A perspective on german separation after 32 years of unity
The village of Sacrow is located on the former inner-German border – since we are dealing with soils in this project, I wondered what distinguishes the soil on this side of the former border from that on the other: I found nothing. So, I began to question boundaries per se, and discovered them everywhere here: to separate the private from the semi-public, the public, and above all one’s own from the other. These barriers function in different ways and altogether result in a place in which partial spaces are coupled precisely by the demarcations. These observations ultimately inspired me to create my temporary structure – a wall that first appears to be a fixed boundary, but is actually not one. I made “bricks” from a temporary, local material, which in combination form a somewhat solid, but light- and view-permeable wall. Over time, it decays and trapped seeds begin to germinate: The hostile wall becomes an inviting sprouting field of flowers.
|Location of inspiration:||Meedehorn (Sacrow) near Berlin|
|Material:||finely sieved sand, casein|
|Method of manufacturing:||3D printed mould, press moulding, oven drying|
|Temporal aspect:||decomposition on exposure to water – plant growth|
full concept text
Sacrow is located on the former territory of the GDR. From the Havel peninsula Meedehorn, one can literally look into “the West” across the water. This proximity to the former inner-German border brings with it a tension that can still be felt today and fascinates me—I grew up in a united Berlin; the Wall is actually a relic of history for me. In principle, German division has nothing to do with the reality of my life, and yet its aftershocks are clearly audible here.
Since we were dealing with soils in this project, I asked myself what distinguishes the soil on this side of the former border from that on the opposite side: I found nothing. So I began to question walls, fences and boundaries per se, and discovered them everywhere in the allotment on Meedehorn: to separate the private from the semi-public, this in turn from the public, and of course one’s own private from that of the other. One can notice astonishing differences of the barriers, and of the implicit statements – one can excellently look through a head-high fence, for example, although it is almost insurmountable. A hedge, on the other hand, despite its physical permeability, protects against glances. Finally, a knee-high garden gate is the psychological culmination of a barrier – rather than actually denying entry, the social implications of stepping over it are formidable enough. Thus, at second glance, the allotment on Meedehorn reveals a complex network of implicit prohibitions, invitations, visual barriers, and showcases, in which various sub-areas are coupled precisely by the demarcations.
These observations ultimately inspired my temporary structure—the idea behind it was to build a wall that gives the initial impression of a steadfast, impassable boundary, but upon closer inspection and over time is actually very permeable and even invites one to come closer.
These ideas translated into concrete specifications in the process of designing the form: The wall should be made of the local material – from the sandy soil typical of Berlin and the surrounding area, a fine, dark to black sand powder results after sieving, which is blended with casein as a binder, formed moist and finally completely dried produces an surprisingly stable final material. From this, I used a 3D-printed negative mold to produce “bricks” that snap together and, when bonded, form a reasonably solid wall with a corrugated appearance. The bricks, which incorporate plant seeds, form hexagonal clearances between them that make the wall permeable to light and view. The temporary aspect is that the casein is loosened over time by the weather, the wall disintegrates and the seeds it contains begin to germinate in the loosened, moist soil: The demarcating wall becomes an inviting sprouting field of flowers.