Category Archives: fieldwork

Orbit Palace: Indications of types and spaces of redundant time

Field research and art project, 2003/04, together with Jens Fischer, Katja Heinecke, Reinhard Krehl (Leipzig) and Nils Emde (Hamburg) – installation, 7 lambda prints in light boxes, 179,5 x 123 x 15 cm / 135,5 x 123 x 12,5 cm, sitting area – contribution to the exhibition Shrinking Cities, KunstWerke Berlin, 2004

As an artistic contribution to the exhibition Shrinking Cities (2004), Orbit Palace examines the complex structure of urban spaces under the aspect of redundant time. How do people spend their time in areas where deindustrialization and a large amount of disused spaces characterize the landscape? The project explores how people whose daily routine is not (or no longer) determined by the rigid schedule of Fordist production shape their everyday life away from institutional measures and leisure activities. What spaces do they use and create for their activities? Into which social, informal and socioeconomic contexts are their areas (of action) integrated? And how does the meaning of »work« and »leisure time« change when – in the face of high unemployment – work appears to be a »luxury« and free time a »failing«?

We use the title »Orbit Palace« as a search word for those locations that have become the home for redundant time. They are spaces that are no longer, or not yet, part of economic and social memories as the result of complex transformational processes. They are locations that signify a breach with the past and whose future appears similarly vague: derelict buildings, fallow land, abandoned infrastructures, ruins, and new cityscapes. Seven characters are documented in stories and photos: the »club maker«, the »spontaneous angler«, the »in-between trader«, the »freeriders«, the »cat lady«, the »football partisans« and the »snack-shop family«.

»We are the City!« Cultural networks and the construction of urban spaces in Leipzig

Ph.D. project: Oct. 2002 to Oct. 2007

The book »Wir sind die Stadt!« is based on an ethnographic community study inspired by the research methodology of the Chicago School. As a member of the art projects niko.31 and general panel I observed the spatial practices of artists, independent book publishers, radio activists, designers, architects as well as people operating »off-spaces« or music clubs in the city of Leipzig.

The aim was to investigate these cultural worker's spaces and their influences on the city’s self-perception. Against the background of the official staging of Leipzig as a city of slumbering potential (»Sleeping Beauty« motif), I developed »thick descriptions« of places of pop culture and contemporary art that show how spatial arrangements have become both, objects and methods of protest cultures. The book thus sounds out the potentials of urban forms of critique in contemporary cities.