Moving Art

Moving Art

Karlsruhe 2022

Ulrich Gehmann

The Moving Art project, a series of performances that took place in the main marketplace in the city of Karlsruhe in May 2022, is part of an experiment to find a new spatial approach. In collaboration with Vertical Waves, an internationally renowned dance group from Venice, we tried to generate a dynamic entity called “living space”.

Moving Art celebrates free citizenship in authentic spaces. In this project, the real, historically grown space of citizenship is combined with virtual, ‘ideal’ spaces and vertical dance. Realspace, virtual spaces and dance form a unity, through which a new space emerges, expressed symbolically as the space of free citizens. It is an approach referred to in our research on gestalt as a process, outlined on our website:

A living space is a dynamic space that comes alive when three different entities combine with performance: the physical, built space; the virtual spaces of worlds presented as scenarios; and body motion, generated as a space through the dynamics of dance. These three entities, which do not typically belong together, are connected via choreography, whereby individual expressions combine into a dynamic whole, the process of gestalt. In other words, a gestalt is generated that is neither fixed nor static, but a process by which a dynamic morphology unfolds.

Moving Art as gestalt

Due to its processual, dynamic nature, such a gestalt cannot be planned in detail, nor can it be created in accordance with a prefixed, rigid scheme. Rather, a gestalt is generated from the single processes of which it is composed. It emerges from the continual interactions that make up the process. What we see in the picture above, for instance, is nothing but a snapshot – one single moment taken from the entire dynamic, of which this moment forms just a part.

Several different themes can be addressed as part of this topic. The Moving Art event in Karlsruhe in May focused on the theme of citizenship.

The performance centered around the value of free citizenship, going back etymologically to the Roman civis, the Roman citizen with rights and duties, and to civitas, the community of such citizens. In times of national retreat, war, and threat by authoritarian regimes, we aimed to convey the need to refocus on core European values such as free citizenship, whereby citizens co-exist, respect one another and decide their own fate. This concept speaks of both cultural heritage and core value, and was expressed architecturally in European cities – in the Agora, the forum, the piazza, the marketplace and the cathedral.

Languages of forms and order

The Moving Art event brought the concept of free citizenship into a real space: the historically grown space of the citizenship, the main marketplace of the city of Karlsruhe and its temple-like central church. A vertical dance took place between and in front of a screen, upon which various scenes were projected, presenting places of free citizenship. The order of these projections, representing a space of its own through their very arrangement, incorporated the physical building of the churches’ portico.

Real space, virtual spaces and dance formed a unity; a new space emerged, through symbolic expression – that of free citizens. 

Different expressions