La Zona

28 April–3 June 2012
Opening: 27 April 2012


NGBK, Oranienstraße 25

Project group

Sandra Bartoli, Michael Danner, Ulrike Feser, Silvan Linden , Florian Wüst


Büro für Konstruktivismus, Michael Danner, Katja Davar, Amin Farzanefar, Kim Feser, Ulrike Feser, Nina Fischer / Maroan el Sani, Ralf Homann, Ins A Kromminga, Tara Mahapatra, Steven Matheson, Chris McGrane, Esther Neumann, Lina Selander, Dylan Spaysky, Charles Stankievech, Ashok Sukumaran, Florian Wüst, Daniel Young & Christian Giroux

The contributions of the show examine differently defined “zones” in an experimental way, dealing with themes such as ecology und the environment, technology and nuclear power, politics, pop culture, and urban development. What the works have in common is the aspect that they all explore: the ambivalence of mankind’s handling of disastrous events and their repercussions.

In the exhibition, visitors encounter various types of zones: the contaminated zone, the decontaminated zone, the post-contaminated zone, the exploited zone, the protected zone, the ephemeral zone.

The most important content-related starting point and point of reference for the organisers of the show is a film from 1979 that in a futuristic manner describes the journey through a “zone”: In Andrej Tarkowskij’s film of the same name, the figure of the Stalker leads a writer and a scientist unauthorized into the “zone”, a restricted area sealed off by the military. With his intuition and experience, he is able to make his way through the Arcadian landscape of ruins filled with mysteries and mortal dangers.
Shot seven years before the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Stalker can be read as an anticipation of this incident and its consequences. The film tells the story of a civilizational crisis of meaning taking hold of all social sectors and providing no deliverance at all.

In both the film and the exhibition, the “zone”, in its vicissitude, offers itself a surface of projection for the notions of progress and enlightenment. At the same time, it attests our disrupted relationship to natural resources. A zone often originates after an event brought about or influenced by humans. In retrospect, the way in which the occurrence and its effects are dealt with often appears as a vain attempt – the zone becomes a central motif of media coverage, an object of research, a memorial, or the destination of excursions. The imminent powerlessness is held at bay by efforts to explain and clarify. Are the traditional instruments of human cognition in the form of science, art and religion failing? The exhibition addresses these and related questions.

A publication in German and English will appear. (Publisher: NGBK)
La Zona – english edition: 978-3-938515-49-5 (deutsche Ausgabe: ISBN: 978-3-938515-48-8 )


Thursday, 19 April, 2012, 7 pm
RADIO-PICKNICK - Performance by Ralf Homann

What constitutes the unclear zone of a revolution? Who defines such a definition? For decades, small, illegal FM stations have been accompanying resistant political practices without any kind of vanity and in a very charming way: from occupied grounds of nuclear power stations, border camps of “no human is illegal” campaigns, to camps on Wall Street, the Schlosspark in Stuttgart and soon perhaps in Berlin-Mitte. Under the radar of visual and thus representative charging: It is a remote flickering, a hissing and a silence maintained by pure energy. maybe also the blue taste of roasted sesame seeds on salted celery. Could it be that a political act emerges from nothing, without an interest, from a wayside gathering? From a picnic arrangement somewhere in the open countryside? With roasted sesame seeds and a radio station?

10 May, 14 h
Kunstvermittlung / Workshop
Catriona Shaw

10 May, 19 h
Artists talk
Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani

Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani’s contribution to La Zona comprises a 3-part video installation entitled Spirits Closing Their Eyes (2012) that focuses on life in Japan after 11 March, 2011. The work deals with the physical and psychological state of emergency – mainly following the continual nuclear disaster in Fukushima – which oscillates between actual threat and subtle changes in everyday habits. In the earlier videos, Sayonara Hashima (2009) and Narita Field Trip (2010), Fischer & el Sani already looked into issues related to historically relevant sites and the culture of memory in Japan. The artists’ talk moderated by Florian Wüst includes the screening of the above mentioned films and additional image and research materials.

12 May
“Lange Buchnacht” - Night of books Oranienstraße
The exhibition is open until midnight

24 May, 19 h
Kim Feser
Akustische Zonierung (mono vs. surround). Zum Stalker-Soundtrack
+ Publication presentation “La Zona”
+ Film screening “Stalker” von Andrej Tarkowskij (1979)

3 June, 19 h
Charles Stankievech
“Over the Rainbow, Under the Radar: Electromagnetic Infrastructure and Outpost Architecture in the Arctic”
+ Finissage