Recording Revisited: An evening on the history of experimental electronic music in the region

MED 2303 Monat der Medienkunst Save The Date Karte 03_Seite_1

Recording Revisited: An evening on the history of experimental electronic music in the region

Künstlerhaus Dortmund
Saturday, November 19, 2022 | 7pm
Concerts, Panel & Releaseparty
with: Scheinleistung, zo-on slows (aka. Echo Ho) and Damian T. Dziwis


In collaboration with mex e.V. and artist duo Freya Hattenberger and Peter Simon, the Office invites you to the release of the new research project Revisited: Generators and Generations. Experiments – Music – Electronics in NRW.

With live acts by artists such as Scheinleistung (VA) (hans w. koch & Britta Fehrmann), zo-on slows (aka. Echo Ho) and Damian T. Dziwis, as well as talks by guests such as DJ, sound artist and producer Waltraud Blischke and composer and performer hans w. koch, we will embark on a sonic journey into experimental electronic music from NRW and explore the special history of this artistic field.

With concerts by:
Echo Ho is a sound artist and performer. Her artistic practice goes beyond sound, music and performance by consistently bringing together different media forms, materials and genres at the intersections of art, philosophy, culture and technology.

Damian T. Dziwis is a Düsseldorf-based composer and scientist who creates multimedia works using audiovisual generative algorithms, machine learning and live coding.

Duo Scheinleistung (VA) was founded in 2016 by Britta Fehrmann and hans w. koch with the aim of finding a sonic interpretation of Scheinleistung.

Waltraud Blischke is a lecturer for acoustic research, music and text as well as narration and media aesthetics. She has written for magazines such as Spex, Stadtrevue and Meakusma Magazine, among others. She is also involved in various projects as a DJ and sound artist.

Revisited: Generators and Generations. Experiments – Music – Electronics in NRW

The event will mark the release of the new audio feature from the Revisited series, which twice a year highlights particularly influential events and developments in media art and digital culture in NRW. Revisited: Generators and Generations. Experiments – Music – Electronics in NRW is the third edition of this research, in which listeners can this time immerse themselves in the sonic side of the media arts. Starting with the founding of the WDR studio for electronic music in Cologne, Freya Hattenberger and Peter Simon trace the paths that musicians and artists in the field of experimental music have followed in the region, and let many of the players from then and now have their say. When the Cologne recording studio was founded in 1951, it was the first of its kind in the world and was thus able to attract renowned musicians such as Györgi Ligeti, Henry Pousseuer and Gottfried Michael Koenig to the Rhineland, who artistically explored the technical possibilities on site and created important avant-garde compositions. Much has changed since then. Instead of a studio with cupboard-sized technology that seems almost baroque from today’s point of view, a laptop and handy instruments are often enough today, with which flexible production and online publication can also be done at home.

The questions of how experimental electronic music in the region has developed in the following years up to the present day and to what extent new technologies and production methods have changed artistic processes are the focus of the new episode of Revisited and the evening at the Künstlerhaus Dortmund. The common thread here is the history of technology itself, especially the leaps from analogue to digital tools, recording, playback and distribution media, as well as the resulting sound aesthetics and currently urgent (cultural) political questions about representation and visibility, underground, institutionalisation and recognition.

mex e.V. is a non-profit association for experimental and intermedia music projects. Since 1992, more than 700 musicians and media artists have presented their works here. In an interdisciplinary programme, mex combines concerts with performances, video, multimedia and dance.
More info about mex e.V.

Revisited: VIDEONALE.1 X Perspective #2


Revisited: VIDEONALE.1 X Perspective #2


In three parts, the thematic series Revisited by Office once more invites you to delve into an event from the history of media art with audio contributions, film and texts. This summer, the series is dedicated to the first edition of the Videonale, which took place in Bonn in 1984 and laid the foundation for the groundbreaking festival. An audio feature and essay look at the history of the Videonale as well as challenges and demands on art festivals from today’s perspective.

Revisited: VIDEONALE.1 X Perspective #2

As the third part of the series, the Office, together with the Videonale Association, has invited curator Giorgi Spanderashvili to place works from the Videonale’s online video archive into a new context. This selection of works appears in cooperation with the new Videonale series Perspectives. From over 140 videos and motivated by the current political situation, a program with a focus personally chosen by Giorgi came to be.

With works by Mahdi Fleifel, Beate Geissler & Oliver Sann, Zanny Begg & Oliver Ressler, Julie Kuzminska, Salome Jashi and Mariam Natroshvili & Detu Jincharadze.

Perspective #2
Conflicted Landscapes or Losing the Ground from under One’s Feet
by Giorgi Spanderashvili

Working with an archive provides endless opportunities of interpretation as the process is frequently affected by certain circumstances or emotional states. Diving into the online archive of the Videonale, I was thinking about a possible topic of selection, as the collection of the materials stored on the platform offers an abundance of diversity and meanings. At one time or another, I would turn my attention to subjects such as technology, environment, identity or longing for forms of the moving image. However, at this given moment in time, against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, it is hard to think about any other matter than conflict and violence. We have entered the third decade of the 21st century with a global health crisis caused by the pandemic, a resurgence of totalitarian tendencies, a massive war in Eastern Europe and rising economic inequalities. Perspectives for solutions or visions for a better future are lacking, and the question what tomorrow will bring us is open to a multitude of answers.

Hostilities, conflicts and political oppression bring about never-ending violence, often manifested in personal tragedies, forced displacements, disruption of livelihoods and other hardships. Conflicted places are like wounds on the body of the earth, breaking out over and over again without relief. Oftentimes the tendency to find justifications, to forget or to create alternate narratives for what actually happened is predominant.

Collective memory seems to be alienated from reality, but the pain and trauma do not fade away, they remain alive as the ghost next to a door. Archives can be a powerful tool in coming to terms with them as they have the potential to recall memories and find ways towards much-needed relief.

My selection from the Videonale online archive encompasses works that touch upon the issues mentioned above: 3 Logical Exists by Mahdi Fleifel, a documentary story of a man living in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon; fuck the war by Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann, a stunning piece which brings me back to my childhood memories of playing war games in the early 1990s, when Georgia was ravaged by wars and it was one of the most popular games for children; Anumbumin by Zanny Begg and Oliver Ressler, an emotionally taxing work that describes the hidden political and economic oppression of the citizens of Nauru island; and Chaos by Julie Kuzminska, an abstract narrative flow of visuals and sound that expressively resonates with the given selection.

Additionally, in relation with the playlist from the Videonale archive, I am referring viewers to two pieces by Georgian artists in order to build a dialogue and open up further perspectives in the context of the given thematic spectrum: Speechless (2009) by Salome Jashi and Lost & Found – Spell to Return a Lost One (2020) by Mariam Natroshvili and Detu Jincharadze.

Giorgi Spanderashvili is a Georgia-based curator, art manager and cultural professional. Since 2010, he has been engaged in the fields of contemporary visual and performing arts, and has worked on a number of local and international projects. He is a co-founder & co-curator of the Georgian video art archive and the independent new media art platform In-between Conditions. This year, he has curated the Georgian National Pavilion at the 59thVenice International Exhibition – Biennale Arte 2022.

Revisited: Space as Method. Thoughts based on VIDEONALE.1 #essay


Exhibitionviews VIDEONALE.14-18, Fotos VIDEONALE.14 Anneke Dunkhase; VIDEONALE.15-18 David Ertl, Exhibition archictecture: Ruth Lorenz

Revisited: Space as Method. Thoughts based on VIDEONALE.1 #essay


If one were to write the history of the Videonale as a biography, its development from an off-space into an art society and finally an art museum would suggest an exemplary career. Accordingly, looking back on its beginnings – the first Videonale in 1984 – one suspects it was marked by a euphoric mood, in line with the (relative) novelty of the artistic medium, whose achievements were to be showcased in a temporarily repurposed space in Bonn’s old town. Yet the introductory text to the catalogue describes the festival more like the symptom of a crisis, or rather an attempt to react at this crisis:

‘However important and innovative the ‘artists’ video’, as a fledgling discipline of the fine arts, may be, it is fraught with a serious problem, particularly in this day and age. What was celebrated just a few years ago as a fresh and therefore particularly apt form of artistic message communication has meanwhile been marginalised.’1

It was argued that the medium’s attempts, in the early days of its development, to demarcate itself from TV and commercial productions had obscured the view on an ‘analytical engagement with the given’.2 The first Videonale was therefore also conceived as an invitation for critical self-assessment to all those who operated artistically, curatorially or scientifically in the field. The form of the presentation was simultaneously the method. The exhibition consisted not of video installations or performances, but of screenings. The video works were pure ‘software’. It was hoped that this kind of equal treatment would ‘raise awareness of the medium’s art-specific characteristics’.3 Video was to publicly demonstrate its worth as ‘artistic message’. It seems to me that this explicit awareness of the need to clarify one’s own means and intentions, to come to an understanding about the contexts in which one operates and to find the appropriate spatial translations for these clarification processes is central not only to working with the shape-shifting medium of video, but also to the Videonale festival format.

After subsequent editions of the Videonale had experimented with selected installation-based video presentations, which were shown next to the screenings in order to ‘give the audience an insight into more expanded uses of contemporary video art’,4 Søren Grammel, the artistic director of the VIDEONALE.9, now at the Bonner Kunstverein, decided it was time to bid farewell to ‘the rigidly centralized and determined diachronicity of the screening’:5

‘there will be no screenings and lavish installations this year. instead, a space and presentation structure has been developed in which the works will be shown continuously and simultaneously throughout the day either on monitors or as projections. […] the viewing situations are minimal in design – neutral ‘shells’…’6

For this, an architecture made of adjoining textile cubes was developed, which aimed to counteract the hierarchisation of screenings and installations while at the same time leaving visitors ‘decide on the amount of time they wish to view the pieces, and the order in which to do it’.7 These considerations, which not only tried to do justice to the peculiar spatial and temporal expanse of video as an artistic medium but also acknowledged the role of a festival as a temporary, quasi-museum-like presentation context, anticipated the questions that accompanied the Videonale’s move to the premises of the Kunstmuseum Bonn in 2005. There began, under the direction of Georg Elben, a systematic examination and testing of changing technical and architectural environments for video in the exhibition space that continues to this day, albeit with a stronger curatorial impetus.

»In the meantime, video art has not only become mainstream-compatible, but also largely museumised.«

In the meantime, video art has not only become mainstream-compatible, but also largely museumised. The original tension between the fleetingness of ‘time-based arts’ and the white cube as a timeless, object-centred institution has largely disappeared, as have the boundaries between ‘film’ and ‘art’, which by force of habit and for ideological reasons are still occasionally upheld, although they play a marginal role at best in artistic and curatorial practice. And certainly since cinemas, festivals and art spaces have been compelled to present their programmes in similar streaming environments, as has been the case in the last couple of years, this distinction has been expanded to include further shades of grey. The Videonale relates to the museum like a distinct habitat. After the start of the festival, it exists as an exhibition within the exhibition. The art on display no longer disrupts the quietness and timelessness of the white cube, nor does the generic screening room compete with an architecture that emphatically understands itself as an original, but rather a different space-time temporarily moves into the museum, scenographically marked out as a guest performance with its own stage design.

These developments mean that the role of exhibition architecture is changing too. It is no longer just a neutral ‘shell’ but aims to be a statement in its own right, overwriting the space of the museum with its own sculptural postulates. Tasja Langenbach describes the architecture of the last, hybrid Videonale, for instance, as a reference system ‘with lines that make recourse to the Corona distancing requirements, thus providing orientation while simultaneously breaking up the space of the museum and offering new perspectives.’8 What might at first be seen as a slightly explicit analogy to the social vertigo we are now well familiar with simultaneously points to an unspoken question, namely, how and where video and other time-based arts will be experienced now and in the future, and what form of sociality can emerge from this experience.

It is not devoid of irony that the Videonale, through its online streaming portal set up in 2021, should have revived certain postulates of the historical first festival edition: a presentation of pure ‘software’ in a setting that was as ‘neutral’ as possible. Unlike in 1984, however, the organisers’ considerations did not solely revolve around successful ‘art message’, but also, to a large extent, around its recipients, whom they tried to involve – albeit virtually – as much as possible. In a way, the Covid-induced hybrid version of the festival was reminiscent of the latency phase that comes with the biannual rhythm of the Videonale, in which it literally has to prove its presence in absentia. More positively, it triggers a productive restlessness that gives rise to formats such as the Video evenings in the living room or the film programmes as part of VIDEONALE.scope. In these events too, earlier stages of the festival’s history seem to live on, such as, for instance, the intensive examination of the relationship between video art and television, or screening as the standard format of the first festival editions. Otherwise, the festival’s own history was rarely in the foreground,9 perhaps also sets out to stake a historical claim; rather, the festival reformulates its conceptual and formal reference points with each new edition, in dialogue with an artistic practice that is changing together with the social, technological and spatial contexts to which it refers.

While historically the Videonale began with the sense of a new departure that simultaneously marked a crisis, today, echoing the festival landscape as a whole, it is again faced with the question of the physical and medial positioning of both itself and its audience. Can and must a festival for time-based arts – still or especially now – be ‘different’ from the museum in which it temporarily emerges and disappears every two years, framed by its permanent collection? And (how) can this otherness be made to be productive? If we look for points of friction between media art and its spaces, we encounter them in those instances where the changes of the last two years have shifted expectations as regards the availability of art, or its premises and audiences. Where ‘reach’, ‘visibility’ and the promises of a deterritorialised festival experience ‘for all’ have obscured the fact that, to quote Cauleen Smith’s Covid Manifesto #5, the internet is a tool, not a habitat.10 They can also be found where the commodifying pull of the art world comes to bear on the works, yet largely excludes the artists from their financial exploitation, or grants them a symbolic share at best. And where festivals restrict public access due to premiering constraints and create an exclusivity from which they themselves benefit most.

»Another answer could be to use these encounters to communicate more intensively about the economic conditions of artistic and curatorial work and to develop more sustainable models of cooperation than those that have dominated the agenda up to now […]«

A possible reaction to these issues could be an emphatic commitment to time-based arts as also, significantly, space-related arts. And to the importance of festivals as places of physical and intellectual encounter – places that allow for a unique mobility and concentration of experience and are therefore essential for the exchange and survival of geographically widely ramified artistic scenes. Another answer could be to use these encounters to communicate more intensively about the economic conditions of artistic and curatorial work and to develop more sustainable models of cooperation than those that have dominated the agenda up to now (and which even a ‘Fair Festival Award’ will not change). Smaller (and therefore more flexible?) festivals in particular have already become active in this field. In the medium term, this also implies contributing to shape a support system for in-between arts – between film and fine arts, work and process, local structure and global networking – which acts in the interest of artists, independently of quasi-courtly commissioning structures and without regard to academic and bureaucratic demarcation needs. In this sense, the ‘analytical engagement with the given’ should be followed by actions that reach beyond the boundaries of festival periods and venues.

Katrin Mundt is a curator, author and since 2018 co-director of the European Media Art Festival (EMAF) in Osnabrück. She curated film programmes and exhibitions for the Videonale, Bonn, WKV Stuttgart, HMKV Dortmund, Museum Wiesbaden, Matadero, Madrid, Center for Contemporary Art Celje and CZKD, Belgrade, among others. She was a commission member of the Duisburg Film Week, the Short Film Festival Oberhausen and the Kassel Dokfest. Seminars, workshops and lectures at the Ruhr-Uni Bochum, the University of Düsseldorf, Goldsmiths, London, the KHM Cologne, the Kunsthochschule Braunschweig and the Merz Akademie, Stuttgart, among others. She writes regularly on film and media art, especially their points of contact with documentary and performative practices.

1 Georg F. Schwarzbauer, ‘Video als künstlerisches Medium. Versuch einer determinierenden Standortbestimmung seiner Produzenten’, in videonale 84 (Bonn: Videonale e.V., 1984), p. 8.
2 Schwarzbauer, p. 10.
3 Dieter Daniels / Bärbel Moser / Petra Unnützer: ‘Foreword’, ibid., p. 7.
4 Petra Unnützer, ‘Foreword’, in 4. Videonale in Bonn, (Bonn: Videonale e.V., 1990), p. 9.
5 Søren Grammel, ‘VIDEONALE.9’, in videonale9 (Bonn: Videonale e.V., 2001), p. 5.
6 Grammel, p. 5.
7 Ibid.
8 Tasja Langenbach, ‘Fluid States, Solid Matter’, in VIDEONALE.18. Fluid States, Solid Matter #1: Meta Facts (Bonn: VIDEONALE e.V., 2021), n.p.
9 Admittedly, the Videonale archive was researched and presented to the public in the framework of Videoarchive erzählen. Sammlungen stellen sich vor, but this was in the context of an exploration of different collection histories and their regional cross-connections. See [31.05.2022].
10 Cauleen Smith, ‘Covid Manifesto’, Millenium Film Journal, no. 71/72 (Spring/Fall 2020), p. 83.


Ausstellungsansicht „Afro-Tech
Ausstellungsansicht „Afro-Tech

Daniel G. Andújar, Wilhelm/Manfred Beutel’s Photo Collection, 1998



Approaches (around Dortmunder U)
by Daniel García Andújar, 2021

Our activities are shaped and conditioned by how we relate to our environment, but that very relationship changes through time and in function of our cultural interpretations. Like any other cultural process, art is essentially a process of transmission, of transfer, of continuous, ongoing and necessary dialogue, and is not detached from the useful or from symbolic meaning. Throughout history, our toolbox, workshop or studio has constantly incorporated new tools, techniques, languages and pieces of equipment, and yet these all seek to respond to recurring issues. A unique stance of seeking artistic autonomy in the context of production where the work seeks a space to resist the world of control, in a clear indication of the artist’s concept of reality.

Trying to understand and examine the machinery that controls and produces the processes by which our environment is perceived, trying to grasp our reality – this is and always has been a key starting point for my work as an artist. I first came to Dortmund in October 1996, spending six months in the city on a European residency programme for artists at a time when I sensed that multiple pathways and modes of analysis were opening up for artistic experimentation. At that time my work was project-oriented, and I did not restrict myself to a particular format. I refused to subject myself to tight deadlines or limit myself to exclusively artistic contexts, preferring to use different media and resources: interactive installations and media; videos and photographs; posters and flyers; postcards and stickers; institutions and public space; new and old artist’s tools. The subject matter of my artistic practice at that time concerned the social and media environment, approached through projects on xenophobia and chronic racism, as well as the self-serving engagement between economic power and the culture of pomp and circumstance, the trampling of civil liberties in the name of law and technological order (We are watching – Wir beobachten!), and memory and the urban subconscious (in the work carried out during my artistic residence at Künstlerhaus Dortmund, 1996-97). These projects often branched out into new installations, overlapping with caustic tirades against the creed of technology.

»The old heavy industry of the city and the entire Ruhr Area, the former industrial heart of Germany, had been largely dismantled, and the economy was beginning a process of structural change, focusing primarily on technology and the services sector. The industrial revolution was giving way to the information revolution.«

I spent those first six months researching and working on projects in and for public places, which I gave the collective title We are watching (Wir beobachten). The old heavy industry of the city and the entire Ruhr Area, the former industrial heart of Germany, had been largely dismantled, and the economy was beginning a process of structural change, focusing primarily on technology and the services sector. The industrial revolution was giving way to the information revolution. The Dortmund Project would be a groundbreaking project in Germany and Europe in the area of supramunicipal strategic planning. The city was undergoing some of the greatest structural changes in Europe, shifting from heavy industry almost exclusively to science and services.

Dortmund, the beating heart of German social democracy, was synonymous with coal mines, iron and steel companies and proud workers. It was an agglomeration of industries devoted predominantly to mining and its associated activities, along with housing for the very large workforce. Its growth had been chaotic, so when the industrial crisis occurred, it featured all the problems typical of such areas, with a lack of facilities, precarious structures, unemployment and social unrest. Heavy industry had caused environmental degradation throughout the region, and prolonged exposure to coal dust and sulphuric gas had impaired the health and very life of its workers. The region also bore the stigma of two World Wars, and had been punished for supplying Germany with arms.

»The city, the region, the country, Europe, and the whole world were caught up in a process of drastic change.«

The city, the region, the country, Europe, and the whole world were caught up in a process of drastic change. 1996 was the year that saw the birth of Dolly the sheep, the first cloned animal. In Switzerland, scientists at CERN announced that they had obtained nine hydrogen anti-atoms, the first step on the way to creating antimatter. The term “new economy” was used publicly for the first time in BusinessWeek magazine, in a report by Michael J. Mandel entitled “The Triumph of the New Economy”. The Internet was beginning to pick up serious momentum, although at that time it contained only 100,000 websites, compared to 1,218,423,991 in 2021 (it reached 1,800,047,111 in 2017). The technology bubble was boiling. IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer beat Russia’s Garry Kasparov at chess for the first time. Of course, Google did not yet exist; WebCrawler, launched in 1994, was the first search engine to provide full-text searches. Yahoo, which changed its name from “Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” in 1994, was en route to becoming one of the main web portals. People had just begun to change their screen resolution from 640×480 to 800×600. Netscape Navigator was the leading browser by a wide margin (originally as Mosaic Communications Corporation and subsequently as Firefox/Mozilla). Indian computer scientist Sabeer Bhatia launched, the first free e-mail service. The new information and communication technologies such as the Internet had been adopted only slowly and cautiously in the domestic setting, but they were there to stay. Most people used dial-up Internet connections with impressive speeds ranging from 28.8 Kbps to 33.6 Kbps. Very modern 56 Kbps modems would appear in 1997. I must admit to installing the first modem in Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ’s studio in Künstlerhaus Dortmund in 1996, infecting them with an Internet access virus just as HMKV Hartware MedienKunstVerein was starting.

»The fact is, we were facing into a new utopia of freedom and global access to information and knowledge that was to vanish before our eyes. That idea of liberating technology and the Internet as a more democratic space, lauded and worshipped in a kind of pseudologia fantastica, was no more than an optimistic vision of a dream that soon turned out to be unattainable.«

The fact is, we were facing into a new utopia of freedom and global access to information and knowledge that was to vanish before our eyes. That idea of liberating technology and the Internet as a more democratic space, lauded and worshipped in a kind of pseudologia fantastica, was no more than an optimistic vision of a dream that soon turned out to be unattainable. We are probably not yet far enough removed from that time to have an objective perspective on some of the changes that were happening, but it is quite clear that some of the utopian ideals have been abandoned for good. It is also true, though, that the changes of that time have brought us to this point, some of them beginning at the start of the Nineties, and the artistic practice derived from the project Technologies To The People™ was established in the context of those changes: the web as a public space, the process of digitisation, the effects of globalisation, the electronic panopticon, free software, various processes of structural change that were somehow changing how we think, consume, produce, socialise, do business, etc. Technical and cognitive changes that entailed the emergence of new professions, the acquisition of new knowledge by artists and creators, and the need to roll out new ways of organising creative work and cultural output.

Cue “Technologies To The People™, aimed at people in the so-called Third World and at the homeless, orphans, the unemployed, fugitives, immigrants, alcoholics, drug addicts, those with mental disorders or impairments, and all other categories of ‘undesirables’. Technologies To The People™ was created for those who are denied access to the new information society and the new technologies. Technologies To The People™ wants more people connected.” For a long time, Technologies To The People™ served as a kind of stage, a mask to portray ambiguous situations and hidden truths, but also as a way of reclaiming and liberating spaces for action.

In 1998, I was invited by Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ of HMKV Hartware MedienKunstVerein to create a project in the Dortmunder U, a building I knew well. I had walked through it almost every day for six months, and I had studied it obsessively. An iconic building by Ernst Neufert and Emil Moog, it was a true landmark in the region, a symbol of many developments. The home of Dortmund Union Brewery, Germany’s largest beer factory. The Centre for Art and Creativity (Zentrum für Kunst und Kreativität), a symbol of the regeneration of the city and how the people of the Ruhr Area used its industrial ruins to lay more sustainable foundations through art and culture, after forsaking the capitalism of coal and steel. But above all, a building of resistance that remained standing after the devastating bombing of Dortmund on 12 March 1945, when 1,108 airplanes launched an attack that marked a record against a single target in the whole Second World War. More than 4,800 tonnes of bombs were dropped on the centre and south of the city, destroying 98% of city-centre buildings.

»It spoke of reconstruction, of overcoming and reinventing, and of rising from the ashes like the phoenix of legend. The ashes of war, of the industrial and mining past, of capitalism…«

These last details were to be my focus for the ambitious and prophetic project Reservate der Sehnsucht (Zones of Desire). I began work on the project in 1996, using little stories to delve into the memories of the city and its citizens. It spoke of reconstruction, of overcoming and reinventing, and of rising from the ashes like the phoenix of legend. The ashes of war, of the industrial and mining past, of capitalism…Wilhelm and Manfred Beutel’s Photo Collection (1998) was intended to put those memories to the test, to generate a context of oblivion among those visiting the building for the first time; this building that Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ had transformed into a wonderful seed of hope and optimism through the work of a handful of artists.

Many came for the first time, curiously crossing the gaping wounds of a building in ruins, its enormous holes leading them through an unprecedented cultural and artistic experience. My objective was to create a space of resistance, a frontier against convention and a test of their memory. Using a series of manipulated images, I created a fictitious yet conventional collection of photographs on the history of the building itself. I manipulated each one of the images, locating the building in quite impossible perspectives and points of view. And then I misled them once more with a sophisticated multimedia animation that explained how we were able to locate the precise geographic location from which the original photographs were taken, thereby evoking a kind of historical visualisation of the city. A city that had been completely rebuilt after the war, which we are therefore unable to recognise or walk around in its subsequent physical form.

A discerning read of the catalogue text provides the keys to the deception:

“(…)The chance to show a selection of images from Wilhelm and Manfred Beutel’s photo collection in the Union Brewery building is another example of the important task taken on by the Technologies To The People™ Foundation, in presenting salient aspects of our present-day reality.

Our Technologies To The People™ Foundation has invested substantial efforts in this task, under the guidance of exceptional experts and artists whose advice and support is deeply appreciated. One essential feature of Technologies To The People™ is its commitment to economic, technological, social and cultural development, and this commitment requires new perspectives in all fields and from all angles. Until recently, few people were aware of the existence of Wilhelm and Manfred Beutel’s photo collection. It was Spanish artist Daniel García Andújar who made the interesting find during his research into the history and architecture of the city of Dortmund. Andújar conducted interesting investigations based on his analysis of the photographic records. Technologies To The People™ immediately and enthusiastically backed the project with great commitment. Daniel García Andújar needed the sophisticated tools and techniques of Technologies To The People™ to pinpoint the exact locations from which Wilhelm and Manfred Beutel took their photographs, with a view to evoking a historical vision of the city.

In this process, Andújar used our GIS technology to locate places in Dortmund based on his analysis of the photographic records of the Wilhelm and Manfred Beutel collection. GIS has long been used as an effective tool for the management and analysis of spatial data in relation to environmental modelling, with its ability to integrate, store, process and generate geographical information. Advanced data management tools like these will improve the performance of environmental models and enhance the associated decision-making processes. There are two types of data related to geographical features: firstly, spatial data, which is information on the location and form of the features; and secondly, attributive data, which describes the features; and all of these can be stored in any vector. Vector data represents geographical features as points, lines and polygons, stored as a series of x, y and z coordinates. Satellite images are collected by sensors on satellites such as LandSat and SPOT as they orbit the earth, and survey data is used for 3D analysis.

Finally, we want to express our admiration for the work of Wilhelm and Manfred Beutel, along with our desire that it be duly recognised beyond the confines of amateur photography groups as an extension of the photo-reportage genre.”2

Some of the reflections, work techniques and languages I used for the project in Dortmunder U have since served me in developing and experimenting with different approaches and ways of working that I still use in my artistic practice today.

Questioning what one thinks one knows is an effective tool by which we artists can trigger mechanisms to help us interpret and interrogate our reality. Like dreaming from the ruins of a possible landscape and projecting past images and memories that form part of our collective imagination, informing the present of what we are keeping for the future.

Download the original Spanish version of the essay as a PDF here.

Daniel García Andújar is a visual artist, theoretician and activist. Through interventions in public space and a critical use of digital media and the communication strategies of the corporations connected to it, his theoretical and artistic work oscillates between territories that are real (the city) and virtual (the Net). He has taught and directed workshops and seminars for artists and social collectives in numerous countries. His works have been shown in exhibitions worldwide including Manifesta 4, 53rd Venice Biennale and documenta14. The Spanish National Museum Reina Sofia in Madrid hosted a comprehensive one-man show in 2015, curated by Manuel Borja-Villel.
More info about Daniel García Andújar

Translated from Spanish by Sarah Jane Aberásturi

1 Technologies To The People™-Flyer for the exhibition un-frieden. sabotage von wirklichkeiten in Kunsthaus Hamburg, Kunstverein Hamburg, 1996

2 Catalogue of the exihibition Zones of Desire in Dortmunder U (Ehemalige Unionsbrauerei) Volume 1, Ed. Kulturbüro Stadt Dortmund in cooperation with hARTware projekte e.V. and Kultur Ruhr GmbH, 1998, p. 37 (quote linguistically revised, 2021)


Vimeo Video



Just want you to be (2021) by Ale Bachlechner
HD Video, 15:52 min, colour, sound
Director, camera, editor: Ale Bachlechner
Music: Julian Prießen
Sound: Jonathan Kastl
Artistic assistant: Olivia Platzer

In the web series Revisited, actors in media art and digital culture from NRW embark on an artistic research. Each episode focuses on an event or development from the history of the media arts in the region. Changing topics are examined from several, contemporary perspectives. In this way, past experiences and knowledge are made accessible again and communicated in a new way. The research results stand for themselves and complement each other at the same time. Each multi-part episode featuring audio pieces, short films and essays invites you to enter a moment of media art.

The first episode focuses on the exhibition Reservate der Sehnsucht by HMKV Hartware MedienKunstVerein, which took place in 1998 in Dortmund. Not only did the exhibition, which presented 30 international artistic positions in the impressive half-demolished ruin of a former brewery Union-Brauerei (now Dortmunder U), anchor the media arts even more firmly in the Ruhr area. It can moreover be considered as groundbreaking in the field of restructuring and new ultilisation of old industrial sites in the region.

The Webseries Revisited now enters its second round. In her filmic exploration for Revisited: Reservate der Sehnsucht, artist Ale Bachlechner examines different associative fields that came to light during her research on the exhibition through the catalogue and interviews. She traces connections such as ‘fear-security-disaster’ or ‘leisure-pleasure-consumption’ and gives them new layers with the help of her own private film material.

In her artist statement, she explains her approach as follows: “These keywords are still relevant and very affective in 2021. At the same time, I noticed that autobiographical or autofictional approaches were rather rare in the exhibition. Only a few works focused on the artists themselves, attention was directed more outwards. For ‘Just want you to be‘ this led me to use private film material from my mobile phone for the first time. In this idiosyncratic archive of my last three years, I found a surprising number of parallels to Reservate der Sehnsucht, visually and in terms of content.”

Ale Bachlechner is a performance and video artist living in Cologne. She studied Comparative Literature in Innsbruck and at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne. Her work includes the temporary dating agency “Twelve Roses” (2013) in Beirut, the performance coaching institute “This Is Not A Competition” (2016) and the online television format “Studio Hallo” (2018). Since 2018 she is a member of the Young College of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Her work is in the archive and programme of the IMAI Foundation and has been presented at festivals, symposia and exhibitions e.g.: Art Cologne, Videonale, Impulse, EMAF Osnabrück, Kassel Dokfest and International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.

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