OVER THE BLUE DEPTHS
site-specific installation, collected objects and their impressions, alabaster gypsum, codex, alphabet, letter, variable dimensions, 2019
Over the Blue Depths is a site-specific installation, composed of a disk and a letter, conceived, realized, presented, and left to decompose in Kalbe-on-the-Milde in the German region of Saxony-Anhalt.
In this artwork, different concepts of communication unite, reconfirming the concept of art as communication. The artwork is a monument to what defines it: communication; and at the same time it acts as a tool to communicate. The disc’s shape is a contraposition of four circular blueprints originating from what can be defined as important Sights of Communication and Understanding in the Saxony-Anhalt region. Three of them are situated on the path called Himmelsweg, which translates to “path to heaven,” a route that has sights where people are thought to have observed the heavens and celestial bodies in prehistoric times, trying to understand their surroundings and communicating with their gods. The fourth, situated in the town of Kalbe, is a blueprint of Goliath, the VLF transmitter used by the German navy in service from 1943 to 1945. It was capable of transmission power of between 100 and 1000 kW and was the most powerful transmitter of its time.
The contraposition of these four blueprints forms both a metaphorical and tangible platform for elaborated engravings of impressed objects. These engravings of chosen and collected objects are placed in a specific order to form a codex. The disk is made using materials found on solid ground. It is constructed with alabaster gypsum, a sulfate mineral, that has been used by sculptors for many cultures, starting in Mesopotamia. The impressed objects, used to form the codex, were collected in the same area where the installation was created. Situated on land, the four Sights of Communication and Understanding were oriented towards the sky and the sea. In a similar way, Over the Blue Depths is trying to reach beyond. Starting with a subjective self-definition and self-recognition, the codex aims to be a universal tool. Conceived in an organic way, it embodies future changes in communication on a linguistic, metaphoric, and semiotic level.
Hanging above the codex is the first letter written using it. This letter conveys a message written by Peter Cremer, a german U-boat commander during the
Second World War in which he describes his feelings about the Goliath transmitter in Kalbe-on-the-Milde:
“And yet over the blue depths we never felt alone, but rather as a tightly knit family continually connected.”
Transcending the line that separates the visual arts from literature, acting like a written drawing, this letter communicates the idea that messages, transmitted powerfully, can transcend the sender, redeveloping into something much larger than the original context. The material of which the original codex was made will eventually dissolve, leaving no trace behind. What will remain of the original installation is the first letter written using the codex, engraved on the disc.
This project was realised during a residency period and with the support of Künstlerstad Kalbe.
Residency coordinator: Corinna Köbele