Alberto Accettura / Mailand & Florian Lüdde / Berlin
The most obvious feature of Berlins Gropiusstadt is the height of its buildings – a group of 25-storey-buildings cropping out unexpectedly from the flat rural outskirts at the southern boarders of the city. This feature – its height – influences the identity not only of the neighborhood, but also, as we witnessed, of its inhabitants. In our photographic research we explored this analogy between the verticality of the buildings and the desire of verticality by those living in Gropiusstadt. This theme has, in addition, molded our own approach to the territory: an exploration under the sign of verticality.
Our first series of photographs capture the peculiar bond between two men from Gropiusstadt and the surrounding territory. Their sense of entitlement towards land and sky is exemplified in their playing with their model planes. They appear to reproduce the height embodied in the architecture of Gropiusstadt with the vertical trajectories drawn by their planes. In this way – through play – they seem to extend their presence into the wider space around them and to gain a feeling of solitary conquest.
We embarked in a similar conquest. Our second series shows our own playful attempt to gain height by launching a camera fixed to a helium-filled balloon up in the air. Similar to the model planes, our balloon was a technical device, but at the same time a toy, which extended our gaze to the same heights warranted by the buildings in Gropiusstadt. The images shot by the camera portrait us as continuously getting smaller until we remain only a point of reference.
Both series of images echo the utopian theme of reaching great heights. The architecture of Gropiusstadt, which embodies this theme, remains the background and benchmark for the series. The recreation of this benchmark is bounded to be an odd attempt of play and technical ability.