FR // 27.05. 19:00

Veit Stratmann
Reading Place

The „Reading Place“ is a setting that allows for the materialization and consultation of the corpus of the „Unrealizable Works“. This corpus previously existed only in the virtual space of the Internet. The Reading Place addresses itself to the individual.
The „Unrealizable Works“ refer to geographical spaces that have been detached from the social and political sphere by a superimposition of historical, economic, social, even geological conditions and have „fallen out of time“. These spaces have become non-places, beyond the reach of democracy and politics. Although they remain a physical part of the world, they are outside of the world and of time.
However, the places described are real and locatable – despite their “non-existence”, their “absence”. As each of them occupies a considerable geographical range, they affect the freedom of movement, of human activities and of thought in their immediate surroundings.
Furthermore, the nature of these non-places demands objective change: the formulation of solutions and, the „cessation of debate.“ Art, however, is a tool for opening debates and it does not have a mandate. Art cannot act „on behalf of“ a collective. Rather it treats the other as an individual. Moreover, the changes required for these non-spaces lie outside the realm of art.
Thus, any attempt by art to find solutions to problems outside its own realm is destined to fail because art would have to grant itself a mandate over which it cannot dispose and would arrogate itself a social function and a prerogative of interpretation that it does not possess. If art were to strive for objective solutions outside its own realm, it would lose its ethical validity. In the end, it would simply disappear.
In order to be able to act in this context and to fulfill my responsibility as an artist to myself and to society, I can only attempt to create form if I take the risk of stretching my thinking to a point of rupture. This point of rupture describes the point at which the inherent fragility or potential ineffectiveness of my position as an artist, in relation to the places the „Unrealizable Works“, becomes the main material of my project. And I accept that this process may be fraught with anxiety – because of the sheer scale of the places I am dealing with and precisely because they have fallen out of time and out of the world – since I am alive, thus anchored in time and situated in the world.

Reading Place, 2022, Courtesy of the artist, photo Ela Bialkowska OKNOstudio