WHAT IF… | proposal art installation Allee der Kosmonauten

The further development of the design “What if…?” is based on the architect Georg Poduschka’s (ppag) idea: the school building as a tool. It is extended by artistic objects that subtly and playfully enrich the perception of the environment.

PDF description of objects, materials, production techniques and location of their installation inside and outside of the new school building.

What if …? [or: about the change of direction of thoughts by merely looking at things].

Explanatory report and draft 2nd competition phase of the open two-stage anonymous art in architecture competition for the new school building Allee der Kosmonauten, Berlin-Lichtenberg.

According to the architect Georg Poduschka, the main idea for this new school building is to provide the users with a tool for learning. The further development of the design “What if…?” is based on this idea: the school building as a tool is extended by 22 artistic objects that subtly and playfully enrich the perception of the environment of students and teachers.

The design plays with a simple object. Formally, the bowl (vessel) forms the bracket of the proposal: The bowl is one of the first utilitarian objects that people have made with initially probably bare hands from earth and water. It appears as an object in three- and in two-dimensional form, it shines, it turns, it reflects, it circumludes, it stretches, it has grown, and so on.

Through the withdrawn and casually installed objects, one’s own thought patterns are to become clear, associations and inspiration are to be released, and thus one’s own ideas in dealing with the environment are to be encouraged. Users are meant to move through an inspiring and wunderkammer-like topography. In contrast to works that bear a decidedly artistic-individual signature of their creator, the focus here is on offerings and inspiration, eye level and empowerment.

A bowl is first of all just a universal, open vessel with a cavity that serves the purpose of separating its contents from its environment. In bowls as they are found in all cultures, contents can not only be collected, but also transported and (distributed). Bowls are less suitable for storing or keeping different contents because they are open. Rather, they serve to collect, organize, and hold content at the ready – metaphorically, this could also be seen as a reference to the transmission of knowledge: Vessels enriched by school curricula, learning content, attitudes of teachers, own experiences, social and cultural imprints, which in turn share them with the world.

The design intends to vary or depict the shape of a bowl 22 times in the interior and exterior of the school building in traditional as well as novel materials, sizes, functions and representations. Clay (earth), wood and plant matter, stone and glass, as well as materials such as mycelia and bio-fabric, recycled products and novel composites and techniques will be used (modeled, turned, carved, scratched, printed, woven, woven, etc.). The shell is applied as a relief directly into or onto the walls, shell outlines refract and discolor light, or shells offer an unexpected use (for example, as a seating object or to collect rainwater). The different materials and views of the bowl and their installations contrast surprisingly with their subject: ancient (including indigenous) craft, artistic to ultra-modern sustainable techniques and strategies are taken up. Along the way, therefore, a reflection of cultural history is also shown.

The bowl-objects and their installations stand on the one hand for the human ability to develop simple solutions together, in order to secure both their habitats and a cultural self-expression that is to be renewed again and again. But they are also the results of a playful approach to materials and techniques that, in addition to their aesthetic value, incorporate old and new ideas.

The notion of what is possible is thoughtfully expanded in all directions. All shell objects imply that they could also be different: in their scale, their materiality, their reference points and in what they allow for individual perception.

Some of the objects can also be experienced haptically. In the process, the entire school will become a laboratory for exploring one’s own perception and thinking. The design aims at a form of art that is aware of the interrelations between living beings and their environment. We humans exist only because all other(s) exist. We do not have to save nature as a topos, but we are in the situation of having to preserve nature as our habitat. This understanding requires the recognition of many ways of being and practices – not just one that claims all-dominant power. And so this design is about bringing together and showing knowledge and experience, skill and understanding of many actors in the workshop school. For this purpose, numerous craftsmen, experts, designers and researchers will be involved in the implementation.

An integral part of “What if…?” is the publication, which presents the derivations of the form and the materiality and technology of the respective objects in detail to all users. This book can be used interdisciplinary in the classroom. In addition to the artistic mediation, it has the function of stimulating perception, social and natural experience and the existing as well as the resulting playful creativity of future students.