Visual essays

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Serie 1 – Verheimaten

This series of images thematizes the reconfiguration of spaces, through photographs of various places in Korea (Dogil Maeul, Seoul, Song Do), Germany (Dong Xuan Center in Berlin Lichtenberg, the city center of Berlin) and Italy (Venice), where people with different origins and biographies negotiate their personal ideas of space and of how they live their lives. This process of Verheimatung , or finding a home, comprises an individual’s attempt to find a Heimat , a place of home or belonging, beyond one’s own geographical origins, and in the face of global centrifugal forces. The conception of an ideal place that would be home, a Heimat , and of other places that are foreign is inherent to the same extent in the phenomena of migration and tourism. The resulting places, spaces and situations are charged with imaginations, idealizations and instances of wishful thinking that are hardly free of social conflicts. 

Serie 2 – Refiguring Spaces

This series of images thematizes spatial transformation , through photographs of various locations in Berlin (Alexanderplatz, Gendarmenmarkt, Lustgarten, Dong Xuan Center in Berlin Lichtenberg) and Korea (Dogil Maeul, Seoul, Song Do), and of the amusement park Window of the World in Shenzhen, China. In these places, one finds highly diverse cultural ideas of space. 

Here, Refiguring Spaces shows an ongoing change of the urban space, defined by cultural terms such as center and edge, or exterior and interior spatiality. My photographs often capture marginal spatial situations that provide a glimpse behind the scenes of feigned spaces, thus opening up new ideas of space. The change from busy urban spaces to empty stages—which leaves the city appearing as a piece of scenery—was not caused solely by the lockdowns that were imposed first in the spring of 2020 and then over the following winter. 

The photographs selected here were taken in the period from 2006 to 2020—partly as part of the MigraTouriSpace art project, partly in the course of previous art projects such as Window of the World (2002) and Placemaking—Migration and the Fall of the Wall (2009). 

Serie 3 – Transtopia

Spatial migration arises, among other things, from phenomena of mobile settledness or a kind of settled mobility in our globalized world. Spaces refigured in this way shape our ideas of reality and how we live our lives. Such constantly changing, newly emerging spaces can be conceptualized as transtopias. These are spaces where borders are crossed and where polysemous and contradictory elements, both local and global, are linked, becoming condensed and overlaid into new urban types, forms and figures of thought (see Yildiz 2016).

Both the Dong Xuang Center as Little Hanoi in Berlin and the German Village Dogil Maeul in South Korea can be understood as such transtopias.

The photographs in this series show the intersection of cultural references, spiritual and social spaces of action and their material formulations.

The photographs selected here were taken in the period from 2005 to 2020—in Vietnam, Berlin and Korea, partly within the MigraTouriSpace art project, partly in the course of earlier art projects along these same lines, such as Loi Chao tu Hanoi (2007) and Placemaking—Migration and the Fall of the Wall (2009).

Serie 4 – Stadtlandrand

Special spatial constellations emerge at peripheries, at transitions between the city and the countryside. This series places urban contexts of this kind in relation to each other, using the examples of Dogil Maeul and Seoul in South Korea, Shenzhen in China, and the Dong Xuan Center in Berlin. The pairs of images give rise to new scales of urban landscapes between periphery and center.

SERIE 5 – Remittances as Social Practices and Agents of Change

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