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.