QR-code tiles as barrier at the lakeshore Hufeisensee

The installation object “Menschenwerk” is located on the shore of the horseshoe lake.A row of big tiles is placed, just at the water’s limit. Their colourfulness and patterns automatically draw the eye towards the floor. Uniform QR codes are recognizable.
They form a barrier on several levels. Visually, not to be overlooked, they seem unnatural in the reed landscape; as well as mentally, by scanning the codes a meta-level comes to meaning, a web page opens and reminds after a warning, of the origin of the lake and risks, which are connected with swimming in it.

video of Maëlle’s presentation
student:Maëlle Ludwig
project:(con)temporary crust
Location of inspiration:Hufeisensee, Halle


sand (instead of clay), brown coal
Method of manufacturing:

Compression moulding: A lasered QR code mould was deep-drawn, which then served as a mould tool for the earth-casein mixture.
Temporal aspect:

The QR code will weather until it is possible to swim in the lake again.

full concept text

The panels, or tiles, form a barrier between the man-made and the natural, nature and technology, information and naivety. The barrier is aimed at visitors to Horseshoe Lake, especially those who intend to swim. The QR code redirects to the following website. A warning display, a hypothetical countdown, and links to further information are shown. Like all the lakes around Halle, Hufeisensee was created by mining. Lignite mining by the Alwiner Verein began here as early as the beginning of the 19th century. What remained was a wide pit, which was fed by natural water runoff and thus became a lake. Swimming in Hufeisensee is not officially permitted. The Halle environmental agency’s website also states: “Walking on the banks and slopes of the old mining pits is entirely at your own risk.” 1

The pollution of the Hufeisensee by chlorinated hydrocarbons (CHC) and other pollutants, which are still being washed into the lake via the groundwater, is problematic. The pollutants can originate from the near or far surroundings, concrete examples being the Halle/Kanena housing estate, the RAW site and the adjacent landfill. On the positive side, there is some hope for a higher purity of the water in Hufeisensee.

After a long time, the CHCs evaporate through the soil and the air. The RAW site is to be cleaned up – plans are currently being made – and can also contribute to a safer future. However, exact predictions about when it will be safe to enter the Horseshoe Lake cannot be made. The installation “Menschenwerk” offers an outlook. Parallel to the decomposition of the plates, the QR codes dissolving and becoming illegible, the pollutants evaporate. The countdown stands just as hypothetically for a purer body of water with its run-off. The barrier points this out to the visitor. He is free to decide whether to disregard this hint or to follow it. Thus, the tiles also have a symbolic character, as many of the current bathers lull themselves into blind security and close their eyes. The city does not give clear signals in the area. Internet research leads to confusion. Another object was placed elsewhere on the shore of Hufeisensee. A cube was also built from QR code panels. The principle is the same as that of the barrier.

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