Plänterwald was filmed on the site of a former GDR amusement park built in 1969 and abandoned after reunification. Its rollercoaster and ferris wheel sit motionless at the edge of the city of Berlin. After being closed to the public for almost a decade, the rides and fairground structures – once providing a distraction from everyday realities – are left to a gradual process of decay and overgrowth. Paradoxically this derelict site is patrolled and protected by security guards who attempt to maintain its separation from the public sphere and contemporary life as they situate it in the present social and economic conditions.
The video stages a journey in, over and through this delimited park evoking the exceptional conditions of its persistent existence. Positioning the security guards as the guardians of a “dead” space, the work plays on the absurdities of the use of force and the notion of property in relation to the decay and obsolescence of the site.
Plänterwald explores a world held together by an internal logic and quietly, yet relentlessly – like the defunct rollercoaster – echoes the potentially explosive rumbles of deep social and political fault lines.
Plänterwald (video still) 2010
HD digital video disk (DVD), 17:50 mins.,
4-channel sound with raised wood projection screen, and metal benches
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Photo © NGC