My Documenta 25.8.2012
The duo KG Augenstern, made up of Christiane Prehn & Wolfgang Meyer, recently sailed their houseboat from Berlin to Kassel, collecting a ten-liter jug of wind every hour of the journey, complete with details of location, temperature, humidity and air pressure, plus a photograph. During the recent heat wave, they released some of this fresh air into the Kassel environment, alongside a display of the jugs that migrated each day with air currents. Dockside at the Fulda, they put on a screening each night of a Berlin power plant smokestack, sited just so that it turned their boat into an old steam ship. Except it’s not actually their boat, because their boat got stuck in Minden when hot weather lowered the depth of the river.
This is not an uncommon occurrence—water is often kept in the Edersee on account of leisure activities, leading to problems for commercial shippers. And that’s not to mention the controversy surrounding the Kassel locks, which are going to shut next year and isolate this stretch of the Fulda. It’s hard to be funny or strange when water and air are at stake, so it’s no perhaps understandable that the field of ecological art is not usually known for its sense of humor, and even less for its surrealism. Fortunately for the rest of us, KG Augenstern have been on their boat for so long, no one told them.
Lori Waxman, 08-25-2012