(The symmetry nullifies the differences) Context-specific project.

The work was produced by The Atelierhaus Salzamt International residency program, Linz, Austria

The project was developed during a residency in the city of Linz, concluding with the group show Toast: the re-mediated book.
By basing the project on a natural phenomenon - the river Danube – along which the city was founded, the project was the result of a simple reflection:
the river as vehicle of memory and information just as the book, and both trans-boundary phenomena.
Following this notion, I imagined how the river from its passage is getting into contact with different cultures existing in alliance with the water - "dissolving" visions and human experience, and "surrendering" these traces to be transported by the flow and thus charged with "matrices" - must have impressed the city over centuries, metaphorically drawing its physical and conceptual appearances.
The intent was to identify in which way these testimonies of influence had "materialized" - by now assimilated - in the contemporary image of the city.
Its recent past is linked heavily to one of its former citizens, Adolf Hitler who, to some extent, organized the modern development of the city, that in short time became the most important producer in Austria’s steel industry.
Another well-known citizen of Linz was Ludwig Wittgenstein, who attended the same school as Hitler in their boyhood.
Though aware of these facts, I had no plan for focusing on Nazism.
But arrived in Linz, I came across a sign in the urban landscape that linked its past with its present and was the first evidence to be considered a ‘contemporary materialization of historical contamination’ of which I was in search:
a "crossed out" swastika in graffiti version, written on a monument in memory of the fallen soldiers in the 20th century's two world wars, that had survived contemporary censorship.
Other testimonies of that past caught my eyes, soon making me glimpse a paradigm, that in all its entirety seemed to display the synthetic and abstract propositions stated by Wittgenstein’s in his Tractatus, asserting that only where there is a potential coexistence and interaction, according to the mutual position of the elements and their intercommunication, is the "picture" created:
The picture consist in being its elements in a determinate relationship with one another” (2.14), which conducted me to compose the Linz Frieze - the "picture" - relating the elements "collected" in the actual urban fabric following a determinate criterion.

The context-specific installation further more consists in nine "surfaces" imprinted by the vortex currents on the water volume of the Danube on sheets of absorbent paper with various black pigments that, as well as having "absorbed" its water "becoming" instants of the river, leaving its flow impressed, refer to the marbled paper, used until the early twentieth century as book covers, traditionally created by the same principle, imprinted on the surface of the water in small basins strewed with colourful pigments and moved by combs to create marble structures.
They are accompanied by a video of the river of approx. 20 minutes recorded beneath its surface, collecting several moments of its passage through the town, absorbing ambient noise and documenting the material transported by its flow.

The title of the project, borrowed from the book Danube by Claudio Magris, refers to the symmetry found throughout the project at various levels:
First of all the symmetry of water with its bipolar molecule and its innate ability to reflect, and the branching of rivers, principle defined symmetrical.
The symmetry belonging to more of the found objects: the swastika, symmetrical symbol par excellence, as well as the Double Eagle.
The symmetry of the double structure of the book and its ability to make reflect.
And the imprints of the river collected on site.
Then the implicit symmetry in the concept of isomorphism.
And even the symmetry between the names of the Danube springs and where it "dies":
The Black Forest and the Black Sea.

But mostly because “any notion of symmetry is completely entangled in the asymmetry”*, being a principle that can never be conceived without its opposite, hence reflecting the complexity of the world.
The phrase from the book alludes to the small marching soldiers, models from the First World War in the Castle of Trauttmansdorf: “the symmetry nullifies the differences and a battalion is just its colour, which aligns and equals its men, and advance united without fear.”**

* "Symmetry: The ordering Principle" by David Wade, Wooden Books, 2006.
** "Danubio" by Claudio Magris, Garzanti Editore s.p.a. 1986.

Group show Toast: the re-mediated book
Atelierhaus Salzamt, Linz, Austria
Curated by Josseline Black and Vincenzo Estremo.

1) The memorial plates next to the Danube river with "modern" graffiti of the Swastika on the Monument for the fallen soldiers.
Injekt pigment print of pinhole photo on Hahneműhle paper (various sizes);

2) Detail from the Monument for the fallen soldiers.
Digital photo;

3) The Linz Frieze - the "contemporary materializations of historical contamination".
Injekt pigment prints on Hahneműhle paper (various sizes);

4) Installation view;

5) 9 "surfaces" imprinted by the vortex currents directly on the water volume of the Danube river
Absorbent cotton paper with various black pigments
(59 x 46 cm);

video, editing: Gedske Ramløv 
21 min.