Plänterwald : [Video and photographic installation]
Lynne_Marsh_s_Pl_nterwald_is_a_poetic_meditation_on_a_broken_down_Berlin_amusement_park.pdf (PDF, 370Kb)
School of Creative Arts
Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities Research Institute
Art and Design
Research into Practice
The research output “Plänterwald” is an installation work consisting of an HD video projection with 4-channel sound, raised wood screen construction and a series of photographs. It is filmed on the site of a former GDR amusement park built in 1969 and abandoned after unification. In its abandoned state the park now acts as a monument to a failed project (GDR) while holding a fascination as a relic to former socialist ideology, design and culture. The film uses the typology of the space to expose its current social, historical and cultural function. The project explores the inscription of individual bodies in an architectural environment built specifically for mass consumption and mass cultural expression. It acts as an uneasy encounter between the individual and the collective by rendering the individual as automatons and the masses as an absent ominous presence. Using innovative camera movement that is imbued with animate qualities and by directing the movement of bodies and cameras in parallel, the performative is re-inscribed onto apparatuses of capture, shifting political readings within social sites. What emerges is a space for us to speculate on the present concept of the individual and its contemporary exertion of pressure as a political subject. In “Plänterwald” the rollercoaster and ferris wheel sit motionless at the edge of the city of Berlin. After being closed to the public for almost a decade the rides and fairground structures –once providing a distraction from everyday realities –are left to a gradual process of decay and overgrowth. Paradoxically this derelict site is patrolled and protected by security guards who on the one hand attempt to maintain its separation from the public sphere and contemporary life yet at the same time position it in the present social and economic conditions. The video stages a journey in, over and through this bordered off park evoking the exceptional conditions of its persistent existence. Positioning the security guards as the guardians of a ‘dead’ space, the work plays on the absurdity of the use of force and notion of property in relation to the decay and obsolescence of the site. “Plänterwald” pursues an exploration of a world held together by an internal logic, and quietly, yet relentlessly—like the defunct rollercoaster—echoes the rumbles of deep social and political fault lines and their explosive potential. “Plänterwald” was commissioned by the Manifestation Internationale d’art Québec, The Québec City Biennial with funding from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. It has been purchased by the National Gallery of Canada for their permanent collection.