denser experience mapping ~ roughly translated ATM,
denser experience mapping ~ roughly translated pebble tiles
wonders of nature & synthetic
great ideas/sophisticated ways of management
Konrad's works develop around the idea of simulated space. The works strive to combine an idea of virtual environments and their constitutional properties with ideas of material space. Starting from virtual spaces that convey the visual impression of tangible surfaces primarily through textures, without additional phenomenological input, the works confront the question: what happens when this visual space is translated into solid objects and whether this might give us a deeper idea of the pictoriality of spatial content.
For the ICP exhibition Konrad focused on urban areas that are most common in everyday experience, with the attempt to connect the imagery of public space with the visual manifestation of virtual space. The presented Cash machines and concrete pebble tiles are both used frequently in urban architecture, which is decorative and practical at the same time. The works „denser experience mapping & roughly translated ATM“ and „denser experience mapping & roughly translated pebble tiles“ thus aim to imitate the texture mapping of an ATM and the surrounding floor as it would probably be in an arrangement of faces in two-dimensional Texture space. By giving these technical images a fixed material, K shows the idea of virtual space and its coordinates poorly translated into the material world. And with it the feeling of a random urban space, freely usable and vacuous nice, but somehow repelling at the same time.
„wonders of nature & synthetic“ is a height map of the ground used for defending areas mainly against homeless and other unwanted/deviant individuals. The shape and the original situation of the area has similarities to places where gardens would normally be located. In the practice of replacing gardens or other decorative elements with concrete structures lies the idea of controlling the imagery of cities. Where the garden controls the organic features of nature, the defensive architecture of concrete is intended to reduce the impact of the unpredictability of urban life.
„great ideas/sophisticated ways of management" is based on a quote from Disney Development Company president Peter Rummel regarding the cornerstone of "entertainment architecture," which is namely the control over the surroundings. He goes on: "to the extent that we have really perfected the environment inside the park, we have tried to take that same attitude . . . and duplicate it outside the park." The red color refers to the practice of post-controlling the photographic evidence of visits to entertainment/amusement parks. In the days of analogue cameras, the red-colored pavement in Disney's entertainment architecture was intended to let the surrounding greenery appear fresher and the overall image of the park cleaner.
Sanabel Badr El-Deen
"Our sense of the place is enhanced; our sense of ourselves as inhabitants not just of a geographical country but of the mind is cemented.”
Seamus Heaney, Preoccupations
Places have the capacity to hold layers upon layers of intermingled social and political meaning and implications, these layers are communicated through ever-changing functions, histories, and inhabitants.
Sanabel is interested in the changing functions of place and in tracking the power dynamics, the politics, and imagination involved in these relentless processes of change. Using cemeteries as a starting point, known in Egypt for being changed into places for regular inhabitance and leisure, as well as constantly being referenced as spaces for religious serenity and remembering one's place in life and the temporality of the human situation.
In this scenarios, we assume that cemeteries are independent places with an innate identity attached to them, this place with one specific function then proceeds to gradually shift into a completely functional city, housing residents and performing all the city's functions, feelings, and relationships. The work looks into urban details, offering different stages of how we reshape and restructure places to build personal spaces catering to our needs, and how this reshaping proceeds to affect the function, and thus the definition of a place and its very essence.
Omar Abd El Baky
Through a muted, and transparent "map" with earthly colors, we are introduced to a variation of organic structures, growing out of each other, leeching onto one another, in isolation but also connected, these structures seem to be simultaneously suffocating and breaking free.
Omar's work draws upon his own surrounding neighborhood in Sayeda Zainab, Cairo. Looking into and analyzing the very complex and the seemingly haphazard arrangements and relationships that form the social order.
Visually reading the map, should help you identify clusters of power starting from street coffee shops, a 24\7 open café space, where the neighborhood gathers after work to drink their beverages, catch up, and maybe play cards. These primarily leisure spaces are in themselves informal structures; crawling onto the streets at night and shrinking by day, they have an organic nature, a true product of the space that houses them. They simultaneously adapt to and shape the ecosystem around them, and like their regular customers, they are embedded within an unshakable hierarchy of power to which they hold a relatively privileged position.
The power these structure hold is primarily one of knowledge, they offer the position of knowing everything about everyone, but furthermore, their power extends beyond just knowing, for these entities –by the power of their regulars, the elders- hold the ability to judge; to renounce those who are different. Therefore, caution is crucial. For despite their seemingly warm exteriors, they remain capable of implementing a great deal of harm if a threat is perceived.
30°01’40.6”N31°12’39.2”E -Some place the bus drops me off
Interested in the process of choosing, keeping and collecting and what drives and motivates these actions, Rana looks into this practice and what it could possibly reveal about us. Using a personal collection to investigate into personal memories, forming connections between past and present, and looking differently at Cairo.
Expanding on this dynamic Rana explores her personal collection in connection with her city, choosing to view the city as a larger, more experienced collector, its' collection encompassing its' people, streets and establishments, each containing their respective layers of meaning and significance to both the city and the artist, forming a convoluted, perpetually extending web.
The artwork plays as a chronicle; an exchange between Rana and the city of Cairo, where they exchange collections and objects, she intends to frame this 'collaboration' as moving in steps and to address the long period of time where the collections remained untouched, both the city's half-deserted collection and her own collection that was left to dust without much addition for almost a year. The final work feels like a revival, and highlights from the personal collection and that of the city’s what reflects a mutual interaction, showcasing public green spaces (a botanical garden and a zoo), where a vast array of fun leisurely activities take place, juxtaposing them with her own prized collection of mundane interesting objects, all mirroring this sense of playfulness.
Bäume und Steine
Grit Aulitzky has developed an independent sculptural work that starts from real objects, which she translates into her own visual world.
Her work stems from the innate joy of nature, man's original space for leisure and contemplation, she builds trees and pebbles, transforming them in size and shape. Together, they create sort of a parallel playground.
In her series "Category Boards" Gabriela Kobus deals with the perception of societal surface phenomena and the question of how these have an effect on society through individual patterns of experience and order. She develops arrangements and display boards that show a selection of subjective attributions, revealing that a different selection would have been possible at any time, and thus takes up questions about the reduction of social complexity.
For her categories Kobus takes directly the silhouettes of the photographic representations she finds in her research.
With "Amusement Categories" she addresses questions about different realities of life and links them to the need for pleasure. Fluffy colored carpet pieces show outlines of amusement rides installed in a wide variety of places, such as war zones, slums, housing estates, and large and small amusement parks. Missing place names are left open, some untraceable names of funrides are supplemented in the ductus of the fanciful names of other rides.
All these elements interact in humorous, sometimes unintentionally cynical ways, giving space to reflect on the objects, the realities they represent, and the complex relationships in which they are involved.
This work was developed from a research on amusement rides and places of amusement. Gabriela is interested in the clash of these objects with their surroundings, surroundings into which they were "placed". To a certain extent, these objects always seem out of place, too big, garish, colorful and kitschy, they don't fully belong to the places around them and they don't blend in easily, from a distance, they have the capacity to look both attractive and off-putting at the same time.
Looking further into different amusement parks around the world, we find that while the rides are often similar in their aesthetics, there are great differences and varieties in terms of spatial setting: whether they are set temporarily or are placed permanently in locations specially designed for them, whether these rides inhabit smaller or larger arrangements, or are set up completely individually, meant to stand alone. All these differences make up the nature of the rides, determine their relationship to their surroundings, and create our mental image of them.
With the work "Circles", Gabriela places a large colorful object inspired by amusement rides in a space for contemporary art. Looking at this figure, it seems to have a place as a matter of course.
Layla's work is about spaces, their structures and their connection to seemingly mundane human actions. This specific work focuses on city structures as transit spaces.
In Layla's installation, City parks are seen as transit spaces: a shared space where people come together and bring their food or beer. They play games, sit, drink, eat, all the while being surrounded by strangers. Seeming from the outside like they are having their own private intimate actions next to each other, complete strangers sharing what they normally wouldn't, all connected by their search for „nature “and relaxation.
This search is driven to a point of absurdity, as its not nature they are in or surrounded by and even relaxation is only found to a certain extent. Upon examining the actual space, we find that it only becomes a different space through demarcation and through borders, simply by being a green area: the green area (in a park) stands out from the area surrounding it (walkways, paths, borders, etc.).
This demarcation is recreated in the work: by simply translating the park into a blue flat area with a carpet, it automatically creates a border just by its color and automatically claims a field for itself, instead of random people meeting each other and behaving in a certain way, the objects on the blue field are creating new communications, exploring possible connections, and presenting new meanings, as they are on this blue surface and therefore in a mandatory way connected with each other. The objects, which were made in different contexts and narratives, become representatives of human actions and behaviors when being in a park.
Heba's work ponders the commodification and fetishization of cities, the over simplification, the reduction, and the dilution of complex narratives, histories, visuals, and experiences into easily digestible and most importantly easily marketable versions that takes over cities, turning the city itself into a giant park, a place solely for leisure, a mere simulation of life that enhances disconnection in an experience that is supposed to bring people closer.
The video presents in the background, a search through Cairo for a 'Colorless Landscape', a location that holds none of the intrinsic qualities a touristic image of Egypt would usually carry, a neutral landscape, a place devoid of signals of any kind. The landscape loops quietly from day to night, and coupled with the voice-over, there appears a disconnect, you don't get even a glimpse of what is described or what you are promised. Instead you are placed firmly at a distance, only catching the faintest hint of motion of a fairly ordinary city.
Upon closer inspection, the work lies firmly between cynicism and wishful thinking, what starts off as a sarcastic mimic of traditional touristic or nationalistic voice overs, at times turns into a sincerely wishful monologue, an ode to a kinder city, as the scene oscillates between awfully bleak and oddly serene, and at certain moments, touches upon a deeper need.