Her criticality emerged through a somewhat tongue-in-cheek, irreverent and playful approach. These attributes, which she shared with Couty, are evident in other works such as ‘Seven Fruits from the Tree of Eternal Life’ (1997) and ‘Rotron’ (1982).

Performance and the performativity of technology was, however, central to her approach and this is present in this Situationist-style video drift of Berlin, which tracks and traces the dissolve of the Berlin Wall and the emergence of new urban orders. So it is in keeping that, on her passing from this world, Rodi’s final performative gesture was to leave a set of instructions on how to continue with ‘Die Mauer - der vertikale Horizont’ to her niece and former student and collaborator Ninon Liotet. This liveliness of going on with ‘the-stuff-of-living’, continuing with the work provides those new to Rodi’s work with a better sense of her spirit and stubborn determination. The act of passing the baton is also illustrative of her approach to creating kin that was intricately bound to the act of making itself. For in her bones, Rodi fundamentally understood that making art is always an act of affiliation with other beings and things.

More specifically, what ‘Die Mauer - der vertikale Horizont’ also offers directly to the viewer is an insight into the panorama that shaped Rodi's formative years. Born in Berlin in 1956, Pape was just five years old when the concrete border line that became the Wall was erected. While the Wall's impact or influence on Rodi’s psyche did not come up in our conversations, its political and ideological insertion must have left its marks. The consistent presence of such a structure in one’s primary, teen and early adulthood cannot be overlooked. The wall shaped ways of seeing, being and existing. A brutal incision that split a city in half, representing in its formation notions of desire, control, punishment, guilt, segregation and restriction; a symbol and reminder on one hand of our human brutality, and on the other, our ability to transform.

As artists, we work off the canvas of our conscious and subconscious experiences. It is my guess that Rodi, in creating this work, was working off the arrest of freedoms and movement that the wall represented, as well as the histories of her own country and city. I interpret her repetitive, if not ritualistic, action of walking the wall between 1989 and 2015 as her way to remind us - perhaps even remind herself - of how fragile the veil between possibility and impossibility, openness and closure can be and how quickly it can change, or be taken away. Not one to dwell on the past or wallow in sentiment, the remnants of the Berlin Wall became Rodi’s screen and curtain, she played with it, in a technical manner that is characteristic of her work and attention to detail. Threading the same path across the years, she captured as a citizen and native of the city, as well as an artist, the changing landscape of Berlin. She documented the tracklands that the Wall left behind, and how they emerged from abandonment and emptiness to become spaces populated with office blocks and penthouse apartments. The gaps in between, which she captured in what initially appears as an informal, ad hoc manner as the camera swings from her hip - a silent commentary to what could have been.

What you see projected in this public space today is a vertical slice of each of these walks, shot on a hand-held camera, the choreography of images echoing the rhythm and pace of Rodi’s stride. Over the years this was synched, so that the traversal of the same corner points and streets and their associated changes could be aligned and understood by the attentive viewer. As she notes:

 

“Walking through time with a camera. From Köpenicker Straße in Berlin-Kreuzberg to behind the Reichstag:  November 1989, February 1990, August 1990, November 1990. Only one week after the Berlin Wall was opened, its disappearance was foreseeable. So on November 17, 1989, I walked along it with a camera. The route begins in Köpenicker Strasse in Kreuzberg and follows the wall which was covered by murals all the way to its upper edge. The wall lined various streets right next to their sidewalks. All crossroads had become dead ends back in 1961. A few months later, I walked along this road a second time, my camera eye firmly kept on the wall and on what it concealed. Then again in summer and a fourth time in November 1990, exactly one year later. With its four eyes, the camera follows the wall and its traces through time, documenting the wall’s disappearance and the hopefully positive horizons that” [1]

 

It is also why, in conversation with this work that I have chosen from an ongoing project (2007+), ‘New Political Thoughts’ -  a series of slogans for an imagined, new style of political party that centres its rally call not on economic growth and progression, but on the mutuality of living systems and the consistent acts of care and imagination that are required in order to continue, maintain and sustain life. Positioned outside of the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, two slogans - “Your wellbeing is my concern” and “Living is always an act of imagination” - resonate not just with the sentiments that I read within Rodi’s work and practice, but intentionally comment on the context of the public space within which the work is placed.

The first of these slogans, “Your wellbeing is my concern”, emerged when I first moved to Berlin in 2013, with the second emerging last year in 2019. Recast for this public showing, and given our particular contemporary planetary condition, they can be re-read more broadly as statements of intention and hope. Whatever the viewer takes away, their insertion into public space, like Rodi’s visual essay of the Berlin Wall, creates a moment of pause and reflection.


October, 2020

 

 

  1. Extract taken previously: https://www.b3biennale.de/The-Wall—The-Vertical-Horizon.html [Accessed 18th Nov 2019, now available http://www.urbanknights.org/meet-the-knights/rotraut-pape/]

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