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Raumlaborberlin is a German artists’ collective which began its activities in 1999. The core of the group consists of Markus Bader, Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius, Andrea Hofmann, Jan Liesegang, Matthias Rick, Francesco Apuzzo and Axel Timm. They work on an ongoing basis with Filia, created by Christof Mayer and Martin Heberle. The artists of the collective engage in the broadly understood questions of architecture and urban planning. Raumlaborberlin is not, however an architectural firm, or a traditional company. Through the use of numerous interdisciplinary group projects, the group subversively and critically examines strategies of revitalisation of urban spaces, carried out unique urban design and architectural projects, creates environment-installations, and conducts happenings and research of a theoretical and laboratory nature. The collective members hold lectures and workshops in various parts of the world, working together with other artists’ groups with similar interests. They also produce publications, of which one of the most interesting, published in 2008, is a position paper summarising their work, entitled Acting in Public. Of the most significant projects carried out and exhibitions held by Raumlaborberlin, examples include SYNTROPIA at Berlin’s Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (2007), Periferic 8 - Art as Gift / Arta ca dar at the Periferic Biennale in Romania’s Iaşi (2008), We are coming! at the independent organization for architects and designers, 0047, in Oslo (2008), and most recently, in 2009 Insiders - pratiques, usages, savoir-faire w Musée d'art contemporain in Bordeaux.

The Lem Monument is a project of master students of scenography and communication at the University of applied sciences and art Dortmund& raumlaborberlin.

Team: Francesco Apuzzo, Axel Timm with Stephanie Fähnrich, Alicja Jelen, Olga Kröhmer, Sophia Pollmüller, Anna Winkler (group triumph) and Jing Liang, Max Daerr

LEM Monument

„We don´t need other worlds. We need mirrors.“

On our research in Cracow City in April 2010 we got more and more interested in the frictions of the different identities in historical layers as well as the Cracowian identity of today and in the near and far future rather than in the postcard city and the beautiful historic heritage. Some of the past heroes of the city – King Kazimierz III, Copernicus, Stanislaw Lem, just to name a few – put a great effort in developing scenarios of the future of the city and the world. Lem fascinated us the most, on the one hand because almost everyone of us has read and loved his books when we were teenagers, on the other hand because his stunning ability to reflect on the present world by sketching scenarios of other (future) worlds. Thus, the quote from Solaris, “We don´t need other worlds. We need mirrors” became the inspiration for us to develop and design an urban installation for the Art Boom Festival 2010 in Cracow.

The installation “LEM Monument” was designed by the transformation of collected material found spatially, visually and phenomenologically during our research in the city. As primary building material the doors of panel flats from the socialist era which had to yield to wrecking balls had been salvaged and re-appropriated for use. The doors were fragments of the utopian vision of the post-war modernist city. They told the story of the shrinking of this city and the deconstruction of these types of buildings. On one hand the doors represented the waste and failure of the 20th Century’s ideological struggles on the other hand they showed traces of the inhabitants and evoked their individual fate in the course of political and social change. The installation acted in different ways within the urban space of Cracow. In the first place it acted as a temporary landmark, as a publicly accessible monument for the great author Stanislaw Lem (who died in 2006). It was situated in front of the Wawel Castle and at the beginning of Grodzka Street which is the main entrance to the ancient city leading to the center market square. With its position in the urban space and its abstract body that appeared as a compact volume, it reflected the relation of historical layers to contemporary society. Three different volumes with different spatial qualities were combined into one object by spatial negotiation, a play between the inside and the outside, between concealing and revealing, access and exclusion. The entrances invited the citizens of Cracow to explore and approach the monument for the sake of reflection, meditation, discussion and gatherings.

Project curator: Marta Raczek

11/06/2010 - 27/06/2010

LEM Monument