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STEVE JOHNSON ++ 2015 Ortsumgehung


Foto: Steve Johnson

A little something for dogwalkers

Foto: Michael Lindner

I visited Baruth and the site for the outdoor sculpture exhibition ‘Ortsumgehung’, on 6/4/2014 and again on 2/1/2015. On both occasions it was clear that the site of the exhibition, formerly a car bypass had become a footpath.
I noticed that throughout Baruth and its neighbouring villages there were an unusual proliferation of messages pinned to wooden structures where pedestrians walked. Most had roofs.
What could be so important that so many notice boards were necessary, and what kind of messages needed shelter from the rain in the internet age?
These paper messages pinned to wooden slats varied considerably. Historic - with pictures from 1920’s & 30’s. Philosophical - Spruch des Monats. Personal - vermist! Meine Katze Pauline. Geographical information – maps and adverts offering expertise by local villager’s such as music lessons and dog walking services.
I found these notice boards very charming because in my imagination structures like them must have existed for as long as the towns and villages themselves, and probably pre-dated the existing architecture of Baruth as a communication solution. A solution for how to communicate outside of the family circle.
At the same time I found these wooden structures to have a certain strangeness and irrationality because we now live online and on social media. These wooden structures, one could argue, appeal to a nostalgia for the past (and the pedestrian speed of the past). It is now possible to send instant messages with one tap on a smart phone to a wide community.
These roofed structures are a physical anachronism in a virtual world, and as such have a quaint surreality about them in the 21stCentury.
My simple concept has been to exaggerate this strangeness. Probably not as useful as the real village notice boards – but aimed to raise a smile.

Steve Johnson, August 2015

Foto: Steve Johnson