Professor for Media Art, Fine Arts Department
Arnold Dreyblatt was appointed Professor of Media Art at the Muthesius Kunsthochschule (Academy of Fine Art and Design) Winter, 2009. He directs the Media Art Program in the Fine Arts Department with programs in Photography, Video Art, Performance and Installation Art.
For more information: http://www.muthesius-kunsthochschule.de/
The BFA / MFA program in Media Art provides students with the opportunity to explore and develop the creative possibilities of contemporary art practice as a professional in varying new media contexts. The Bachelor und Masters program offers students an interdisciplinary curriculum where students with diverse interests and backgrounds come together to work on developing aesthetic and critical perspectives in emergent and traditional media technologies. The curriculum includes hands-on, studio-based learning focusing on diverse perspectives and their artistic applications as demonstrated by international art practice. As students advance through the program, they sharpen their focus on personal areas of interest. Students in the fine arts develop the critical thinking, writing and professional skills necessary to become effective artists in the field, to persue further studies or a teaching career.
Black Mountain College as Multiverse: Discursive Conditions for an Interdisciplinary Experiment
January 26 – 28, 2017: Interdisciplinary Symposium of the Forum / institute for the Science of Art, Design, and Media (IKDM) at the Muthesius Academy of Art and Design in Kiel
Conceived by Arnold Dreyblatt and Petra Maria Meyer
The aim of the symposium at the Muthesius Academy was to introduce methods of imparting and gaining knowledge in alternating manner: an artistic work about the archive addressing Black Mountain College by Arnold Dreyblatt (BMC.Labor), and constructions of scientific methods. In an interdisciplinary dialogue between artists and scientists as well as in the interaction between philosophical reflection and “art as experience” (Dewey), which makes the performative tangible in ways that do not lend themselves to words, the discursive conditions determining the values and attitudes at Black Mountain College are seen in relation to today’s needs and setsof problems. The humanistic philosophies of John Dewey and William James allow for a discussion on themes that are highly relevant to today’s discourse. James’s definition of the “psychic” and Dewey’s socio-psychological reflections work to overcome the dualismof body and soul, physical existence and psyche, matter and spirit, the known and the knowing.
Until now, however, neither this “spirit of Dewey” nor the influence of William James, who exerted a significant effect on the discourse of the time, have been examined at any length. The Kiel symposium addresses this deficit as well as previously neglected aspects that go beyond the concrete history of the college to explore questions concerning philosophy and the politics of education from the perspective of American pragmatism (πρα˜ γμα / pragma: “a thing done,” “a fact”). In the process, the writings of John Dewey and William James serve as the basis for additional research, as does the work “PERFORMING the Black Mountain ARCHIVE” by Arnold Dreyblatt, which constituted an important contribution to “Black Mountain. An Interdisciplinary Experiment 1933 – 1957” exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum of Contemporary Art. Students of European art academies were invited to engage in an interactive performance to translate an archive Dreyblatt compiled on Black Mountain College into the present day. Former participants in the project and and interested visitors are invited to immerse themselves more deeply in the idea of the Black Mountain College and to work with the symposium in an open laboratory, entitledthe „BMC.Labor“ (Excerpted from Symposium Program, Arnold Dreyblatt and Petra Maria Meyer)
The BMC.Labor continues Arnold Dreyblatt’s involvement with Black Mountain College in an adjacent space to the Symposium, where a temporary studio and archival space were created under his direction in which students participated in workshops and with performances and readings before and during the Symposium. Workshops in BMC.Labor by „Versatorium“, Wien, Florian Feigel and Anna Schapiro, Berlin
Symposium Program (German / English) >>>
Participants from the Muthesius Academy of Art and Design in Kiel:
ARNE ZERBST, President: “What, actually, are we doing here? On the idea of the art academy in history, the present, and the future“
ARNOLD DREYBLATT, Media Arts /Fine Arts: “Performing the Black Mountain Archiv“
PETRA MARIA MEYER, Institute for the Science of Art, Design, and Media (IKDM): “Experience and Plurality“
OSWALD EGGER, Language and Form, Communication Design: "Performance"
EUGEN BLUME, Director, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, “The Role of the Exile at Black Mountain College“
TORSTEN BLUME, Bauhaus Foundation, Dessau, Cluster of Excellence “ImageKnowledge Design: An Interdisciplinary Laboratory” at Humboldt University, Berlin: “Play life Illusion. Xanti Schawinsky and his Stages”
LYUBOV BUGAEVA, Associate Professor at St. Petersburg State University, Russia: “Black Mountain College: Art, Education, and a Form of Life“
DAG ERIK ELGIN, Artist, formerly Professor at the Academy of Fine Art in Oslo, from 2010-2016
FLORIAN FEIGL, Performance Artist, Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz, Berlin: “what-if”, Workshop
JOHANNA GOSSE, Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Art History & Archaeology at Columbia University: “Ray Johnson, Between Pragmatism and Systems Aesthetics“
ANTJE KAPUST, Professor at Ruhrakademie and University, Bochum: „Reactivating the Secret of Creative Societies“
JOACHIM KRAUSSE, International Masters Program of the COOP Design Research at the HSA / BauhausDessau Foundation / Humboldt University Berlin: “Mechanical Apes and Quantum Machine, Buckminster Fuller at Black Mountain College, 1948 and 1949.”
NORBERT LANGE, publisher, writer, poet and translator, Berlin: The Preparation of a Project“
VALERIAN MALY, Performance Artist and Curator, Bern University of the Arts: “… it is then the business of the splicer to freely cut the tape, even to ‘pulverize’ it, in a complicated way.” (John Cage, excerpt from the “Williams Mix” score)
MARC RÖLLI, Fatih University, Istanbul: “Theory of Experience: The basic ideas of John Dewey’s philosophy“
ANNA SCHAPIRO, artist, Berlin: “I prefer to see with closed eyes“
MELANIE SEHGAL, European University Viadrina in Frankfurt Oder: “No one crosses the same river twice. On the meaning of physiology for a pragmatic understanding of experience and practice.“
Curated by Arnold Dreyblatt and Angela Lammert
Akademie der Künste (Akademie of Art), Berlin
November 6, 2015 - January 10, 2016
Further Exhibtion Sites: 2016 - 2017: Musée des Beaux-Arts Mons, the Von der Heydt-Museum Wuppertal and the Kunstmuseum Bern. In cooperation with the BAM - Musée des Beaux-Arts Mons, the Von der Heydt-Museum Wuppertal and the Kunstmuseum Bern. Funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds (Capital Cultural Fund) and the Society of Friends of the Academy of Arts.
Terry Fox (1943 - 2008) was an American 'artists' artist', based in Europe for many years, whose cross-media work is just waiting to be rediscovered. Fox's political and anarchistic performances and videotapes from the USA are located within the context of his pioneering in the sound art scene developing in Europe. His collaborative actions with Joseph Beuys, Vito Acconci, Dennis Oppenheim and Bill Viola are legendary. Fox used his own body as a medium for borderline experiences and humorously played with the transformation of the simplest materials.
The exhibition creates associative thinking spaces related to central themes in Fox's oeuvre: 'Situations/ Körperliche Zustände' - 'Elements/Material' - 'Mapping/ Labyrinth' - 'Sound as Sculpture/Raum als Instrument'. 'Berlino', 1988/2015, one of three sound rooms, is based on Fox's 'Berlin Wall Scored for Sound' from 1981/82. Previously unpublished video, photographic materials and work notes by Terry Fox are exhibited.
Akademie der Künste: Exhibition >>>
Kettler Verlag: Catalog >>>
Arnold Dreyblatt's "PERFORMING the Black Mountain ARCHIVE" was an artistic research project which ran parallel to the exhibition concerning Black Moutain College: "Black Mountain. An Interdisciplinary Experiment 1933 - 1957", curated by Dr. Eugen Blume and Dr. Gabriele Knapstein at the the Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin. The diversity of activities and personalities at historical Black Mountain College provided a fertile reservoir for the development of individual and group projects, both for public performances and for artistic research in the 'Black Mountain Archive' installed by Dreyblatt.
"PERFORMING the Black Mountain ARCHIVE" comprised an on-site artistic residency which incorporated the daily live performance of archival material as readings, concerts and performances within a pre-planned time structure at pre-determined locations for the four-month duration of the exhibition. In "Performing the Black Mountain Archive" eleven art academies participated for a one to two-week period during which students were in residence within an Archive / Studio space. In reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of education at Black Mountain, students from sculpture, painting, media art, sound art, music, dance, theater and literature were invited.
The Archive / Studio functioned as the home station for the project, containing a working area for the students and the site of the Archive itself. Within the Studio area, students were visibly present during opening hours, pursuing artistic work and research. The students had access to the entire archive contents, which included not only the material used in the performances, but all archival documents which have been collected by the Arnold Dreyblatt over the last years. The live event periods took place from 11:00-13:00 and 15:00-17:00.
Resident students were involved in their own artistic research in the Archive / Studio Space when not actively performing and were encouraged to be present on-site during museum opening times. As event moments occur according the score, students would take the pre-selected archive files (or other materials) and proceed to the pre-selected event area shortly before the active event moment. During the pre-determined time bracket, the student reads / performs / or otherwise carries out the planned activity for the duration, and, upon completion proceeds back to the Archive / Studio Space when he or she returns the materials to the archive. The performative periods are indicated yet the specific times and locations of events are not specified. This ensures that the public discovers the live performances only as they navigate the exhibition.
The Project, "PERFORMING the Black Mountain ARCHIVE" was realized by students from the following educational institutions:
Muthesius Kunsthochschule Kiel (Fine Arts/Media Art): Arnold Dreyblatt & (Communication Design/Typography): André Heers und Annette le Fort
Hochschule für bildende Künste Dresden (Fine Arts): Monika Brandmauer
Hochschule für bildende Künste Dresden (Fine Arts): Ulrike Grossarth
Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn (North American Studies Program / German Studies): Sabine Sielke, Thomas Fechner-Smarsly
Versatorium, Institut für Komparatistik der Universität Wien
Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin (Dance, Context, Choreography): Florian Feigel
Universität der Künste, Berlin (Sound Studies): Hans Peter Kuhn
Hochschule der Künste Bern (Master of Arts in Contemporary Arts Practice & Master of Arts Théâtre musical): Andi Schoon, Valerian Maly
Norwegian Theatre Academy Høgskolen i Ostfold Fredrikstad (Theater/Performance): Maria Schwaegermann
Kunstakademiet i Oslo (Fine Arts): Dag Erik Elgin
Institutionen för Konst, Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm (Fine Arts): Thomas Elovsson.
Project Coordination: Anna Schapiro
Artist in Residence, Center for Arts, Science and Technology, MIT, Cambridge, 2014-2015
Media artist and composer Arnold Dreyblatt's connection to MIT began in 2000. As both a visual artist and a composer, there have been multiple threads to his involvement at MIT over the years. In his residency in 2014-15 he was involved in many aspects of MIT, with multiple performances, including concerts and Symposia at both the Center for Arts, Science and Technology (CAST) and the Department of Music / Theater Arts, as well as teaching a course titled 'The Harmonic Archive: Music, Sound and Installation Art as Artistic Research.'
For the course, 'The Harmonic Archive,' Dreyblatt drew upon his own artistic practice in addressing three main topics: musical minimalism, instrument building and sound art. With a group of eight undergraduate students from diverse disciplines, Dreyblatt wanted to give his students a foundation in the fundamentals of sound itself and visual aesthetics to inform their final projects. In the concert presentation, The Harmonic Archive addresses the experience of overhearing music from some nearby person's headphones. In this piece, the individual tracks are less significant than the experience of partial hearing and mishearing created by the hushed cacophony of multiple speakers playing simultaneously. In Dreyblatt's own work, texts are often used in a similar way, where the emphasis is on the difficulties of interpreting fragmentary information. The four-track sine wave piece is designed to raise questions about the primal experience of sound, the nature of hearing, and the relationship between aural perception and environment. Dreyblatt says that when he was a student, sine waves - frequencies with no harmonic content - were an acoustic revelation to him. Having studied under La Monte Young and Alvin Lucier, he was eager to introduce his MIT undergraduates to their seminal minimalist works, as well as some of the basic principles of sound, which these composers so eloquently exploited in their work. (from a text prepared by Sharon Lacey)
In addition to recounting these public events, Dreyblatt began a research project with Dr. Maiya Geddes from the McGovern Institute for Cognitive Sciences together with Catherine Havasi's work with the Narratarium project in the MIT Media Lab. Additionally, Dreyblatt participated in a collaboration between Dr. Geddes, and Anne Köhler from Music/Theater Arts in the context of the MIT symposium entitled, 'Connectivity Chorus'. The performance reflects the current neuroscience of brain connectivity: four nodes, two networks fluctuate in time to produce a correlated and anti-correlated chorus. Relevant scientific and literary texts were chosen as content material. The performers followed a digitally programmed score, in directing cyclical appearances of fragmentary thought and reminiscence while in a state of wakeful rest.
International artistic research project initiated by the Norwegian Theatre Academy (NTA) / Østfold University College (Karmenlara Ely) in cooperation with York St John University, GB (Claire Hind / Gary Winters), MIT Boston, USA (Anna Kohler / Jay Scheib) and the Muthesius Academy of Fine Arts and Design (Arnold Dreyblatt / Petra Maria Meyer).
The project began in 2012, when The Norwegian Theatre Academy at Østfold University College in Fredrikstad convened an international body of professional artists, activists and scholars, including choreographer/dancer Wen Hui of Living Dance Studio, Beijing, media artist/composer Arnold Dreyblatt (CAST Visiting Artist) and dancer/theorist/director Louise Höjer (collaborator of Tino Sehgal) to confront creatively, critically and scholarly the idea of “the archive.” Through various media, this group addressed the impulse to preserve or carry forward historical remnants that burden or inspire.
Prof. Arnold Dreyblatt and students of NTA hosted a performative, public memory event during a residence in Fredrikstad in August and September 2013. During his residency in Fredrikstad, Dreyblatt proposed the use of public display spaces in Fredrikstad to function as a public interactive platform in which student meetings, performances, installations, and presentations by invited guests take place. Through research and discussion, the project questions social, academic and artistic forms of representation for local and individual memory. Dreyblatt participated as an artist in residence at the NTA in Fredrikstad, as a lecturer at the Symposium in York and as a participant as an artist in residence of the Center for Arts, Science and Technology at MIT in a collaborative performance with Dr. Maiya Geddes (Postdoctoral Fellow, McGovern Institute, MIT) and Anna Kohler with participating students from Theater Arts.
Research and Exhibition Project with the students of the Media Arts Class under the direction of Prof. Arnold Dreyblatt at the Muthesius Kunsthochschule (Academy of Art and Design) and Prof. Dr. Claudia Banz at the Museum for Kunst and Design (Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg). Exhibited at the Museum for Kunst and Design in Hamburg in 2013.
The students who participated in “Name That Thing” ranged from second year bachelor, master and former students from the Media Arts Class at the Muthesius Academy. After numerous visits to the visible and non-visible museum areas, they developed diverse artistic concepts as an individual response to the themes which reflect on the nature of museum display and to notions of good and bad taste. The Museum was considered as an institution created by the State not only to show artifacts, but also to catalog and protect them. In selecting, phototographing, filming, and otherwise documenting these objects for an artistic intervention, the students learned to maneuver the bureaucratic waters of the “museum as institution”, a learning experience for both the participants and for the museum as well.
Research Workshop, Performance Installation
Academy of Art, Berlin-Weißensee (Kunsthochschule Berlin Weissensee)
Student production directors: Peter Müller, Silvia Lorenz
Stage Design: Olf Kreisel
Collaboration with: Wolfgang Krause, Galerie o zwei
During the Open House of the Academy of Art in Berlin-Weißensee the project "First Congress and Archive: Former Pupils Kastanien Allee School Complex: 1900-1999" was presented in the Academy auditorium. The performance-installation was a result of a one semester Seminar with Arnold Dreyblatt at the Academy. The presentation involved a simulation of an actual Congress Event as well as an interactive presentation of the contents of the archive, gathered by the students and now inventoried in a digital databank. Former students of the school complex were invited to participate.
Class 7D: The Class which Disappeared
Workshop and Installation, 2004|
Permanently Installed at the GLS Language School, Kastannienallee, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin
Participation: Art Students from Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weiensee in collaboration with Galerie Ozwei, Berlin
This workshop and Installation considered as basic material the personal archive of Peter Muller, one of the workshop participants. The archive contains documents, images and artifacts pertaining to the history of the Gustav-Eiffel-Schule and the surrounding historical school property. We were interested in developing an artistic form in which the last inhabitants (teachers, administrators and students) of the soon-to-be abandoned school would be confronted with memory of the surrounding school buildings and property, which has been used for educational purposes since 1867. As an exhibition space, we had been given a now-empty vitrine (approx. 4 m x 1 m) permanently built into a wall in a prominent site on the first floor landing of the main school building. Rather than create a pure historical exhibition, I proposed to mix fact and ?ction in creating a pseudo-historical narrative which would be made plausible through the traditional methods of museum-like display, and which would reflect the complex emotions and expectations of both an east and west public as well as an east location. The group decided on the theme of a school class which was reported to have completely disappeared, possibly for political reasons, in 1961. Great care was taken to support the narrative within the realm of plausibility, utilizing a great reserve of real and fabricated archival material from the time period. Possible resolutions of the narrative were imagined but left open to interpretation. In, December 2004, a small dedication ceremony was held as the work was permanently sealed behind an enormous glass window. Other than a reference to the installation as a result of a workshop under my direction, no indication was given as to the truth or falsity of the display. When the installation was on view during the art project ., a minority of outside visitors were greatly irritated by the imagination that a school class had actually disappeared in the DDR.
T-Mail, Department of Cultural Studies, University of Lüneburg
The development of a website art project was accomplished in a workshop which lasted over two years and which examined the navigation through a digital network of historical documentation. Students programmed, designed, edited and proofread documents in the realization of the final project. The website is part of the artistic project "T", of which "T-Mail" and the "T Documents" are a part.
A project by Arnold Dreyblatt
Produced in collaboration with students of the Department of Cultural Studies, Kulturinformatik, of the University of Lüneburg, Germany. T.Mail was developed and produced during a workshop from 2003 to 2005 under the direction of Prof. Martin Warnke and Arnold Dreyblatt.
Technical Assistance, Hypertext: Carmen Wedemeyer
Flash: Olaf Krafft
Student Participants in the Development Group 2004-2005: Jasmin Bodmann, Edith Schiele, Annette Gast, Verena Holz, Martina Mennerich, Beate Rullik, and many other students from earlier semesters.
The Software used in the production of this website was develped by Martin Warnke, Christian Terstegge, Carmen Wedemeyer at the University of Lüneburg in a research project on documentation methodologies for contemporary art which resulted in an XML-schema (PeTAL, Picture Text AnnotationLanguage), an editor (PictLinker), a Browser (Petal Reader) and an XLST conversion routine to the WWW.
Workshop and Installation
Participation: Art Students and Former Art Students from Kunsthochschule (Art Academy) Berlin-Weisensee and HdK (Art Academy) Saar, Saarbrucken
As a response to the rapidly disappearing traces of the Gustav-Eiffel-Schule and historical school area in Berlin Prenzlauer Berg, I proposed the installation of a museum in a basement space normally utilized as a depot for schoolbooks which are stored in glass vitrines. As a initiating theme for the workshop, we discussed the historical tradition of the Wunderkammer and museum display. The permission to utilize the space necessitated the removal of thousands of schoolbooks, many of which were clearly outdated and originating from an earlier political regime, to another basement space, while maintaining the original order for eventual thematic reconstruction. Nearby basement rooms contained decaying scientific educational aids, many of which eventually found their way into vitrines in the Museum within a new context as art and scientific display. Each of the participating young artists created works which responded to the spatial and historical situation with varying media and themes, ranging from performance to media projection to image projection. Many used locally found materials and technologies.
The exhibition was open to the public during the exhibition project Leerstelle, curated by Wolfgang Krause.
Exhibition Project as part of Prof. Inga Mahn's exhibition project, "Haushalten", Dreyblatt curated an exhibition project involving students from the Art Academy of Saarbrücken and Berlin-Weißensee along with friends and collegues from the Berlin.
Participating students and former students from HbK Saarbrücken: Caroline Armand, Elvira Hufschmid, Ingeborg Knigge, Margit Schäfer, Janine Eggert, Gabriele Heller
Participating Artists from Berlin: Lila Karbowska, Jan Faktor, Gusztav Hamos, Arnold Dreyblatt, Monika Lilleike, Konrad Sprenger, Tapeman
Projects and Presentations:
Lila Karbowska - "Spielbrett"
Intervention - Eine Arbeit im Prozess, die mit dem Ende der 'Spielzeit erst ihren
Abschluss finden wird. Die Arbeit zitiert, aber zweckentfremdet die professionelle Spurensuche des Restaurators. Das Spielbrett fungiert als pars pro toto, dass erahnen lässt, dass sich in diesen Räumen verschiedene Lebensgeschichten abgespielt haben.
Präsentation: "INVENTAR" ein Projekt der hbk Saar,
Klasse Arnold Dreyblatt, 2002
und Arbeiten von Margit Schäfer und Caroline Armand
Caroline Armand: Raumintervention und Vortrag
Margit Schäfer: "Leitkultur", Installation
Halloween Konzert Abend mit TAPEMAN, Konrad Sprenger, Arnold Dreyblatt, u.a.
Ingeborg Knigge (SB): "Hausnummern" Dia Performance
Janine Eggert: "Flecken", Installation
Monika Lilleike: Vortrag "Traditionelle Vocal- und Darstellungskunst aus Hawaii"
Jan Faktor: Lesung
danach Gusztav Hamos: "Rush", Vortrag mit Film & Video
Arnold Dreyblatt: "My Fundus", Installation
Elvira Hufschmid: "INTERMEDIATE FENG SHUI", Präsentation einer
Gabriele Heller: Video Installation
Academy of Art, Saarbrücken
Class and Seminar Descriptions: Prof. Arnold Dreyblatt
Archiv und Denkmal (Archive and Monument)
How can we create an artistic environment for visualizing and memorializing the artificial memory traces in our contemporary lives? What are the processes of selection, storage and interaction that determine which fragments of texts and artifacts will remain and which will be lost to us? Which role do memorials and archives play in official representations of the past? Student projects involve the research, collection and treatment of original archival materials. The resulting group and individual works will reflect diverse forms of presentation which intersect the boudaries of installation and performance with traditional and digital media. Specific city-spaces and landscapes sites will be chosen for project presentations.
Exhibition by Students:
Archiv, Denkmal, Museum (Archive, Monument, Museum)
Four artworks as a response to a discussion on the the mechanism of collection in the archive and museum and the processes by which we chose to represent the past.Individual projects confronted the preservation of local memory in the urban landscape and in language; the naming, categorization and personallization of artifacts, and the imprint of unwanted traces on personal effects.
A fifth work, presented in the form of a documented action, examined prevelant themes of observation , security, and the storage of personal data.
"Inventar" was a project of students of Prof. Arnold Dreyblatt at the HbK Saar in Saarbrücken. Students who have participated in Dreyblatt's Seminar, "Archiv, Denkmal, Museum" have chosen an abandoned house in the village of Rubenheim, Saarland for an intensive research project which will resulted in a site-specific presentation.
The house complex in Rubenheim has been inhabited for generations by the same family and contains a millenry shop and tailor workshop. The last member of this family vacated the premises only recently because of illness, so that artistic intervention takes place within a temporary state in which traces of the past are still to be found. It is expected that the house will be sold in the near future, after which the architectronic context and interior contents will be forever lost.
Students spent five days in the house examining the material traces of the past which remain. At the end of the research period, students created an exhibition in various media which will be installed in the (Millenry) shop and throughout the house. Visitors from the Art Academy, residents of Saarland and especially the inhabitants of Rubenheim were invited to an open house/exhibition.
Research and Exhibition Project with students of Academy of Art, Saarbrücken
My work as guest professor at the HBK Saar began as a discussion on the mechanisms of collection in the archive and museum and in the processes by which we chose to represent and understand the traces of the past as well as the preservation of local memory in the urban landscape. As a result of our group inquiries, I proposed a site-specific project in an empty house in urban Saarbrucken. We would work with a house as an archive in itself: a repository of lived history. We would research the history of a given house, charting its changes over the years and of those who resided within it. We could uncover the traces of the former inhabitants, known or unknown. We planned an exhibition as a public presentation of our activities. As fate would have it, we could not secure permission to work in one of the three chosen urban sites. Through the assistance of a Real Estate Agent in Saarbrucken, we were offered a very different yet unique alternative site:: an empty bauernhof in Rubenheim, a small village in Saarland in the Bliestal. The farmhouse complex in Rubenheim has been inhabited for generations by the Meyer family and contains a millenry shop and tailor workshop which had been well integrated into the village infrastructure. Only recently, the last members of the family to live and work in this house had been forced to vacate because of illness. Artistic intervention could only take place within a temporary state during which existing traces of the past would shortly be destroyed. We therefore undertook the project with the knowledge that the house would soon be sold after which the orginal architectural context and interior contents would be forever lost.
As we entered the house for the first time, we felt ourselves as if frozen in time. During the last years in which Maria and Konrad Meyer became increasingly isolated, rooms had been slowly abandoned, the store had closed for the last time, the bills had piled up. We were surrounded by an accumulation of historical objects much like layers of geological strata or the cabinets of religious relics. While some rooms had largely been emptied of their contents, the traces of daily life were overwhelmingly visible. Some rooms appeared to remain in a state of a last breakfast. Bags of documents and artifacts which had been collected and removed from the living quarters were deposited haphazardly in the barn. The last unsold items remained piled in the shop as the shelves remained bare. In July, 2002 we spent five working days in the house as a preparation for an exhibition on the following weekend Our work was a process of finding, collecting, sorting, and re-constructing the traces of a past which seemed to be performing a process of gradual disapearance during our presence.. We responded with varying media and artistic forms, often experimenting with unconventional means of display. We created a specific labarynth-like pathway through the house, circumventing personal quarters which might make local residents and family members uncomfortable. Common to all individual works is an attempt to stimulate multiple responses to a memory lost, and a respect for the individual lives who passed through these spaces.
At the end of the Arbeitswoche we invited visitors from the HBK Saar, residents of Saarland and especially the inhabitants of Rubenheim to an open house and exhibition on Saturday afternoon. The Rubenheimers were informed of the action by posters in the former shop window, and by a notice in the local Gemeindeblatt. An article on our work had appeared in the Saarlandische Zeitung. We were quite unprepared as hundreds of local inhabitants attended the open house, engaging us in endless conversations relating to their memories of the past, stimulated by the student works and quite unaware as to their first contact with contemporary art. We sensed that our project had somehow unexpectedly crossed the boundaries of art and life, if only for a moment. This was an experience which we would not quickly forget. Since our activities in summer, we continued to follow up the developments in Rubenheim. Maria Meyer and her handicaped brother Konrad, the last family members to inhabit the house, had been living in an Altesheim in Saarbland. At the end of 2002, Maria Meyer had died. The house was sold to a couple from a nearby village, and members of the Arbeitsgruppe visited the house for the last time. Other students made a series of interviews with Hilarius Meyer, brother of Maria and Konrad, and with his son, as well as with Gunter Altenkirch of a small private Museum in Rubenheim, who had been so helpful to us in establishing contact with the inhabitants of the village.
- Arnold Dreyblatt, 2003
A Project of the Department of Cultural Studies, University of Lüneburg (Now Leuphania University)
Dreyblatt's Performance Installations Memory Arena and Who's Who in Central & East Europe 1933 were both programmed as a hypertext interactive environment for a World Web Site on the Internet and as an installation within Dreyblatt's Memory Arena which took place in the Arken Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen in 1996. Students travelled to Copenhagen to participate in the installation after collaborating on the development and execution of the website. The development of a website was accomplished in a two semester workshop in which we examined the navigation through a digital network of information. Students programmed, designed, edited and proofread documents and images in the realization of the final project.
Produced in collaboration with the Department of Cultural Studies of the University of Lüneburg, Germany; Martin Warnke, Director.
Who's Who in Central & East Europe 1933 programming by: Paul Siegert and Carmen Wedemeier
Memory Arena programming and web design by: Beatrix Brandes, Frank Derricks, Christian Hildebrandt, Eva Johach und Kristina Reichel