Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Fusion Festival, Larz, Germany, May - July 2014 - Let Me Introduce you to NAGEL STRASSE

Kulture Kosmos is a really special place, its probably my favourite place. It is an old Russian air base in the Muritz area of North East Germany, every year it hosts the Fusion Festival and for the past 4 years I have been lucky enough to go there to make installations and sets.

The site has many aircraft hangers like this one...
this is the workshop hanger where you can borrow tools and make things. Other hangers on site are venues for the festival including a cinema, a theatre, a cabaret they have their own mechanic and bike mechanic. There is really nowhere like it in the world.

They have cars like this...                                     and you can drive stuff like this...

This year after my 3 previous years working with an English crew there I was invited to come and work directly for the festival. Put with three complete strangers all from different countries we were commissioned to build a street facade for the festival that held some significance to the place.

We began here...

an incredible yet completely terrifying abandoned willage 20 kilometres from the site. Part of the old East Germany this area is littered with such places. Inspiring projects and communities exist in some of them but so many are left to rot. This willage was originally built in the Nazi era and then occupied and used as a Russian army base that housed families. You can see both eras in its architecture and in the remnants left there such as the tiles, signs and shoes... so many shoes!!

This place was so inspiring, we decided we wanted to create a place that captured the feeling of this space but reclaimed the history and became timeless and other worldly.

So we took our inspiration and some windows and doors and began with this...
With 5 weeks in hand we got going.

We began by laying all the windows and doors out with what looked good with what. Taking inspiration from the abandoned willage and our findings. The buildings quickly took shape and soon started to develop their own character our willage or as it would later be called Nagel Strasse had begun.

We each took on our own building that was our little baby and had three communal buildings that we each put ideas and work into.

And this is the beginning of my building...
the little house of the crazy old lad, whose son lives in the attic making TV arial's (well everyone needs a back story!!!

I started by building the wooden flats (painted green in this picture) each hole fitted the windows and door I had found for my housed.
I then started making my roof, I wanted it to be a sort of cartoon version of the roof's I had seen in the willage. I had found the small window positioned on the top left of the roof in the willage and wanted to incorporate it into my design. I then decided my roof should be burnt out and to fit in with the old decrepit look we were going for.

I then painstakingly cut individual tiles for the roof and had a hissy fit because I thought at this stage it looked crap!

I painted my roof and used a blow torch to burn the burnt out parts. I then attached guttering I had found. But it looked to nice, it was ready for a big old dirty dirtydown.

And a dirty down it got! and a chimney and lots of weird props and features I made along with a TV arial I made that was a reference to the people in the former East Germany that made their own TV arial's so they could watch western television.

Here was the finished result, my little house for the crazy lady and I felt like by the end of my time creating it!!!!!

And it sat in our street with all our other weird and wonderful houses. It took blood, sweat and tears but we got there and we were so so proud.


 The festival were so pleased and will put it up every year! My favourite comment was when a photographer came to photograph the set. She was told "we made absolutely everything you see" she asked "what do you mean? You made what?",
"the street"  we said quite offended that she wasn't impressed.
"the street?", "I thought that was real"

Smashed it!! I thought!!!!!!!!!!

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