Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The SF (science fiction) KAPITAL of Karl-Marx Allee

"SF capital is the synergy, the positive feedback between future-oriented media and capital. The alliance between cybernetic futurism and “New Economy” theories argues that information is a direct generator of economic value. Information about the future therefore circulates as an increasingly important commodity."
Kodwo Eshun paraphrasing Mark Fischer (Further Considerations on Afrofuturism)

The architecture of the Karl-Marx Allee (former Stalinallee) and Strausberger Platz embody the ideologies of the East German state in a strong and individual way, demonstrated particularly through its exemplary "Socialist-Realist" architecture and the historical city planning initiatives post-WWII. The American architect Philip Johnson called the Karl-Marx Allee "true city planning on the grand scale".

The work "The Science Fiction KAPITAL of Karl-Marx Allee" aims to capture and reflect upon the notion of "science fiction capital" as it would have been during the planning and building of the Karl-Marx Allee after WWII, where this vision of the socialist future was physically taking shape and affecting the minds and mentalities of the citizens of the newly founded GDR.

"Science Fiction" as a concept can be re-read in a "real" sociopolitical context, such as that of William Gibson's statement that science fiction is a means to preprogram the present, or in the words of Kodwo Eshun "engineering feedback between its preferred future and its becoming present". The core premise of science fiction, according to Samuel R. Delany’s statement, as offering “a significant distortion of the present” underlies this conceptual work, a one-day installation on 18th July 2010 (World Listening Day) at Strausberger Platz itself, which will be documented and exhibited afterwards.

The work "The Science Fiction KAPITAL of Karl-Marx Allee" aims to visually and auditively attempt to bring these ideas to Strausberger Platz. Visually, coloured perspex cuboids with tiny architectural figures are placed facing the fountain to exaggerate the feeling of proportion in the architecture and the historical future vision of the city planning of the GDR in the 1950s. Auditively, a black cube structure with emerging pipes of different lengths play a multi-channel composition based on various famous future visions as detailed in classic science fiction novels. One of these pipes simply begins and ends on Strausberger Platz, allowing the listener to hear the real sounds of the area with a uneasy root-tone drone. Through these pipes with varying root tones and the accompanying drone, fragments of these absurd futures emerge, a kind of science fiction story box. These varying notions of futurism, realist (through the architecture) and surrealist (through the story box) are laid side-by-side to make tangible, the political power within these fictional and factual visions of the future.

The story box is made in honour of Delia Derbyshire and her pioneering electronic works.

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