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Radio Solaris / -273,15℃=0 Kelvin

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

"Cities and architectures" as media –
Shaping new realities from the brink between recording and reproduction

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani have been focusing on traces of social occurrences that are lying invisibly in today's societies and systems, and continue to reveal their historical meanings by various approaches. In this exhibition, they introduced a new installation exploring possibilities in "cities and architectures" as media that evoke people's memories, along with several previously shown video and other works.
What kind of role are media – technology for reproducing real occurrences – playing for humans and society? And what are humans aiming to reproduce by such media? Through this new work that superbly unfolds from the contrasting motifs of Tarkovsky's movie "Solaris" and a building of a former East German radio station in Berlin, the artists raise a series of questions that penetrate post-20th century history.
Date
October 1 - November 27, 2005
Place
Studio B
Special Site
http://radiosolaris.ycam.jp/
Poster & Flyer

Works

Radio Solaris / -273,15℃=0 Kelvin (Commissioned by YCAM / World Premiere)

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

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Radio Solaris / -273,15℃=0 Kelvin (Commissioned by YCAM / World Premiere)

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

This installation is based on the video piece "-273,15℃=0 Kelvin", juxtaposing images of Andrei Tarkovsky's movie "Solaris" and a building used by a former East German radio station.
Footage of the radio station's interior as used in "-273,15℃=0 Kelvin", images inspired by a scene from "Solaris", and additional material produced for this work, are projected onto ten large-sized screens lined up in a spiral-shaped layout in the exhibition space. Overpowered by exquisitely dazzling images mixing reality and recollection, past and present, fiction and non-fiction, capitalist and socialist reality, visitors discover the odd common ground both radio station and Solaris share as "environments in which something seems to be conserved in a frozen state", and witness what people are trying to replicate/complement in such environments.

-273,15℃=0 Kelvin
Filmed inside a building in which the former East German radio station "Rundfunk der DDR" was once based, this work highlights the building's peculiar sense of presence through long takes. Overlapping with footage of the building are images inspired by a scene from the movie "Solaris", and pictures reminiscent of Gerhard Richter's painting "18. Oktober 1977".
The title refers to the absolute zero temperature (-273.15℃) that is unattainable for human beings, and psychologist Kelvin, the protagonist in "Solaris", who is troubled by the power of the sea of Solaris to reproduce all kinds of appearances.

Rundfunk der DDR
State-run radio station established in 1956 under the former East German administration in Berlin's Nalepastrasse. The building (DDR Rundfunkzentrum) was designed by former Bauhaus student, architect Franz Ehrich. The institution, constructed using various cutting-edge technologies of the time, boasts excellent acoustic settings that haven't lost their validity even today, including a recording hall that has been suspended in mid-air solely for the purpose of noise reduction.
The spiral arrangement of screens in this work is derived from the characteristic shape of the radio station's recording studio.

Scenes added for this work
A sequence from "Solaris" showing a future city kind of scenery, and a video reproduction of that scene, have been added to this work as elemental components. The former is a sequence of about five minutes length shot in Tokyo during Tarkovsky's visit to Japan in summer 1972, combining images filmed while driving on the Metropolitan Expressway, and images looking down on the Tokyo cityscape. Fischer & el Sani analyzed these pictures carefully, and found out not only the highway route, but also identified the place overseeing the city as a room at Akasaka Prince Hotel, which enabled them to produce an almost exact video replica of the "Solaris" scene.
By placing these two types of imagery side by side, in this work the artists pungently counterpoint aspects of fiction and reality, past and present, to expose the differences between both.

Palast der Republik Berlin (Japan Premiere)

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

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Palast der Republik Berlin (Japan Premiere)

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

This installation consists of two types of images showing the "Palast der Republik", one of the most well-known architectural constructions representing the former GDR.
Two types of video images are projected next to each other onto the wall. One shows the palace's dismantled and virtually deserted interior, scanning slowly across the part that used to be the parliament. The other consists of video footage of central Berlin shot from the palace's window. The simultaneous projection of these two types of images highlights the way only this building seems to be "frozen in time" while everything else in Germany has been subject to rapid changes since reunification.

Palast der Republik
Former multi-purpose facility on Berlin's "Unter den Linden" avenue, erected in 1976 on the site of the Berlin Stadtschloss (royal palace) that was damaged in World War II. Its halls were used by the Volkskammer (GDR parliament), and for concerts and TV program recordings. Further accommodated bowling and other amusement facilities, as well as restaurants and bars, the complex was a popular recreation spot for the citizens of Berlin.
However, shortly before the fall of the Berlin wall in 1990, it was decided to close the facility due to the toxic properties of asbestos contained in the palace's interior fittings. Clearance operations continued until 2003, after which the building had remained in a state ready for demolition.
Regardless of a dispute between those who suggested it should be preserved as symbol of the GDR, and others who advocated demolition and reconstruction of the Stadtschloss, after being used as an event space for two years, the palace was finally torn down in 2006. At present (2012), preparations for reconstructing the Stadtschloss are underway.

Panorama Berlin - TV Tower of the Alexander Platz (Japan Premiere)

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

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Panorama Berlin - TV Tower of the Alexander Platz (Japan Premiere)

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

This video installation contains images showing the restaurant at the observation platform of the "Berlin TV Tower", one of the most well-known architectural constructions representing the former GDR.
As the entire topmost level of the Berlin TV tower rotates slowly in horizontal direction, guests at the restaurant situated on this level can enjoy their meals with a 360°aerial view of Berlin. Since opening, the restaurant has been making one revolution every hour, but after reunification and refurbishment, the speed was increased to one revolution in 30 minutes. It is said that this decision was forced by the pressure of business efficiency as an effect of the introduction of capitalist economy.
For this work, citizens and tourists at the windows were filmed from inside the restaurant for 30 minutes - just as long as it takes to make one revolution. By playing the footage back at half speed and thereby stretching the running time to one hour, the original revolution speed of the GDR era has been restored. The slowed-down movements of people in the video highlight the increased speed of society itself in the eastern part of Germany today, and thus evokes somewhat nostalgic feelings toward the former GDR.

Berlin TV Tower
TV tower on Berlin's Alexanderplatz. The current height is 368 meters.
Since its completion in 1969 for the 20th anniversary of the founding of the former GDR, the tower has been broadcasting TV programs to households across Berlin, and even after reunification, it has remained a popular and familiar Berlin landmark up to this day. After the completion of this work, the rotation speed of the restaurant level was further increased to the current speed of one revolution every 20 minutes.

TOKYO STAR

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

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TOKYO STAR

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

This video documentary portrays six teenagers, including Mika Nakashima prior to her debut as a professional singer, during their training at a dance school in pursuit of their dreams of becoming "pop stars" and "idols".

A film works collection of Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

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A film works collection of Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

Put together for this particular event, the program features a selection of 14 previous video works by Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani.

  • Tokio [sur] face -10 seconds thinking about the future
  • Berlin [sunrise] -10 seconds thinking about the future
  • The Artists [Berlin/Leipzig] -10 seconds thinking about the future
  • Paris [oui/non] -10 seconds thinking about the future
  • millenniumania
  • All roads lead to Rome -A line made by driving
  • Be supernatural
  • Familyland
  • Klub 2000 -Rome, Paris, Marzahn
  • See you tomorrow
  • Straßenkinder
  • Fork Unstable Media
  • On Location with Michael Ballhaus
  • 17.Juni 1953

Profiles

Credit

Organized by:

  • Yamaguchi City Foundation for Cultural Promotion

In association with:

  • Goethe-Institut Osaka
  • Yamaguchi City
  • Yamaguchi City Board of Education

Grants from:

  • The Nomura Cultural Foundation

Courtesy of:

  • Galerie EIGEN + ART Leipzig / Berlin

Technical support:

  • YCAM InterLab

Produced by:

  • Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]
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