site-specific installations at Denkmal Atelier Kunsthaus Kloster Gravenhorst 2014
cooperation with Dirk Sorge
The project is a creative reflection about the dominance of sight in art and everyday life. Dominance here means that the sense of sight receives so much attention that all not-visual impulses seam unimportant and often get overlooked. The mechanism of overseeing doesn’t only influence the perception, but it also has a political and a social dimension. It leads to exclusion.
The project wants to point out these mechanisms of exclusion and to work in the opposite direction by inviting blind and visually impaired audience in the gallery. It explicitly addresses these audiences, but it is relevant for sighted people as well, because it points out the creative potential hiding in other ways of viewing things, the ability of invisibility to broaden the meaning.
The overall goal is to bring awareness for this theme by using irritation and reflection.
The whole project consisted of three parts and lasted one year (January to December 2014) with a project grant called KunstKommunikation which supports a participatory approach in the arts. The exhibition venue is the building of a former monastery situated in a large park area in the west of Germany. One part was a series of workshops with blind and visually impaired participants with the goal to develop a tour through the park, the second part was the production of a tactile map with audio output to guide visitors to the stops of the tour. The third part was the artistic intervention inside the historic building with site-specific installations which is presented here.
Project kindly supported through KunstKommunikation Grant Denkmal Atelier Kunsthaus Kloster Gravenhorst
Description of the installations
A feather connected to a metal rod is hanging in the center of the room. Gravity would bring the rod in a perpendicular position, but another invisible force is pushing it away from its place. Thus the metal rod and the feather stay in a dancing motion.
The windowpane is covered with translucent foil obstructing the sight. Only one small, round spot is left open. A looking glass is mounted in front of it through which one can see a church tower – the main touristic site of the location. Depending on the spectator’s position the tower is magnified, distorted or upside down.
A pendulum is hanging on a wooden staircase marking the vertical outside edge of a space underneath that staircase. This place contains a barrier at face level that cannot be detected by the blind cane. Sighted people automatically exclude this space from areas of possible movements. Two bells on the ground that can be played with the pendulum or with the feet, mark the horizontal outside edges of that space.
Vertical strings mark the transition between the foyer and the exhibition hall that every visitor of the gallery has to pass through. The unexpected weight of the strings is invisible, it can only be felt – they look like fabric ropes, but are actually filled with lead. The strings refer to a visual fallacy and a sense that is commonly overlooked in art exhibitions.
The iron staircase railing is vibrating along its whole length from the basement to the top floor, the epicenter being above the ground floor. The vibration is caused by a sound with a frequency of 20 Hz – a frequency so deep that it can rather be felt then heard. The vibration is activated every hour for one minute.