Cartographie Dynamique

Cartographie Dynamique
Japanese Lesson

Nishinari & Ikuno

San'ya

Tokyo No Hate

Colombes, Paris 1924/2024

Aubervilliers

Walk the Walk

The Headquarter

Ichinomiya

Polycentric—Periphere

Ville Lumière

Walk with Henguchi

Sequence as a Dialogue

Chongqing Express

Remote Photographer

Midosuji

Grand Paris

Sakae Ôsugi, Anarchiste Japonais

Japanese Lesson, Mash-Up

Ruinen der Zukunft

Konohana Dream

Aulnay Sous Bois

Kotobuki Cho

North of Mikawashima

New World

Norio Imai's Walk

Mapping Chennai

Japanese Lesson

Since 2005 Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber have been traveling to Japan, working on topics from subculture to surveillance. Since 2011 they are developing an extensive body of work they call the »Japanese Lesson«. At the beginning it was a single one-channel video, dealing with the visual influence, research and overwealming impressions of the Japanese cities, life and culture. Since then their perspective became more elaborated and several new works have been created: photobooks, different photographic series, dealing with topics like protest and activism, activists and landscape — political landscape.

exhibited at:
Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf, Japanese Lesson, 2016
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg: Fotografie Neu Ordnen, Japanese Lesson, 2018/2019
Kunsthalle Gießen: Sequence as a Dialogue, 2019
Museum Schloss Morsbroich, From A to B [G], 2020/2021
UNSEEN Fair, Coop Invit. Section 2018

Nishinari & Ikuno

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Nishinari«
May 24, 2017; 2 – 7:30  pm

one-channel video, 281 photographs, 23:15 min
see video»»

One part of Nishinari ward is Kamagasaki, located near the south of  the Osaka loop line; it’s a so called „Yoseba,“ an area where unskilled workers live and work day in and day out. The three largest Yosebas are Kamagasaki, Kotobuki in Yokohama and Sanya in Tokyo.Other smaller Yosebas can be found   in many larger Japanese cities.
The first Yosebas arose in the 19th century: people who were incarcerated were arrested and lodged in Yosebas, then forced to work in land reclamation or dam construction.At the end of the 1950s, the Yosebas system was reactivated because it was hoped to meet the needs of rapid capitalist growth in Japan. At that time, as now, the task was to provide day to day access to cheap labor for the construction, shipbuilding and manufacturing industries.


Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Ikuno«
May 27, 2017; 10:15 am – 5:15 om

one-channel video, 424 photographs, 34:45 min
see video»»

Ikuno-ku is one of 24 wards of Osaka, Japan. The Tsuruhashi area of Ikuno-ku is well known for the large number of Koreans, particularly Korean Japanese citizens (Zainichi Korean) living there, as well as for its large number of yakiniku (Korean-style barbecue) restaurants. Many families from Korea have lived in the Tsuruhashi district for three generations or more. The population and density of Ikuno-ku are the sixth largest in Osaka City, but are declining. The number of foreigner registrations is the largest in the city, and one out of four residents here is of foreign nationality. The proportion of senior citizens is also higher than the overall Osaka City average.

As aging of the population progresses in Ikuno-ku, diverse services and assistances are being provided for senior citizens. The municipal home nursing service center, Okachiyama, is among them. Ikuno-ku is thus evolving into a comfortable town for all its residents including senior citizens and handicapped residents, who will all be satisfied with their life here.

exhibited at:
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg: Fotografie Neu Ordnen, Japanese Lesson, 2018/2019
Kunsthalle Gießen: Sequence as a Dialogue, 2019
UNSEEN Fair, Coop Invit. Section 2018

San’ya

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Sanya«
April  12, 2017, 3 – 6:30 pm

36 digital prints,  29 x 42 cm, framed (grid: 200 x 280 cm)

San’ya is an area in the Taitō district of Tokyo, located south of the Namidabashi intersection, around the Yoshino-dori. A neighborhood named „San’ya“ existed until 1966, but the area was renamed and split between several neighborhoods. It is a region with a distinct culture, an area of crowded, cheap rooming houses where day laborers live.San’ya dates to the Edo period. Lower caste workers, butchers, tanners, leatherworkers, and the like, were forced to live in this undesirable region by the predominantly Buddhist authorities. It has retained its association with both lower class workers and with craftsmen. Within the past few years gentrification has begun to encroach on the area. In recent years, some of the rooming houses have converted to provide cheap accommodation for foreign backpackers.

exhibited at:
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg: Fotografie Neu Ordnen, Japanese Lesson, 2018/2019
Kunsthalle Gießen: Sequence as a Dialogue, 2019
Museum Schloss Morsbroich, From A to B [G], 2020/2021

Tokyo No Hate

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Tokyo no Hate«
35 pigment prints, different sizes / framed, 2015
(grid ca.: 250 x 180 cm)

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was an energy accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima, initiated primarily by the tsunami following the Tohoku earthquake on 11 March 2011. Since then Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber met activists in Japan, joined protest demonstrations, exchanged with artists and learned a lot abour places, spaces and history in Japan.
see the publication»»

»Sanya« April  12, 2017, 3 – 6:30 pm
36 digital prints,  29 x 42 cm, framed (grid: 200 x 280 cm)

San’ya is an area in the Taitō district of Tokyo, located south of the Namidabashi intersection, around the Yoshino-dori. A neighborhood named „San’ya“ existed until 1966, but the area was renamed and split between several neighborhoods. It is a region with a distinct culture, an area of crowded, cheap rooming houses where day laborers live.San’ya dates to the Edo period. Lower caste workers, butchers, tanners, leatherworkers, and the like, were forced to live in this undesirable region by the predominantly Buddhist authorities. It has retained its association with both lower class workers and with craftsmen. Within the past few years gentrification has begun to encroach on the area. In recent years, some of the rooming houses have converted to provide cheap accommodation for foreign backpackers.

exhibited at:
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg: Fotografie Neu Ordnen, Japanese Lesson, 2018/2019
Kunsthalle Gießen: Sequence as a Dialogue, 2019
Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf: Japanese Lesson 2016

Colombes, Paris 1924/2024

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber, Colombes
work in progress – current state of this work:
73 photographs; unique artist book, Din A4, 152 pages, 2019
see more»»

The 1900 Summer Olympic Gameswere held in the French capital Paris as part of the World’s Fair. The competitions were spread over five months and took place between May and October 1900. The 1924 Summer Olympics were held in Paris from 4 May to 27 July 1924. The Olympic Stadium in Colombes was once again the venue for the 1938 World Cup. World Cup in 1938. With the start of the Second World War, the sports venue also served as a for German and Austrian internees, who were distributed to other internment camps in France. in France.
In recent years, it has been used as a rugby stadium; during the Olympic Games, which will be 2024 in Paris, it will be used as a venue for the hockey competitions. will be used as a venue for the hockey competitions.

Aubervilliers

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Aubervilliers«
160 photographs, unique artist’s book, 320 pages, 2019
see more»»

The commune of Aubervilliers is a suburb in the north of the French capital Paris. It belongs to the Seine-Saint-Denis department in the Île-de-France region and has about 86,000 inhabitants. Aubervilliers is traditionally a stronghold of the political left.
Aubervilliers is considered one of the ZUS (Zones Urbaines Sensibles), an area with high levels of poverty, and a high proportion of young people, many of whom come from immigrant families.
Aubervilliers also plays a role in the planning and development of  Grand Paris,  is a project to reform the structure of the Paris conurbation, which, in addition to the city of Paris, extends over seven other départements and numerous municipalities.

Walk the Walk

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Walk the Walk« 2019
one-channel video, 167 photographs, 16:9, Full HD, 14:05 min
see video»»

We are interested in the virtual or parallel proximity of places, places that are far away from each other, the simultaneity of event and memory. Since 2018 we have separated work and private life: we moved out of the studio with the ‚private household‘ and thus now have a regular way ‚to work‘.
Following the instructions of the route from Düsseldorf, we leave our accommodation in a completely new district of Chongqing, and transfer the instructions from Düsseldorf to the city map of the Chinese twin city, without knowing anything about the destination on site. Due to different proportions, road layouts and construction sites, the route is not clearly recognizable for us in advance and we follow the route through residential areas, construction sites, across highways and past shopping malls and shopping streets.

exhibited at:
Taifun Project, Open Window 2020 [G]
Museum Schloss Morsbroich, From A to B [G], 2020/2021

The Headquarter

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber
»The Headquarter« 2017/2021, Tokyo Imperial Hotel
33 Pigment Prints, 30 x 40 cm


The Imperial Hotel in Tokyo in the 1960s was a stunning structure. Designed by the legendary architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Imperial Hotel’s lava rock facing, the abundance greenery and the dominant reflection pool makes me think of Angkor Wat or the Taj Mahal on a more intimate scale. Known in Japan as the Teikoku Hotel,the Wright designed structure was built inthe early 1920’s, opening up on Sept.  1, 1923, the day of Japan’s most powerful earthquake ever, one that resulted in the flattening of Tokyo and over 140,000 deaths. Wright had already left Japan several months before, but was proud when told that the Imperial Hotel remained standing. […] In the years and months leading up to the Games 1964, the hotels tried hard to get the various committees and federations to provide more exact numbers of guests. […] By the late 1960s, the Wright-designed structure was falling into decay, part of the building sinking into its foundation. The number of rooms was woefully short of economic viability for a downtown Tokyo hotel as well. The hotel was closed at the end of 1967, and demolished to make way for a high-rise structure.

The Imperial Hotel was supposed to be the IOC Headquarter during the 2020 Olympic Games (which are postponed to take place in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s already discussed if they will be cancelled permanently at all.)

Ichinomiya

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Ichinomiya« 2017,
May 5, 2017; 12:15 – 15:30 pm

30 Pigment Prints, je 30,9 x 43,2 cm

The Tsurigasaki Beach in the town of Ichinomiya, Chiba Prefecture, has been selected as a site for the surfing event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Surfing will make its debut at the 2020 Games as an official sport in the Summer Olympics. Ichinomiya is located 233 miles south of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

exhibited at:
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg: Fotografie Neu Ordnen, Japanese Lesson, 2018/2019
Kunsthalle Gießen: Sequence as a Dialogue, 2019
UNSEEN Fair, Coop Invit. Section 2018

Polycentric—Periphere

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Polycentric Periphere« 2021
work in progress – current state of this work:
124 photographs taken in Paris, France and the Ruhr Area, Germany.
artist book, 252 pages, A4
see more»»

Ville Lumière

Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber »La Ville Lumière«, 2021
published by GwinZegal & Böhm Kobayashi
20 x 28 cm, 224 pages incl.  112 colour plates
with a text by Florian Ebner

A two-channel-video, Full HD, 12:49 min, 2021
with music by Volker Bertelmann

During a two-month residency at the Cité International des Arts in November and December 2018, the Gilets Jaunes protests began. Our walk took us along the Rue des Rivoli (ususally the Louvre (and hundreds of police) to Place de la Concorde. Again and again we had to change our route, passing the police barriers, being pepper-sprayed in another direction, crossing the empty Boulevard Haussmann, past a few small smoky barricades, to the Place de la République, where climate activists had gathered for a peaceful protest. During this „walk“ we let ourselves drift, letting external influences determine our path; in between, over an espresso in a bistro, we were able to follow the reports on the events we had just experienced ourselves, to see our own experiences reproduced in the media reflections.

Walk with Henguchi

Oliver Sieber »Walk with Henguchi« Konohana 2014/2019
24 Family Mart prints,  framed, 80 x 100 cm

Henguchi is a Japanese artist and poet, who introduced us to Konohana, a local district in Osaka, quite central, near the harbor, surrounded by rivers and water.
Some years ago we very briefly met British sociologist Iza Kavedžija  on a street in Konohana  who did some research there for her paper  about artists in Osaka,  called
“I move my hand and then I see it“. Quote: When asked to reflect on their own creative practice,  they would frequently invoke images of movement. …they would emphasise the importance of moving one’s body – and they compare their own lives to a path, albeit one with a  far less visible endpoint“.

It takes time to experience a district, you can’t just  point out anything interesting on a map  and just talk a little bit about it. The time it takes to go from one place to another, the smell, the atmosphere, –sometimes even the boredom– let the experience stick in your memory, and makes it easier to understand.– It’s also very helpful  if you don’t speak the same language.

»We live along paths – we live in landscapes, we go for walks.  When we map this landscape,  when we look from above paths become routes  which only connect target points. But walking inside the landscape can change  an attitude towards the world
and can make a difference between inhabiting or occupying an area.« About Tim Ingold’s »Lines: A Brief History«.

Sequence as a Dialogue

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber
»Sequence as a Dialogue, Ruins of the Future« 2021
Zine #50, 28 pages, A4, Ed. of 100 copies
see more»»

Chongqing Express

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Imagine the Future« 2021
work in progress
in collaboration with Emschergenossenschaft and Ruhr Museum Essen.

Since 2014, trains from Chongqing but also from other desitations in China (like Wuhan, Xi’an), are arrinving in Duisburg; by now almost 60 trains per week. Reason enough to work about the New Silk Road / Road and Belt Project, the connections between China and Europe, and how it effects the Ruhr Area and the people living there. We understand our work on the border and as a connection between document and artistic work. In our artistic, photographic work we react to social changes and look at them from our personal perspective, with associations and connections that arise and develop in the course of the work.

Remote Photographer

Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber visited Miyashita Park, Ariake Island and Olympic Stadium in 2017 and 2019. These three spots are related to Tokyo 2020. In 2017 all three locations were: a closed park, a huge waste land on an artificial landfill island and a huge construction site. In 2019 construction developed.
here: Miyashita Park Before its redevelopment, Miyashita Park was one of the few public green areas in Shibuya’s business ward. The origins of the park stretch back to the 1930s and, in 1964, the year of the first Tokyo Olympics, the Japanese government redesigned the space to include a parking garage. Miyashita Park used to be home to a large homeless population in Shibuya Ward before the current rebuidling on the occasion of Tokyo 2020.

In 2020 the Olmypic Games 2020 where postponed and Stuke/Sieber couldn’t travel to Japan due to the Covid-19 pandemic. So they asked a local „remote“ photographer to visit the same places Stuke/Sieber photographed the years before and to take photographs from the same perspective on July 23, 2020, the official opening date of the Games.

Midosuji

Katja Stuke, Midosuji, Osaka 2019
one-channel video,  sound,  6:47 min

Racists Ralley in Osaka. Counter Racists. Police inbetween.
see the video»» (PW osaka2019)

Grand Paris

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber, Grand Paris
Work in Progress, 25–30 photographic images, 2021

Grand Paris is what the French government calls the big project in and around Paris. The city and its suburbs are to merge into a Grand Paris. The Péripherique should no longer a border, a wall between bourgeois Paris and the poor banlieues. Between St Ouen, St Denis and Aubervilliers, the so far very neglected north of the city is being upgraded. Office and residential complexes are being built, the areas around the construction sites are unrecognisable.

Sakae Ôsugi, Anarchiste Japonais

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber
»Sakae Ôsugi, Anarchiste Japonais«
work in progress – current state of this work:
57 photographs, unique artist book, Xerox prints, 112 pages incl. 2019
see more»»

In 1919 Japanese anarchist Sakae Ôsugi came to Paris/St. Denis. In his book »My Escapes from Japan« he wrote: „… Outdoor meetings had been banned, and no-one seemed inclined to ignore the order, Communist politicians, as well as the bureaucrats of the CGT, were terrified of a clash with the police, and did everything they could to keep a damper on things. Consequently, only the CGT’s main rally was to be hold in the city centre, while the others, including the St Denis meeting, were confined to the suburbs. Even the protest demonstration against the US government’s plan to murder the Italian-Americans Sacco and Vanzetti was forcibly re-routed by its communist stewards into the suburbs.“
He gave an emotional speech in St. Denis — after speaking for twenty or thirty minutes, Ôsugi stepped down from the rostrum amid thunderous applause and walked outside – straight into the arms of several plainclothesmen waiting there to arrest him. […] On June 3, 101 days after his arrival, Ôsugi was escorted to Marseilles and forced to board a Japanese passenger ship bound for Kobe. […] He was murdered on September 16, 1923 in Tokyo by military police along with his second wife Itō Noe and a nephew. The bloody act is known as the Amakasu Incident.

Japanese Lesson, Mash-Up

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Japanese Lesson, Mash-up«
one-channel video, 5:43 min

This »Japanese Lesson« is an associative mashup, developing since 2005. Resulted from a long-lasting research it contains images and drawings from mangas and animes, still images from japanese movies, historical and current press-photographs; photos, drawings and paintings by japanese artists, some of our own works and material we found in the web, magazines, LP-record-sleeves, catalogues, in the streets and subways of Tokyo and Osaka.

exhibited at:
Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf, Japanese Lesson, 2016
Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg: Fotografie Neu Ordnen, Japanese Lesson, 2018/2019
Kunsthalle Gießen: Sequence as a Dialogue, 2019
Museum Schloss Morsbroich, From A to B [G], 2020/2021
UNSEEN Fair, Coop Invit. Section 2018

Ruinen der Zukunft

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Ruinen der Zukunft«
upomoing work

The title of this section – Ruinen der Zukunft/Ruins of the Future – refers to Japanese artist Yanobe Kenji performance »Ruins of the Future« revisiting Expo ‘70 in 2006.

This body of work will juxtapose images of areas worldwide, which are rebuild, often in the context of major events like Expo or Olympic Games, or places that are undergoing major changes in the context of structural change. Including images will be taken in:

Japan:
Osaka, Konohana/EXPO 2025
Tokyo, Ariake Island/Tokyo 2020/2021

Ruhr Area Germany incl.:
Duisburg/Loveparade Area
Dortmund/Phoenix See
Bochum Bochum/former Opel plants
Bochum/EG Slaughter House

Paris incl.:
Aulnay Sous Bois/former Citroen plants
Saint-Ouen/future Olympic Village Paris 2024
Grand Paris (along Périphérique)

other areas incl.:
Hannover, former EXPO 2000

Konohana Dream

Katja Stuke »Konohana Dream«
two-channel video, sound, 33:36 min
watch here»» (PW: KONOHANA2020)

Konohana is a district in Osaka and most likely also be described as ‚Deep Japan’. It’s located in the east of Osaka, quite central, near the harbor, surrounded by rivers and water. It feels comfortable there, characterized by old houses, old shops, small businesses  and industry, small bars and cafés for the local people. It is a local area,  the community consists of a lot of old people, workers, fishermen, and foreigners working at Universal City amusement park.
In Konohana Yumeshima (translated: Dream Island) the 2025 EXPO will take place. Currently it’s just wasteland, a landfill island, with a container terminal  and a 7-Eleven Convenient Store. Maybe since 10 or 12 years artists, musicians and young architects  move to Konohana, establish their studios there opened a hostel, share-houses and live-houses  small galleries, bakeries and more. Maybe you can call it  a very careful gentrification made from individual ideas and  with very personal energy.

In 2019 Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber, with the helping support of Konohana based artist Henguchi invited some „local people“  to discuss EXPO: to talk about the memories of the older participants of EXPO 1970 (which was an important, influential event at that time) 
their fears, hopes, and expectations towards EXPO 2025 in Konohana. Their ideas  if and how their town would change through this event. Stuke/Sieber prepared 10 questions,  translated them into Japanese, and discussed for maybe an hour– conducted by Henguchi.
Following Joseph Beuyes’ ideas of a ‚social sculpture’ they created a situation, a place to discuss –  from where now  the conversation continues and new ideas  are developed in Konohana.

As one outcome from this evening Stuke/Sieber could create a sound piece, using the recorded discussions. As they cannot really understand Japanese, they cut the sound into snippets, re-composed them. So even people who speak Japanese, also cannot understand  the details of the conversation.
They juxtaposed the sound  to a two channel-video.
On the left, you see a video Katja Stuke took in 2019, driving with a bicycle through Konohana, passing most of the places,  they have a personal connection to; the different houses they lived in during the last years; places with a  personal connection. On the right you see a virtual tour through Konohana, following the bicycle tour on the left – recorded in Düsseldorf via Google Street View  in 2020 during the first Corona lockdown.

Aulnay Sous Bois

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Aulnay Sous Bois«
work in progress – current state of this work:
128 photographs, unique artist book, Din A4, 256 pages, 2019
see more»»

Aulnay Sous Bois is a commune in the Seine-Saint-Denis department in the Île-de-France region in the north-eastern suburbs of Paris, France. The north of Aulnay Sous Bois consists of large housing estates and industrial areas (like PSA Peugeot Citroën).
The PSA Aulnay Sous Bois Plant is a former car plant in France, producing approximately 135,700 cars in 2011. The last car came off the line in October 2013. Aulnay Sous Bois was also affected by the 2005 French riots, a three-week period of riots in the suburbs of Paris and other French cities in October and November 2005.

Kotobuki Cho

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Kotobuki Cho«
one chapter of: »Japanese Lesson«

Kotobuki is one of three traditional day-labourer districts in Japan, called doya-gai, where men have long lived in flophouse-style rooms (doya) and found work at nearby labour markets (yoseba). Doya-gai became infamous in largely crime-free and orderly Japan  and have always had a strong presence of yakuza. In 2014 officials counted 6,318 residents in 123 cheap lodgings, 68 percent of them aged over 60 and a majority on welfare.

North of Mikawashima

Katja Stuke, Oliver Sieber & Takano Ruydai
»North of Mikawashima« 2019/2021
Photopaper 66/67, 32 pages

Katja & Oliver: In 2019 we spent a day together north of Mikawashima station, you invited us and showed us around.  Actually it was really close to the area where we stayed in when we came to Tokyo for the first time in 2005; so we  were really excited to visit this part of Tokyo again. Why did we go there? What was your interest in this area?
Ryudai: It was three years ago on 15th April in 2017, that I first went there. I simply thought that you might not know the eastern part of Tokyo. In my opinion, this area is a forgotten part of Tokyo. I think most people, even ones living there, don’t really want to know it well. They think they area isn’t worth seeing and knowing. I wanted you to know this part of Tokyo. I thought it would be a new Tokyo for you. But you were already familiar with it.

In a way, yes, it felt familiar. But it took some years to understand the divisions between different parts of Japanese cities. We became curious when Japanese friends referred to these kind of areas as ‚Deep Japan‘. What is your understanding of ‚Deep Japan‘?
I understand ‚Deep Japan’ as an area left behind by development and so the appearance and way of life of the community continues as it was a long time ago.

New World

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »New World« 2019
2 x 59 photographs, clockwise/counterclockwise

Shinsekai (which translates „New World“) is located in Osaka. An area, where a national industrial show – a kind of „local EXPO“ – took place in 1912
with the inevitable Tsutenkaku Tower  as the main structure.  It became an amusement so called „luna“ park and is  now a poor neighborhood  with still some amusement shops and restaurants. And with homeless people and day labourer living there just opposite of Kamagazaki/Nishinari.
Shinsekai has a negative image and  commonly held reputation  as Osaka’s most dangerous area.
Stuke & Sieber walked on the district border of Shinsekai, one clockwise, the other counterclickwise, always photographing in the direction of the central tower.

Norio Imai’s Walk

Katja Stuke & Oliver Sieber »Norio Imai’s Walk« 2019
96 photographs and one portrait

Katja Stuke and Oliver Sieber’s designated walks and routes can be determined though city limits, through different connections and associations to other places, through aimless wandering and other approaches.
Like in this case: through following the walk of another artist: 
In 1970 Norio Imai and the artist-collective Gutai Group participated in EXPO 70 in Osaka. We met him almost 50 years later after we learned about his walk in „Sumiyoshi“ he made sometime in the 1970s. Sumiyoshi is a very „local“ area, old buildings, old residents, very „un-special“.
His walk brought us from his studio to – we don’t know where. We couldn’t figure out his final destination or if this was important at all (or if there where some smaller changes in the city-map during the last 50 years). But maybe it also just was about  walking and thinking for him at that time.

Mapping Chennai

This mapping of Chennai will become a chapter in the »Cartographie Dynamique«* The topic of »trade« will be the main focus and the starting point of a new research and mapping of a different, right now unknown, city. In August 2021 we had a very inspiring conversation with an architect and city-activist  about Chennai, the history of trade and work in Chennai, the meaning of the harbor. We got a very good insight in these aspects, could make notes, record the conversation – and on the basis of these informations made a decision about which disctrict of Chennai would be interesting for us to map, to discover, to research about.

Crossroads, Junctions, Street-Corners »So we can conceive of the world as a world of objects and divide it into for example: houses, streets, traffic lights, kiosks, shops etc. But we can also divide the world differently separating the integrated complex street corner from other urban complexes«. (Martin Schmitz about: Lucius Burckhardt and »Spaziergangswissenschaften / Walking Science«)
Different from previous works, where we followed one route, one boder or disctric limit or one random dérive in cities we already knew quite well, this time it‘s different: we need to understand Chennai, need to get some visual information from where we can  continue working, associating, gathering images, developping a series / a book / a video / a virtual presentation.
So we decided to chose some junctions within the selected disctrict: crossroads of smaller and bigger streets, of smaller roads, near some spots we expect
to be interesting, places where we expect a certain perspective or view on the city and  the harbor; and hopefully a variety of different buildings, parks, corners etc.Different from e.g. Osaka, where Google Street View updates its page almost every year and where we can compare almost ‚synchronized‘ the developement of streets and districts, there are only some spots covered by the Google cameras. Trying to find some photographs of contemporary Chennai (which are not from guidebooks for tourists) and not or historic photographs is not so easy from here in Düsseldorf /Germany. So our visual knowledge and impressions of Chennai are still very poor.
Our learning process – like gathering images, talking about them,juxtaposing, editing,  understanding visual signs is part of the whole project.

Starting from these assumptions we found a solution how to chose 20 junctions in a district of 3 x 3 km. And developed a formal structure about how images should be taken:

Selections of Junctions: »Indian Defence«
We have to admit, that we don‘t know too much about chess. But regarding the origin,  the history and the idea of an »Indian Defence« was an intriguing idea and a good  solution for our decision-making… We found an image of a chess-game which we found suitable for our purposes and placed it over the map of Chennai – above the disctricts near the harbour. Next step: A local photographer takes images in Chennai on these junctions following some strict rules about perspective.