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Exhibition

Detonation Deutschland

Exhibition - Video Installation

Thu 28.06.2001 – Mon 03.09.2001
Daily 10:00 AM - 07:00 PM, Wednesdays until 09:00 PM
Exhibition poster

Exhibition poster: Detonation Deutschland
© Architekturzentrum Wien, graphic design: LIGA: graphic design

Opening: Wednesday, June 27, 2001, 7:00 P.M.
Opening hours: Daily 10:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M.

With the exhibition Detonation Deutschland, the Architekturzentrum Wien is presenting an unfamiliar and fascinating glimpse of German architecture history. Detonation Deutschland shows the demolition of buildings in Germany from 1945 to the present day in a collage of sound, video and film sequences. In an arrangement by the exhibition’s organisers, Julian Rosefeldt & Piero Steinle, grouped in chronological order and types of building, the installation provides an impressive insight into the inherent link between the rebuilding of Germany after the War and detonation, the link between construction and destruction, between emancipation and eradication.

“The detonations show themselves to be part of a historical process. Metaphorically, they stand for the transitory nature of systems, ideologies, power structures and their status symbols.”
This is the message that the designers of the display, Julian Rosefeldt & Piero Steinle, give us to ruminate on. And the Architekturzentrum Wien is permitted to make such a gentle allusive reference on the day of the opening of the MuseumsQuartier as an instance critical of architecture.

Along with the exhibition a catalogue in german language is available.

Opening:
Dietmar Steiner
Director Architekturzentrum Wien

The artists (Julian Rosefeldt & Piero Steinle) will be attending the opening.

Guided Tours:
Saturday, July 14, 2001, 3:00 P.M.
Saturday, August 04, 2001, 3:00 P.M.
Saturday, August 25, 2001, 3:00 P.M.
Special guided tours within the scope of our partner-program !

Information:
Ulrike Kahr-Haele
Phone: ++43 1 522 31 15 Ext. 23
E-Mail: press@azw.at

Sponsored by:
Stadtplanung Wien
Wien Kultur
Kunst Bundeskanzleramt
Arch+Ing, W, NÖ, B
Eternit
Zumtobel Staff

Press Release

Press Preview: Wednesday, 27th June 27, 2001, 11:00 A.M.
Opening: Wednesday, 27th June 27, 2001, 7:00 P.M.
Exhibition: June 28, 2001 – September 03, 2001
Opening hours: daily 10:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M.

Guided tours:
Saturday, July 14, 2001, 3:00 P.M.
Saturday, August 04, 2001, 3:00 P.M.
Saturday, August 25, 2001, 3:00 P.M.
Special guided tours within the scope of our partner-program !

Press / Information:
Ulrike Kahr-Haele
P ++43 1 522 31 15 Ext. 23
F ++43 1 522 31 17
E-Mail: press@azw.at

With the exhibition Detonation Deutschland, the Architekturzentrum Wien is presenting an unfamiliar and fascinating glimpse of German architecture history. Detonation Deutschland shows the demolition of buildings in Germany from 1945 to the present day in a collage of sound, video and film sequences. In an arrangement by the exhibition’s organisers, Julian Rosefeldt & Piero Steinle, grouped in chronological order and types of building, the installation provides an impressive insight into the inherent link between the rebuilding of Germany after the War and detonation, the link between construction and destruction, between emancipation and eradication.

“The detonations show themselves to be part of a historical process. Metaphorically, they stand for the transitory nature of systems, ideologies, power structures and their status symbols.” (Julian Rosefeldt & Piero Steinle)

The Background
The buildings presented (or detonated) range from those effected by the mood of embarking upon a new departure prevalent after the War in Germany, up until those from the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The video choreography by Rosefeldt and Steinle illustrates the instant death of architecture as an elementary collapse, as a last gesture before it becomes forgotten. The issues behind the German demolitions opens up an exciting view of the creation and conditions for the existence of architecture itself.

For Detonation Deutschland research was carried out into around a thousand German detonations. The first documented era of such demolitions begins directly after WW2, when the Allies removed the architectural insignia of the Nazis: The destruction of the over-sized swastika on the NÜrnberg Reichstag building, or the Munich Temple of Honour (Ehrentempel) become clear signals for the pending undertaking of de-Nazification. The ruins left by the war were removed with dynamite in the post-war period in order to create new homes and living space for the destitute population.

In East Germany the new rulers began to remove the architectural traces of Feudalism, such as the Stadtschloss in Berlin or the Universitätskirche in Leipzig, and to close the gaps that they had created in doing this with representative buildings and system-built mass housing. After 1948, as a consequence of the German currency reform and with the beginning of the so-called ’economic miracle’, areas of tight-knit infrastructure and entire historic quarters in the cities and towns fell victim to the large-scale planners and the new symbols of progress. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 there was yet another major spree of detonations and demolitions as the insignia of the former GDR, disintegrating mass high-rise housing estates, Lenin statues and representative buildings, were removed.

The signs pre-empting the different ’eras of demolition’ are varied, although the basic process proves to be the same each time: Anything in the way of emerging ideologies or plans for urban development must go. The means to the ends of an ambitious urban development or the ideological reorientation are valued more highly than the loss of generations’ old cultural settings.

The Presentation
The Detonations are shown projected onto 7 surfaces in an exhibition space, the Alte Halle of the Architekturzentrum Wien, which has been extended to channel the images around the visitors by means of the reflection of one of the end walls. The space is in darkness, the viewer’s attention should be entirely focused on the dramatic events unfolding on the screens.
As eye and ear-witnesses to the rapid-fire collage of film, photographs and video footage, with a precise build-up of tension generated by the overall composition, the visitors are able to experience a dense, concentrated and unconventional presentation of the final fate of all architecture.

Concept and Design
Julian Rosefeldt & Piero Steinle

Julian Rosefeldt
born 1965 in Munich
lives and works Muenich and Berlin
studied architecture in Munich and Barcelona
cooperates with Piero Steinle since1993

Piero Steinle
born 1959 in Munich
lives and works Munich and Berlin
studied architecture in Munich, Rome and Sevilla
cooperates with Julian Rosefeldt since1993

Venues

2001
Architekturzentrum Wien, Vienna

2000
– Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco in Multiple Sensations
– Galerie Six Friedrich/Lisa Ungar, Munich, inc. photographs from Detonation Deutschland
– Galerie Romain Lariviare, Paris, inc. photographs from Detonation Deutschland

1999
– Galerie für zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig, inc. photographs from Detonation Deutschland
– Henry Art Gallery, Seattle in Deep Storage (cat.)

1998
– Tate Gallery of Modern Art, London, in Performing Buildings
– PS1, New York in Deep Storage (cat.)
– Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf in Deep Storage (cat.)

1997
– Kulturforum (Nationalgalerie), Berlin in Deep Storage (cat.)
– Haus der Kunst, Munich in Deep Storage (cat.)

Catalogue

Exerpts from the catalogue (in german language only), that comes along with the video installation of Julian Rosefeldt & Piero Steinle

Authors:

Gottfried Knapp
Alban Nikolai Herbst
Jochen K^hler
Dieter Bartetzko
Dieter Hoffmann-Axthelm

In 1945 Germany lay in rubble and ashes. Skeletons, heaps of debris, landscapes of ruins were all that remained of the cities Hitler once wanted to “shine with new National Socialist brilliance”. The demolition of National Socialist status symbols by the allies, a deliberate denazification measure, was not only intended to mark the end of the NS reign of terror symbolically but also to herald a new chapter of German history, the emergence into an ordered democracy.

Germany rebuilds and… Germany demolishes: in order to provide the destitute population in the ruined cities with apartments, and the necessary infrastructure ruins were torn down in a great hurry and new buildings erected out of the rubble. At the same time efforts were made to suppress reminders of the war and to push the years under Hitler’s dictatorship back into the past in fast forward. The war ruins became a target for the hatred of the country’s past. The destroyed or damaged buildings were a reminder for the German populace of the afflictions of the war years. As a result buildings were demolished which had survived the war unscathed or only slightly damaged.

A new appearance was required. Although much was cleared away in the post-war years for effect or due to deliberate denazification measures, the elimination of older buildings became an ideological agenda during the years of reconstruction and the ’economic miracle’. The intention was to build a new Germany: open, free and democratic. The emergence of the German economic miracle was also made a central theme formally speaking, the new cities were to provide a new democratic appearance: The dream was one of large forms, open structures and broad squares. Above all wide streets without crossings were desired for that status symbol of mobility and success, the car.

Modernism, proclaimed as the new architectural style in the years before Hitler seized power, was pushed to one side during Nazi rule and officially tabooed as ’entartete’ architecture (although numerous modernist quotations and urbanistic approaches were incorporated and modified in the architecture of National Socialism). It found a broad field for experimental application on the bomb sites of German cities and became the formal hallmark of post-war architecture. Buildings in the modern style were mass produced, the Bauhaus aesthetic mutated to a Zeitgeist and was modified everywhere in bad copies. The piecemeal architectural ’trash’ of old city centres, as far as anything had survived, was a thorn in the eye of urban planners. They fell back upon plans from 1920s without any clear approach (Le Corbusier had wanted to demolish the whole of central Paris). Satellite towns were built on green meadows and motorway-like aisles were driven through old towns. Whole quarters were demolished to make space for new transport arteries. Whatever was in the way was knocked down. The second destruction of Germany ran its course.

In the GDR socialist prefabricated mass housing arose under the SED government. Whole town districts and even churches and castles were also raised to the ground here, albeit under different circumstances, to lend form to the new ideological agenda. The architecture of the new representative buildings of the GDR rulers closely resembles the prestige buildings of National Socialism.

Time leap – 1989. The Wall falls. Germany is reunited. The idols of the German Democratic Republic – representative buildings, prefabricated mass housing and statues of Lenin – suddenly became objects of contention. The Industrial areas in the East are in a catastrophic state. Meanwhile, in both parts of the republic the first post-war modern tower blocks are in need of renovation. However, not only the structures of mass housing estates in the East and West are suffering from the effects of rapid forms of erosion unknown until now, social life in the endless rows of faceless monoliths is also crumbling and becoming increasingly violent and racist. The architects of postmodernism are trying hard to make the stereotype housing blocks ’more human’ with a cosmetic facelift, with paint and porches. Or more drastic measures are taken: the demolition ball and dynamite. The demolition men are again enjoying a boom in reunited Germany.

The video installation Detonation Deutschland shows demolitions using explosives in Germany from 1945 to the present day in a collage of video and film clips on 7 projection surfaces in an exhibition space extended through the use of mirroring. The clips, grouped in chronological order of building typology, are acoustically overlapped by fragmentary material taken from original soundtracks. The form of the commentary and pictorial presentation provide information on the value placed on this type of demolition in the respective contexts of the times. The pathos of the reports is seldom not dissimilar to the pathos in the commentaries accompanying the erection of the building. The exhibition visitor experiences a journey through time with these images of demolition covering German history over the last 50 years. A bridge spans the years from the hopeful mood of departure in the post-war years to the time after the fall of the wall. German architectural history – always a sure reflection of the Zeitgeist in its varying styles – suddenly reveals itself as the history of demolition with explosives. The detonations show themselves to be part of a historical process. They are metaphors for the transience of systems, ideologies, power structures and their status symbols.

Images of explosions fascinate. Small children have a highly destructive potential (a child comprehends and learns through building and destroying), which is blocked and tabooed by increasingly complex behavioural mechanisms with advances in age. Our daily life, our history is formed by events which can be seen as bursts (detonations) of these congested and suppressed urges to destroy. The fascination exercised on us by war reports and images of catastrophe reflect – in passive reflection – our readiness to destroy. The ecstatic thrill we get from images of explosions is a side-channel of our post-infantile drive to stamp on sandcastles. At the same time the demolition explosions shake and unsettle us. A building which perhaps occupied public space for decades and represented power, perhaps beauty or simply a home, collapses within a fraction of a second. A piece of our history and with it our cultural identity is irrevocably lost with the buildings – they are often old buildings worthy of preservation or monuments of industry.

Explosions as controlled local chaos, as a natural phenomena? The collapse of a blown-up building frees associations with the death of a living organism. In fast motion the images of a blown-up building falling in upon itself remind us of the movements of a perishing animal. The facade, the face of an old building is contorted into a grimace during the explosion. A building collapsing into itself on explosion, ’loses control’, is robbed of its dignity.

Film documentation of demolition using dynamite are especially interesting because we know exactly that destruction will unavoidably occur from the outset. The thrill is not (only) the act of destruction itself, but much more the time point of the explosion and waiting for it. The relish and at the same time shock of individual acts of demolition crystallise at the moment before detonation. The visitor is directly exposed to the act of destruction with images and sound in the exhibition space as if they were experiencing these live. The detonations virtually take place in the exhibition space. The audience themselves become explosives’ experts.

Julian Rosefeldt & Piero Steinle

Bibliography

David Bonetti: Collections, series form ’Multiple Sensations’, San Francisco Examiner, 4.9.00
Niels Werber: Zweierlei Aufmerksamkeit in Medien, Kunst und Politik, Kunstforum, Jan 2000, S. 139-151
Otto Neumaier: Von deutscher Seele, noema, Mai/Juni 1999, S. 76-79
Nichts Neues, art – Das Kunstmagazin, Februar 1999, S. 9
Thomas Wolff: Ozapft is, Frankfurter Rundschau, 23.12.98, S. 9
Esther Ruelfs: Die ewige Wiederkehr des Ferienstaus, Taz, 1.8.98
Armin Zweite, Reinhard Spieler, Doris Krystof, Egbert Knobloch, Piero Steinle, Julian Rosefeldt,
Paul Virilio: News, Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg, 1998
Robin Updike: Adding up to History, The Seattle Times, 5.11.98
Roberta Smith: Seeking the Innate Order or Chaos, The New York Times Art Review, 31.7.98
Laurie Attias: Forgotten Paris, Metropolis, Februar/März 1998, S. 74/75
Laurie Attias: Julian Rosefeldt and Piero Steinle, frieze, Januar 1998, S. 91
Wilfried Wiegand: Das Schweigen des Grand Palais, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 15.8.97, S. 33
Éric Biétry-Rivierre: Dans les Coulisses de la Ville, Le Figaro, 9.8.97
Fréderic Edelmann: La solitude de Gaspard dans la nuit, Le Monde, 8.8.97
Sibylle Vincendon: Géants Urbains Capturés, Liberation, 5.8.97
Myriam Boutoulle: Lieux de l’ombre, Beaux Arts, August 1997
Michel Butor, Henri-Pierre Jeudy, Jaques Le Goff, Alains Mons, François Séguret, Julian
Rosefeldt, Piero Steinle: Paris – Les Cathedrales Inconnues, Espaces Vides dans l’Ombre de la Ville, Paris, 1997 (hsg. von den Künstlern)
Matthias Winzen, Otto Neumaier, Justin Hoffmann: Deep Storage, Prestel Verlag München, 1997
Rita Siza: Fascínio pelo vazio, Publico, 10.10.96, S. 25
Brita Sachs: Wer sich eine Grube sprengt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 26.4.96, S. 44
Till Briegleb: Detonation Deutschland, Die Zeit Magazin, 19.4.96, S. 10-18
Nieder mit der Architektur, Der Spiegel, 14/1996, S. 251
Gerhard Matzig: Einstürzende Altbauten, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 29.3.96, S. 15
Peter Michalzik: Die Ruhe vor dem großen Knall, Frankfurter Rundschau, März 1996, S. 6
Gottfried Knapp, Alban Nikolai Herbst, Jochen Köhler, Dieter Bartetzko, Dieter Hoffmann-Axthelm, Piero Steinle, Julian Rosefeldt: Detonation Deutschland – Sprengbilder einer Nation, München, 1996 (hsg. von den Künstlern)
Dieter Bartetzko: Anrufung der Toten, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22.12.95, S. 35
Carl Amery, Christoph Hackelsberger, Hans-Michael Herzog, Norbert Huse, Wolfram Kastner,
Gottfried Knapp, Hans-Ernst Mittig, Hans-Günter Richardi, Manfred Sack, Christoph Sattler,
Richard Chaim Schneider, Julian Rosefeldt, Piero Steinle: Bürokratie und Kult – Das Parteizentrum der NSDAP am Königsplatz in München, Geschichte und Rezeption, Deutscher Kunstverlag München, 1995 (hsg. von den Künstlern)
Wolfgang Höbel: Unter uns, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, 18.2.94, S. 32-41

Links

Websites with online-demolition videos

Demolition videos from germany
A series of great demolition videos from the website of the Roller Company

London CN Tower Implosion!

Vegas Videos: Implosions
A series of hotel demolitions in Las Vegas

Las Vegas Hacienda Hotel and Casino
Las Vegas Hacienda Hotel and Casino – The Hotel That Refused to Die

Las Vegas Sands Hotel and Casino
Demolition of the Hotel, which was once hosting the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, Milton Berle, Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Lena Horne, Johnny Mathis, Peggy Lee, Patti Page and Danny Thomas (who opened the showroom opening day) just to name a few.

Seattle Post: The Kingdome
Demolition of the “Kingdome” in Seattle

Phillyblast
“everything you always wanted to know about building implosions”

Some more detonations from germany

Various links on this topic

Smashing, exploding and blow-up links…

NOVA Online/Kaboom!

Blow Up a Lego House
The name says it all…..

Pyroplus.de
German online calendar on demolitions and fireworks

Protec – Home
Online store for demolition videos

Demolition companys and associations

America’s First Family of Demolition
Definitely not THE first family…..

Roller Sprengtechnik GmbH

Controlled Demolition Incorporated

Engineered Demolition, Inc.

Controlled Demolition Group Ltd

National Association of Demolition Contractors
Website of the american demolition industry