Achtung Sprengarbeiten! Über das Phänomen Sprengung und seine gesellschaftlichen Implikationen von Macht und Ohnmacht Caution! Blasting Operations! About the explosive force of words, images and actions

20 October–2 December 2007
Opening: 19 October 2007


NGBK, Oranienstraße 25


BNB-Ballistik, Marita Damkröger, Eiko Grimberg, Mathilde ter Heijne, Rudolf Herz/Ruth Toma, Shirin Homann-Saadat, Peter Kees, William Kentridge, Eberhard Klöppel, Friederike Klotz, Aoife van Linden Tol, Holger Lippmann/Alekos Hofstetter, Ulrike Mohr, Oliver Siebeck, Rosemarie Trockel, Annette Wehrmann, Hans HS Winkler

Project group

Eckhard Gruber, Karl Heinz Jeron, Martin Kaltwasser, Matthias Reichelt, Petra Spielhagen, Annette Taubert, Christoph Tempel

Caution! Blasting Operations! examines the phenomenon of blasting and its social implications with regard to power and powerlessness. As an irreversible fragmentation of objects, blasting stands for both the violent destruction of existing structures and the release of previously bound-up energy.
As a linguistic metaphor, the explosive force of blasting can be found in many common phrases and expressions, such as when we speak of something being “dynamite” or a “bomb,” of “having a blast,” of “bringing down the house,” getting “blown away” or “blowing your mind or your stack or your cool.” And scholarship and the arts cannot get by without the notion of detonation. Thus modernity’s irreversible processes of change are described as “blasting open” the continuum of history; and artistic avant-garde movements like to make use of blasting metaphors in order to emphasize the radicalness of their views.

Our treatment of the subject is focused on the three areas of spectacle, intervention, and danger zone.

The growing masses of spectators that gather to witness events such as the demolition of the more than 300-foot-high bank office building in Hagen in March 2004 are evidence of the unceasing fascination in blasting operations, and also of the media’s staging of the events and their marketing as tourist attractions. We hope to spur people to reflect on that enthrallment and critically question its significance in society.

What do our own explosive cravings look like? What makes the spectacular images so attractive? Delighting in the destruction is a sign of our powerlessness in the face of prevailing circumstances and the outrage we feel comes from holding fast to familiar habits. The dream of blasting brings refreshing results. Blasting creates space, sharpens one’s sense of available options, and offers room for thought.

Blasting as an intervention in everyday life; interventions in everyday life as blasting. Untouched up to a certain point, routines are shattered and a deviation is produced by artistic means. This is about the anarchical moment of making conditions dance, for just a moment.

What comprises our sense of security? Where does the danger zone begin? When a dud from World War II is found or when it is cleared away? At the baggage counter at the airport? At the post office? In the lobby of a skyscraper? In the proximity of parked cars? Absolute security can only be guaranteed at the price of absolute destruction.

The explosive ordnance disposal service of the federal state of Brandenburg, the Rüdersdorf building materials industrial museum park (Museumspark Baustoffindustrie), and the Kaulsdorf demolition contractor Thüringer Sprenggesellschaft have all agreed to participate. Within the scope of their collaboration and our research we are commissioning artists to create a work within the context of blasting. Supplementing the artistic works will be accompanying interviews in the catalog and exhibition. We are planning interviews with chief blasters, architects, urban planners, pyrotechnic experts, public demolition spectators, adolescent blasting desperados, and monument conservators.

Catalogue ISBN: 978-3-938515-10-5