Step by step

A collective, participatory art project with shoes and people from Jarmen, a neighbour town of Loitz.

The contact to Jarmen came about over a cultural institution in Greifswald, where I had requested information about art initiatives and means of promotion in the area. They recommended to contact Bettina Münchberg, with the words: “In Jarmen people are trying to make a difference”. Peter Sorge, from Schuhhaus Sorge in Jarmen, as well as Bettina and Lutz Münchberg, who have been living there for a few years, have helped to initiate an annual window showcase art exhibition campaign. All three have a strong interest in “bringing art” to the public, not in a commercial sense, but in terms of community building and to implement a change of mind, to enrich or enliven their little town through the arts.


Since our first contact, Peter Sorge had kept all the shoes that he had gathered at the collection point for old, worn-out shoes. He had not passed them on to the recycling plants, as he could well imagine that art objects could be created from them. Bettina and Lutz visited us at the artist center in Loitz, where they had the opportunity to get to know a part of our group and get an impression of our different approaches and projects. The same day we continued  to discuss possibilities for art projects in Jarmen.  A first public meeting including a site inspection and viewing of the shoes was planned.



In the next meetings, artistic actions were carried out, or preparation or follow-up of these actions were made and further ideas discussed. The shoe actions took place in three different towns, in Jarmen, Greifswald and Loitz to create a connection and exchange between the places through the “walking shoes”. This attempt to enliven the public space through art and to involve the local inhabitants as well as strangers, to enable participation, and to dream other projects was intended to possibly develop visions of the future and investigating the role of art in the public sphere. The process was documented and published in collaboration with Bettina Münchberg.


Step by step, Jarmen: Shoes are invading the market square for several days, inviting questions, discussion and exchange..




Step by step, Greifswald: A chain of shoes is walking through the town. Actually people are invited to help walk the shoes in the direction of an art exhibition, a nearby gallery.



Step by step, Loitz: shoes are climbing along a rope into a window high up on the storage silo of Loitz.


I would like to express a heartfelt thanks to Bettina and Lutz Münchberg as well as to Peter Sorge for their openness, warmth and generosity and for their commitment to the art in their city. Because of them, the collective shoe project did happen. Likewise, I would like to thank everyone who was somehow involved. It was a very special privilege for me to be part of this project, and it still goes on… In 2019, the town Jarmen is celebrating its 750 years anniversary and I hope the shoes and the ideas inspired by these collective actions will be somehow part of it.

Landart/site-responsive art in Loitz

During my master studies I wanted to expand further my individual art practice,  working in dialogue with materials and sites to working more in relation with people. Seeing these processes as being rather practiced separately from one another, my master project was an experiment in trying to fuse and intertwine these practices, basically by keeping always the same open attitude as a facilitator, a collaborator, and a participant in any dialogue and experience that would come up, and let them influence the process and the outcome. Spending one month in Loitz, (Künstlergut Loitz) in the north-east of Germany, I had the opportunity to live and work with 15 Alanus art students at the same place ( this was a former lodging building for workers, later a summer camp, now an artist center/residency) and to learn from and with each other while developing art projects in this new environment.  I could not have hoped for a better opportunity for learning about site-responsive art practice, and about everything that is part of the collective process.  My work accomplished during this stay was process-based, time-based, and relational, and included some sort of experimental, ephemeral process-sculpture, installation, as well as actions, and conversations. The process and outcome was very hard to capture in photograph, thus starting to film will be helpful to take the work beyond the lived moment and being able to share it with more people. At least something of the process….

Arriving in Loitz, after having moved several tons of earth to finalize my earth sculpture just before leaving Alfter, I was looking forward to work with the wind or on water. Wishing for something light and airy, rather than grounded. During the first days we visited barns and stables (formerly used for animal farming and agriculture and now mostly empty) and got the permission to use these places for our projects. Some places were more attractive than others, a great place for studying perception, light and atmosphere.




..the fascination of three-dimensional spiderwebs…(made with broken netting for hay-bales):



I was lounging for wind and water, but the first thing I discovered in the town of Loitz were bird nests made of earth. Colonies of swallows were nesting everywhere, under roofs, in barns and in earth piles.



Apparently my research about earth construction had to go on. But these swallow constructions were definitely not heavy and grounded, but airy and delicate. Fascinated by their construction abilities, the materials and shapes of the nests, (built one next to the other), the swallows became the inspiration and the starting point for an expanded research on the self-carrying capacities of earth.

A project-idea for a participatory earth sculpture or installation for the town Loitz was drafted and proposed to the town mayor as well as to the art teacher of the local secondary school, however without  creating any interest. As such, I started my research on my own: by replicating the profile of the dune in which the sand swallows were nesting, and by adopting and adapting the constructions methods of the swallows I had observed at the harbour, I started to build an inverted nest structure large enough to allow me to enter and to look out.




but I constructed only for three days, until someone reduced that earth pile (while destroying all the nests) and drove apparently several times over my construction.



When one door closes another one opens…                                                                                  At the same time this project was interrupted,  I had met with the director of the local elementary school day care center, who was delighted by the idea to play with the children in mud.   In the following days , I started to work with the children on making plans and models for an earth building inspired by swallows nests. Collectively we developed a way to mix earth with water and to build up walls with balls and blobs made with our hands. As my time in Loitz was limited, I could only help this project to get started in the hope that it would be supported and continued with the help of parents and neighbours of the school .


Over the last two and a half weeks in Loitz, I spent my days between doing my own research mornings and evenings, and spending the afternoons with the kids. Parallel to this, mostly on week-ends,  I tried to work on making connections to the people living in the area, out of which the shoe-project ( view next blog entry) came into being. In the mean time the project with the children was evolving, I started to built swallow nests in one of the barns. In a way, I just projected/ enlarged the existing nests onto a wall, again working only with my hands and to my size.






On June 13, the sand swallows were back, nesting again in the destroyed earth pile. They were not giving up, a good reason to start myself constructing again.  My goal was to build as high and big as the statics, time and circumstances would allow. Every day I continued building, not knowing if the construction would collapse, or again be destroyed, by rain, wind or human force.



On June 16, the nests of the swallows got, again, destroyed. On June 21, my towers had reached a height of 2 m, in the evening it rained and they fell apart. The next day I found traces of a wheels next to them…..

Seeing this as the end of this trial, I started a similar tower project, this time in-doors.  By casting earth in a small cup, I produced many parts that I quickly built up into long pillars supported only by two tent-poles and a string wrapped around. Was it possible to built 3m 60 high, 7cm large columns, that would stand self-supported??








Brötchenwelt (world of little buns)

The beginning of a time- and air-sensitive material series..

I always wanted to make an inflatable work, but I had never found the right material for it. When I arrived in Germany I started to collect the paper-bags that one gets when buying a little bread at the bakery. After a while I invited friends and family members to not  throw away their bags, and I also installed several collection stations at the university. While collecting almost during two whole semesters, I regularly glued these bags together into square-meters until I had about 50 of them.

These were assembled into a large tetrahedron, which I inflated during the Rundgang. Why a tetrahedron? Well, not everyone is convinced that the earth has the shape of a sphere…


Have you ever been in a paper-bag???



Time-sensitive material series

This series of  sculptural works begun in the Haystack Fablab in 2014. Starting with a form, made of a lump of clay, that is 3 D scanned and translated or transformed using locally found, unwanted materials and the method of slicing and stacking layers upon layers. The digital fabrication process allows a more complex view on the model and opens up interesting possibilities of working with form and material in different ways.

Many thanks to the Fablab at the RWTH Aachen for access to the digital fabrication tools and their support and inspiration.



Using the laser cutter, the profiles are cut out in 2 mm pulp-board ( handmade from recycled egg-cartons), and serving as model in order to plan and elaborate a large scale sculpture.

Another model hand cut into newsprint allows the visualization of a stretched version of the same form.


The material ( almost 5 tons of local loam, clay-earth, Lehmerde) for the large version was generously offered and delivered by a local construction company. Many thanks !!

During several months this earth was sifted, sorted from rocks and roots and formed into slabs in the shape of the news print profiles. Inspired by rudimentary earth constructions, these slabs are assembled together like bricks using only earth and water.

170 pieces, 65 layers, 1.8 tons of earth…

At this stage it was quite clear that once dried, the whole structure would be sound and not fall apart. My plan was to return the earth to the cycle, back to nature or constructing something else with it. With this process -based work I did not want to produce a sellable and collectible artwork, but to make people reflect about what we can and what we can not take with us.

The earth sculpture, entitled Time-sensitive material series #6: Computer gestützte Erweiterung der Erdwahrnehmung (computer supported augmentation of the perception of the earth) was exhibited during the Rundgang 2018 at the Alanus University as part of my master thesis exhibition.


After the exhibition,  the work was presented as a gift to my professors, the rest got filmed….