,stadtprojektionen II‘ took place in the Linsebühl district of St.Gallen in October 2017.
With the second edition, ,stadtprojektionen‘ moved to the Linsebühl district, which is close to the center of St.Gallen. During four nights at the end of October (October 27– 30, 2017), photo and silent film works by eleven national and international artists were presented: from Singenbergstrasse to Brühlgasse, from Harfenbergstrasse to Rorschacherstrasse, as well as along Linsebühlstrasse, the central axis of the lively district with its restless history. Formerly a suburb and the red light district of St.Gallen until the 1980s, Linsebühl today is a place of long-established bars, small shops, and workshops, for which there was no space in the city center. The urban development history of St.Gallen, along with the change in paradigm in urban planning, is also shown here on a small scale: on the small and narrow Linsebühlstrasse, old townhouses and houses by master builders as well as structures from the time around 1900 dominate, with both open and closed construction. A closed perimeter block with a courtyard building was also erected during the same period of time at the corner of Schwalbenstrasse and Rorschacherstrasse. In contrast to this, one encounters a very different concept and dimension of city on Lämmlisbrunnenstrasse: a wide, spacious streetscape with the striking superstructure of the Linsebühl building from the 1930s as well as the City-Park high-rise residential buildings from the late 1950s. The latter were designed by the architects Otto Glaus and Willi Schuchter in row construction, thus at a right angle to the street. ,stadtprojektionen II‘ projected works on a number of these buildings and hence revealed specific characteristics of Linsebühl.
Within the framework of ,stadtprojektionen II,‘ there were two tours. The opening took place at Bar La Buena Onda following a short drumming prelude. In addition, Anna Vetsch and Nina Keel discussed art in the public space of St.Gallen with Kristin Schmidt, co-director of the St.Gallen Culture Department, and the artist Florian Graf in the Kaffeehaus on Linsebühlstrasse.
,stadtprojektionen II‘ presented the works of eleven artists who work in the mediums of film and photography.
‚underscan‘, 2012, 15 min
With the video work underscan, Moritz Hossli gives us insights into a spectacle of nature that seems both familiar and alien. Without cuts, Hossli filmed what was happening under the surface of the water of the lake Sarnersee for a period of fifteen minutes. The video work immerses people in an almost weightless world of color, in which small twigs, leaves, or buds perform a subtle dance. As a result of the displacement of volume, they stick to the surface of the water in a weightless state. The unusual camera work and environment make the space continue into infinity—situating oneself in space and time becomes difficult. One dives into another world, just as the Kino Corso cinema once carried people away into other (film) worlds. With his documentary-like, calm camera work, Hossli captures a spectacle of nature that might well take place in our immediate surroundings, but remains concealed from us. Hossli is interested in capturing and presenting atmospheres and landscapes. In ,underscan,‘ the focus is on the perception and interrogation of space.
The work by Katalin Deér at Burggraben 25 deals with an interface between indoor and outdoor space and simultaneously with the space in the building: her photographs and filmic sequences show steps and staircases in St. Gallen, whose design fascinated her when traversing them. With her projections, Deér turns places that are often only accessible to few toward the outside and makes them publically visible. The photos and footage were primarily shot in indoor spaces. The gaze occasionally looks outside from the window of a staircase. And at times we are entirely outdoors, on one of the wooden staircases in St.Gallen. An unexpected filmic insert revolves around the movement of a body in space.
On a small concrete cube at Lämmlisbrunnenstrasse 54, Katalin Deér projects photographs of Le Vele in the Scampia district of Naples. Le Vele is a social housing project from the 1960s and 1970s. It originally consisted of seven high-rise buildings, which look like sails from a distance. Le Vele is characterized by the many public passageways in its interior. The vertebrae-like system of staircases that Deér focuses on here is impressive. It has numerous hidden niches and escape routes, which are avidly used by drug gangs, thus further intensifying the immense social problems in Scampia. For the public authorities, the decline of the district can only be halted by the demolition of Le Vele, which is now imminent.
Katalin Deér examines architectural and other spatial constellations in photographs. Starting from her own physical experience of space, she explores layerings of various spatial levels with her camera. At the respective locations, she frequently incorporates the people who are currently present there in the photographs. Deér translates such observations of space to a photographic-metaphorical level, to then occasionally put the photos into an object form again by, for instance, casting prints in panels of concrete or gypsum.
The works in ,stadtprojektionen II‘ are presented in the outdoor urban space, with one exception: at project space 4 ½ on Lämmlisbrunnenstrasse, one can see a photo series by Lina Scheynius. Although the photos are projected onto an interior wall, they are only visible from the outside, through the display window: they show graceful corporeality and subtle nakedness as well as private spaces such as a bedroom. As a result of the somewhat inconspicuous location of the projection, observers here become voyeurs. Scheynius’s work deals with the boundary between corporeality and eroticism. Her projection at 4 ½ raises questions regarding how pictures of corporeality and sexuality are dealt with in private and/or public space.
The female swimmer in Lina Scheynius’s photo projections on Harfenbergstrasse floats weightlessly on her back. While leaves fall all around her, she brings to mind the lightness of being that occur when diving into the water in the summer. Scheynius’s footage on Harfenbergstrasse opens up an interplay between direct and metaphorical levels: we look down at the swimmer and up at her at the same time. Her movement proceeds in the same direction as that of the row of buildings.
Lina Scheynius’s photographs have their origin in her day-to-day life: she takes pictures of flowers on her balcony, portraits of people from her immediate surroundings, and often of herself. With their emotive sensuality, the often detail-like photographs activate and reveal many intimate aspects.
‚View Through a Park‘, 2009, 16 min 58 sec
The artist Jonas Dahlberg’s film work ‚View Through a Park‘ is located between Lämmlisbrunnenstrasse and Linsebühlstrasse, projected into the niche at Lange Stiege. It shows a slow tracking shot leaving a residential building and entering another, with a park traversed in between. For this work, Dahlberg reconstructed Gramercy Park, the last private park in Manhattan, as a model. As a result of the slow tracking shot, the act of observing itself is addressed and taken to an extreme: even though the film seems to be in black-and-white, it was shot in color, with the black-and-white setting retained. During the supposedly nocturnal tracking shot, one becomes aware in a dreamlike way of forcing one’s way into a private space. Like Gramercy Park, the niche on the Lange Stiege is separated from the public by a grove and can only be experienced from the outside—the public city park is thus situated behind the viewers.
‚Singen Vögel im Schlaf‘, 2017, 39 min 51 sec
A film by Ester Vonplon is projected on a side wall of the urban Linsebühl building from the 1930s. Assembled from photographs, abstract color surfaces and forms flow into one another. The projected picture changes subtly and new constellations that cannot be classified by the eye appear, while other disappear again.
In her work, Vonplon is interested in the perceiving and seeing of natural phenomena, whereby questioning habits of seeing plays a central role in the work ‚Singen Vögel im Schlaf‘ (Do Birds Sing When Asleep). In a multilayered process in which she intervenes in the analogue development process, Vonplon develops photographs that are based visually on scientific photographs. With her work, Vonplon on the one hand juxtaposes the world of science with supposedly legible material and thus questions objective perception. On the other, she brings the medium of photography, which often has an underlying documentary character, into the world of abstract forms.
‚Spin‘, 2001, 12 min
A filmic approach to or a portrait of his mother by Hannes Schüpbach can be seen in the enclosed courtyard at the corner of Schwalbenstrasse and Rorschacherstrasse. It does not, however, adhere to the traditional concept of a portrait. The female protagonist rarely appears completely in the picture; in the short takes, only fragments of her and her surroundings can be made out. What appear in a somewhat blurry way are the hills of the surrounding area and flowers and fruit trees in a garden, or we see her hands folded in her lap. The film has no audio, so we do not hear Schüpbach’s mother speak. The artist presents her going about her everyday activities. We obtain fleeting insights into her life and imagine to ourselves what is important to her as a person. The color footage is again and again interrupted with black pictures. This occurs in rapid succession, in which the individual pictures slip away from viewers. Schüpbach thus makes reference to the patchiness and uniqueness of our perception: ,What we perceive are always moments. Individual units that, however, again and again also have an end and open up something new.‘ (Hannes Schüpbach in conversation with Maja Naef, 2012)
‚Der indische Koffer‘, 2012, 1 min 57 sec
The short film by Silvie Defraoui at Singenbergstrasse 18 is based on a photo-projection of the same name, which is in turn part of the series Les Formes du Récit II: in it, the artist projects a photograph onto an object and photographs it from the same angle. In the works in this series, it is not only representational and photographic levels that are overlaid; visual connections and opposites flow into one another as well. Thoughts and memories as well as times and places are juxtaposed with one another.
At the beginning of the film ‚Der indische Koffer‘ (The Indian Suitcase), we see two curved roofs. The camera slowly zooms out of the picture, until one recognizes a palace compound and finally the photographed projection: a suitcase floats in the middle of a landscape. Following a short standstill, the movement of the camera once again pulls us closer into the picture, until the landscape can no longer be identified and finally becomes unrecognizable. Defraoui’s film gives rise to considerations regarding media theory, allows us to explore a photograph in detail, and takes us on a journey in which space and time are overlaid individually.
from ‚Reaktionen‘, 2017, 2 min 58 sec
Tine Edel’s contribution to ,stadtprojektionen II‘ is a black-and-white film showing a physics experiment with matchsticks. Edel conceived the work based on the location: the multifamily house at Linsebühlstrasse 105 has a niche-like entrance that is painted bright white. For Edel, it seems almost clinical in contrast to its surroundings and reminds her of a scientific test laboratory. In her studio, the artist took this impression as an occasion to reconstruct, stage, and film small experimental arrangements from physics books involving buoyancy, water, and fire. The experiment with matchsticks that she ultimately chose captivates with its contrast-rich imagery and clear forms. Tine Edel otherwise generally works with analogue photography: starting from everyday objects, she creates still lifes in her studio, which she then alienates when developing the negative and positive. Her photographs of stage-like arrangements—frequently a play with light sources, glass, and mirrors—are created over a long process: she alters photochemical reactions and allows for mistakes and experiments, which become visible as elements that supplement the picture and then lead to the final picture.
In the film by Johanna Gschwend, two female drummers have a big presence, even though their playing remains silent. As a ,night watch,‘ they keep an eye on Hügelstrasse and the Linsebühl with a concentrated gaze. In the background, it is possible to recognize the façade structures of a middle-class, single-family house that once belonged to Gschwend’s grandparents—and has since been demolished. The house was located in a hamlet near Oberriet, which has been transformed into a district of new buildings in recent years. The house was part of the historical center and, as such, the last of its kind. The artist took its demolition as an occasion to make a film, and invited two female drummers to stage this farewell to it with her. In the film, she examines the house itself: she orbits it with the camera, goes along the exterior walls and through the nearby shrubbery. And she uses the filmic staging as a commentary for what is imminent. In the original tremulous and loud, but on Linsenbühlstrasse now silent, but no less moving, this works deals with changes in our surroundings. The drummers provide the prelude to ,stadtprojektionen II‘ in person (Friday, 6:30 p.m., on Hügelstrasse).
Another projection by Johanna Gschwend in cooperation with Moritz Hossli can be seen at Sternackerstrasse 3. The projection is titled ,Schwarm‘ (Swarm) and makes reference to the suspended balconies.
‚Point de Vue‘, 2017
In the rear courtyard of Linsebühlstrasse 98, the artist Asi Föcker is showing a projection without a projector. An installation on the roof of the built-on garden house casts a play of light on the dark gray retaining wall opposite it. Two mirrors mounted on a stand are illuminated by a light source and set in motion by the wind. The light is bundled in the mirrors, and reflects and projects a wide range of light figures on the retaining wall. As a result of physical principles, a fine something that changes continuously throughout the night is initiated. The respective reflections thus interact with one another, at times smoothly and tranquilly. The respective free play of the two mirrors is augmented by the wind and light and extended into infinity. In her work, which has a character that is not only installative, but also performative and musical, Föcker is interested altering and withstanding conditions and their movement over space and time.
‚Ohne Titel‘, 2017, 20 min 36 sec
Agnes Nyrenius’s film focuses on aspects of everyday routines: we see the artist herself going to the bathroom, getting dressed, eating breakfast, and finally sitting in her living room and seeming to stare into space. They are situations from the private domain, as they occur everyday behind innumerable façades in this city and around the world. In the film, everything takes place very slowly and without recognizable emotions. The character that is portrayed has no contact with others, seems lost in her thoughts, and remains inscrutable throughout the twenty-minute-long film. Time does not seem to play a role; the female protagonist does not seem to be in a hurry—and she remains on the spot at the end. Conversely, as a result of the fact that little seems to happen, viewers are confronted with the perception of time. Nyrenius is interested in ,why we do everything,‘ hence why we perform particular actions and processes again and again. Her works address human conditions such as lethargy and raise questions regarding the importance of day-to-day routines for human existence.
Our heartfelt thanks go to all the artists; to Bastian Lehner for the website; to Sina Gerschwiler for the graphic design; to Clemens Waibel, Johannes Rickli, Felix Bächli, and Gianluca Trifilo for the technical support; and to Susanne Keller for the aperitifs. We would also like to express our thanks to all the building owners and tenants.
The second edition of ,stadtprojektionen‘ was generously supported by: