EUROPE (to the power of) N
Development of a spatial strategy and display elements for the exhibition series "Europe (to the power of) N", Multiple Venues, 2012-2013
The architectural contribution for Europe to the Power of N tries to reflect a certain desire for coherence, while at the same time speaking about the incongruencies, asymmetries and ruptures of this attempt. It is about using basic and minimal devices in order to create a blueprint of an European Exhibition Space. The concept consists of a set of devices for representing the heteronomy of positions embedded in the structure of this project. We tried to put into question the idea of a unified exhibition design for the series of exhibition events within Europe to the Power of N, while at the same time utilizing the desire for coherent representations. Therefore we defined a set of rules, which are derived from normative, economic as well as aesthetic systems, which attempt to represent more or less directly certain ideas about Europe. We suggested three basic elements to the curators to choose from in order to work with them in the exhibition settings they were about to develop. The curators could choose one aspect or a combination of those elements depending on their interest and need:
a line / a surface / an object
A line drawn at exactly 1m above groundfloor level, referring to the "Meterriss" or " benchmark line". This is a common technique used in a building process in order to „calibrate“ the measurements on a building site by creating a sort of artificial horizon. This line should be drawn directly on one or two cornered exhibition walls with a pencil of HB (Hard Black) – a European standard unit – and should provide a minimal background for a part of the exhibition setting.
a surface created by using one color referencing the series Guggenheim Colors by Fine Paint of Europe.
The Gallery Color Series consists of a selection of wall colors favorably used by exhibition designers, artists and curators according to an analysis of the Guggenheim Archives. These colors mostly come in shades of light grey, beige or different whites. the difference from the chosen color to the already existing wall color might be minimal. The chosen color should be applied to at least one part of the individual exhibition space above the 1m benchmark line. Thereby a horizon line is created that crosses and connects all exhibitions, while the chosen color of the background speak of the subtle differences embedded within the specific spatial conceptions or preferences. This would in each case create a minimal, sometimes hardly visible background for the exhibitions/ projects. The placement of the benchmark line and the positioning of the color field would be up to the interpretation of the individual curators (or artists) involved. Photos of the specific exhibitions taken from the height of 1m above ground this common horizon created by the benchmark line plus the colored surfaces above this line could serve as the connecting element in a collage of highly heterogeneous exhibition situations. Furthermore an imaginary exhibition space would be created, that would be a blueprint of the very incoherent and contradictory spatiality of an "European Exhibition Space".
a 3-dimensional object as a tool for spatial negotiation
The standardized size of the EURO pallet, invented in the 1950s, represents a tool that not only makes transport more efficient, but also delineates a certain territory, as the EURO pallet is incompatible with the global ISO container sizes and can therefore only operate effectively within European countries. On the basis of this system, a spatial element was defined which consists of five bo- xes measuring 24 x 80 x 220 cm: the maximum volume that can be put on a EURO pallet. The individual boxes consist of shelves of differing heights, according to the European DIN paper formats. However, aside from holding books, these boxes can be used as display walls, tables, platforms, space dividers, etc. These elements served as optional devices for structuring the spaces where concrete architectural decisions were needed or wished for. They also represent an interface for possible interactions between individual curatorial concepts and the architectural dimension of the Europe to the Power of N Project. They might appear in the specific exhibitions in very different forms and might be altered substantially in their journey from one exhibition site to another.
an (impossible) European Exbhibition Space
The architectural contribution to this project consists primarily in the design of a device, which serves as a tool for giving specific interests a visibility, but also to offer a platform for potential cross-communications and negotiations. Thereby we also tried to create a portrait of the structure of the project as a whole, showing some common ground, but also partial interests, fragmentary aspects and producing an instable order of a space of possibilities. Possibly the impossible "European Exbhibition Space"
project assistant: Christine Bock