Kiki Athanassiadis /Vancouver
The Pilotprojekt Gropiusstadt apartment is a surprise. I feel cocooned by the domesticity and comfort of the suburban high-rise apartment, unexpectedly charmed by the rooms: the living room with its comfy sofa, the neat little blue-tiled kitchen and the view, which takes in the model community and the fields beyond. At the same time I am bolstered by the companionable presence of a roommate (a first for the Pilotprojekt – see Martin Brand). Against my best intentions I am reluctant to leave the apartment, reluctant to venture into the community where I have planned to undertake the “art-in-public-space” component of my 3-month trip to Berlin.
In the evening, sitting on the 12th-storey balcony it is easy and in fact, unavoidable, to look out onto the hundred or so tiny, colourful, lit boxes that are the apartments of my neighbors. The entire inner courtyard façade of this semicircular building is made up of balconies fronting glass-walled living rooms. When lit, the activity inside makes each tiny ‘stage’ flicker like a three-dimensional projection.
The shape of the building reminds me of an amphitheatre.
While in Berlin,
I had discovered the intimate, garden-living-room feeling of Kreuzberg’s
Freiluftkino – the open-air cinema. That shared public, yet simultaneously
private experience, has suggested the idea of projecting something, possibly
an animation, on the large living room window, which will act as the screen
and be visible to most of the residents of our building. Since we can look onto
each other’s little ‘television sets’ and since, for some
reason, I cannot leave the apartment, I will communicate with my neighbors through
this shared medium of the balcony stage. My public intervention will take place
in a public space, but at arm’s length and from the comfort of our respective
With only a week to execute my plan, the project is simplified. I use three of the apartment’s picture windows as frames, like those of a comic strip and make drawings out of light tubes – a white cloud, a blue flying table, a yellow tilting chair – the unstable narrative of home and shelter. With more time I would use coordinated time-delay lighting schemes to create the sensation of several changing, moving images – the slowest animation in the world.