Category Archives: space

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«.

Leipzig Protest Atlas

Mapping project and publication, together with Reinhard Krehl, niko.31 (Leipzig) and Jan Wenzel, Spector Books (Leipzig), Dec. 2004 to Jun. 2005

»As soon as you apply geographical, economic or demographic detail to a map you become political, because you necessarily make a choice,« writes the cartographer Philippe Rekacewicz. Maps have always been instruments of spatial control. They compile knowledge about a territory that is usually clearly demarcated; they serve orientation and are the prerequisite for certain actions in this space. Against this background, we created an atlas of local protest movements in Leipzig.

From a spatial perspective, urban protest is a form of action that generally does not occupy a space of its own, but rather penetrates into the spaces of the others, the rulers, thus suspending all rules that otherwise apply there. The Leipzig Protest Atlas documents the spatial and time-related dimensions of local protest actions. It marks symbolic protest locations on two overview maps, illustrates the connections between places and specific protest actions on small-scale maps, and visualizes the choreography of protest events.

The publication comprises 144 pages with 6 fold-out maps and texts by Dieter Rink and Kai Vöckler among others.

Stadiumworlds – Football, Space and the Built Environment

Lecture Series and Edited Book, 2006/2010, with Sybille Frank)

Football is one of the most popular sports in the world and it is played in a great variety of places, such as the street, the yard, the lawn, the pitch – and the stadium. While most of these places are a »football space« only as long as it is played there, the football stadium is a building that »embodies« football beyond its immediate performance. The aim of Stadium Worlds was to analyse football as a cultural practice and to investigate the connection between this practice and the built environment, that is, the stadium. To achieve this, we established a double perspective: On the one hand, the stadium was treated as a magnifying glass for general economic, social and cultural developments. Building on Elias Canetti’s notion that stadia are places where architecture and the masses come together in a most intense and ambivalent way, the stadium was, on the other hand, conceptualised as a refuge for social rules of community formation, gender construction and identification that would be unacceptable outside the stadium.

By productively intertwining this double perspective, Stadium Worlds offeres a complex analysis of the interplay of football, its socio-cultural spaces and its built environment using examples from fields of architectural design, media studies, archaeology as also studies of advertising, migration, fandom, local identities, emotions, gender, and the body.

Stadium Worlds started as an interdisciplinary lecture series at the Institute for Sociology, Technical University of Darmstadt, which we held in the summer of 2006 parallel to the men’s World Cup competition. In 2010, we published its outcomes in an edited book called Stadium Worlds – Football, Space and the Built Environment (New York/London: Routledge).

Download: flyer lecture series

Link to the Publisher

»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.

Architecture, Sociologically Considered

Post-doctoral project: Oct. 2007 to Apr. 2013 (published in German 2015)

According to Émile Durkheim the »first and fundamental rule« of sociological thought is to »consider social facts as things«. Rather what happens if we flip this perspective and see built things as social facts?

The architectural theory I propose in my post-doctoral thesis builds on the sociology of knowledge formulated by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann in their by-now classic work »The Social Construction of Reality« (1966). Berger and Luckmann argue that the social construction of reality follows a dialectical interplay between externalization, objectivation and internalization. They show that the reality in which we live is one that, firstly, emerges as a result of collective action, secondly that we are confronted by this reality as a fact – and thus »thing-like« in a Durkheimian sense – and, thirdly, that we must accept this reality into our subjective consciousness in order to become part of it. While Berger and Luckmann concentrate on examining the immaterial aspects of this process, I aim to show what role »material objectivations« – and buildings in particular – play therein.