Project Mining - I
sculptural environment in two parts
suggested by Irmin Damm

Part 1: "Darkroom"
Part 2: "My e-g-(g) : a cooking experiment"

- "an excavation in the earth from which ore or minerals can be extracted
- "an explosive device used to destroy enemy personnel, shipping, fortifications, or equipment"
- "the one or ones belonging to me"

(from: The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition)

Darkroom - a space for self-experience

A mine is dark, buried in lifeless stone and implies the danger of accidental floods. Yet it may be the source of valuable findings. Cole for energy production or ore, precious metals, diamonds. It obviously pays the endeavours to dug into dead rock and venture in darkness, our attempt to enter inside the matter.

At the same time, it plays the role of human kind, striving for power over its material environment to govern and make it useful.

We want to use the place, where this has become reality in the past, and gave evidence of audacious human projects, as an experimental environment for the visitors of the Gegenort exhibition. We want to give a chance to do the opposite of exploitation of the environment. Instead of exploitation of the environment, we want to explore the "inner-vironment" of oneself.

There are some preliminary settings:

And some presumption:

These fears though of a general character are experienced individually. It is of no use for the individual to know that others equally are afflicted. The situation itself is threating anyway. It is of no help to represent myself by a general notion of what man is like or capable of. I shall suffer the same.

We are making a test.

We shall have a room or some kind of pathway in the former mine. It shall only be entered alone, without light. No views, photos or other representations of the room or path shall be available. May-be the room shall have a sofa, if this can be made. If we have a pathway, there will be an aiding rope. It will be possible to make a booking for the room, so that one can spend some time there. (The maximum would be the length of the daily opening hours.)

Afterwards, the visitors would be able to write some kind of report of what they experienced. We may have a list of questions that would encourage the visitors to tell what they realised.

As an additional option, we might install a website where the individual reports would be published on a regular basis. This would depend on the site conditions of Gegenort and the exhibition facilities.

Additionally, this website could be an extension to the exhibition arrangement. It could become a forum for people who would not be able to visit the Gegenort exhibition site, but find the concept interesting enough to try a similar experiment elsewhere, and tell the result of it the visitors of the website.

My e-g-(g) : a cooking experiment – the stage room

We intend a combination between a place for new self-experience and a stage for performance. For the latter, we could use the container.

In the container, there would be goose-eggs. Depending on the facilities available at Gegenort, or at special times, e.g. during the opening of the exhibition, we shall have a public goose-egg cooking. The boiled goose-eggs could then be painted by the visitors of the room or pathway. We shall supply wax or oil crayons or other suitable painting materials. The visitors should use the eggs to share something of their experience in the darkroom of the mine to others and make it visible. This could be in a descriptive or abstract manner, or whatever should be deemed an appropriate way of expression. The visitors will also be asked to think about a short sentence or some phrase that would suit what they had just seen and found. This sentence could be written on the egg or on a ribbon to be bound around the goose-egg.

The visitors will be allowed to take their egg home. They could also decide to leave it at the exhibition for other visitors, and then might take another visitor’s egg home. Name and address should be communicated in each such case.

Here again, a website would offer the chance of world-wide participation. E.g. a shot of each egg could be made with a web cam or digital camera. Such photo or film could then be published on the website together with the individual phrase and name and address of the participant in our experiment. Such we could initiate exchange between the visitors of Gegenort and the visitor from the internet.

Visitors that did not take the chance of visiting the darkroom could take a plain – i.e. not painted – goose egg to their home. They could be offered the chance to later report on the website how they made use of their goose-egg.