Public space is defined by rigid structures that attempt to cater to the general public. These frameworks, however, are often challenged and deconstructed in alternative ways that come to characterize the real public. Individual interventions undermine the political and social constructs imposed by the planned city and often leave behind structural fragments that, on a small scale, remain independent from new developments. These remnants, such as steps, ramps or dry masonry walls transform into seating or meeting points for people of all social classes. People on the outskirts of society, in particular, are often forced to occupy an undefined role in the public realm and, as such, become key players in these architectural spaces. Street musicians and other cultural producers also take advantage of public remnants to showcase their art. As such, public space provides opportunity for the re-examination and appropriation of architectural components for entirely new purposes.

Raumprothesen proposes to investigate these non-categorized elements of public space, or Raumprothesen (spatial prosthetics), as objects of design. Once installed, the Raumprothese will be seen as a unified extension of existing architecture. Furthermore, bringing cultural producers, such as video artist and performers, into the “white cube” will serve as a meeting point for Berlin’s art scene. The work will function as a platform that attempts to portray social space on a symbolic level while providing an ideal location for co-existence. The idea is to generate a contextual shift in how cultural output is valued, whereby cultural producers and cultural consumers engage one another according to a different set of rules.

Both visitors and artists will interact with the space on a physical level. Beer bottles, cups, cigarettes, and other litter left over won’t be cleared away but will become evidence of an earlier social interaction, with traces incorporated into the existing installation. The space will remain un-swept through the end of the exhibition.

In past installations, insulation board was obtained from local building sites –preferred for its use as acoustic insulation as well as its physical connection with the urban development of the surrounding area. Ideally, the chosen form will relate to a specific place near the exhibition space.

The Prothesen will erode throughout the duration of the exhibition until they are completely disintegrated. Symbolic social space and its aestheticization, in this context, cannot be sustained and will therefore disintegrate under the banal use of its everyday function.

shifting the focus - fiona mcgovern (text) // translocations - susanne köhler (text)