mauerpark – barbara pichler


The camera captures a fixed view of an urban winter landscape. The white of a snow-covered meadow is crossed by two paths used by bike riders and pedestrians; a row of houses and a street are visible. mauerpark turns this apparently simple setting into an interesting examination of perception and urban space.

Only in the first moment is this a look at an unspectacular everyday scene: Visual irritations creep into the scene, and parts of the picture blur repeatedly. The eye is directed to a spot where the action can be recognized clearly, while other elements escape the viewer’s attention, popping up from out of nowhere when the center of focus shifts. And then one begins to doubt whether the scene’s real at all: Certain actions seem staged, bizarre patterns of movement are formed, and the park becomes a backdrop before which the people move about like toy figures.

A second space is opened up on the soundtrack. Its foundation is the white noise of urban life—an indefinable mixture of traffic and wind blowing through the streets—which is given rhythm by sounds that are synchronized with the picture: footsteps on the pedestrian path, the crunch of bicycle tires. Ambient sounds created in the surroundings are woven into a score. This “audio recording” of an urban space is however more than a mere doubling of the visual occurrences, it represents a kind of atmospheric impression which offers opportunities for associations.

Mauerpark functions like a picture puzzle: In the visual and acoustic space, digital manipulation creates an extremely subtle drama of seeing and hearing in relation to movements, changes in focus and acoustic atmospheres. A drama which doesn’t reveal its secret easily.

Translation: Steve Wilder