At the end of the Year of Germany in Brazil 2013/2014, the artist Philipp Geist (Berlin, 1976) develops two light installations in Rio this year; the first one on the world-famous Christ statue (Cristo Redentor) and the other installation in the Santa Marta favela. For the installation the artist presents artistic-liberal and poetic German and Brazilian themes and develops a building and floor light installation of colored words and phrases in Portuguese, German, and in other international languages. The installation deals with cultural characteristics and achievements of both countries and visualizes the issues of time and space, volatility and presence in a free artistic style.
The two projects are in fact a double project which is combined. The installation on the symbol of Rio and Brazil, the Christ statue, is recorded and projected onto the small buildings and huts of the favela. The Christ statue, which has been built to protect the city and the sailors, is symbolically projected on the shantytown, the favela, in a protective way. The installation in the favela will be seen not only on a facade as a large cinema projection or as a static image, but on several winding buildings, the roofs, the floor and on the steps. Thus, the visitor becomes a part of the installation and can immerse into the projection and the light and introduce himself. Chalk crayons are put out on the streets in the favela and the young and old residents and visitors can write and paint words on the street, the ground, the stairs or even on the house walls.
The residents and several institutions should be addressed to submit words and associations dealing with Rio, Brazil and Germany. For the installation, which was shown at the Luminale in 2012, the artist Philipp Geist won the German Lighting Design Award 2013 (Deutscher Lichtdesign-Preis 2013) in the category Light Art. The series ‘Time Drifts’ is characterized by the complex and subtle way of visualizing various currents and voices in cultural contexts and to provide institutions and visitors with the opportunity of substantive participation: different personalities, visitors and institutions may be addressed in advance and then contribute words and associations. Current and historico-cultural topics are researched in advance by the artist and then integrated in a sensitive and subtle way. The projection dismisses the use of screens, because concepts and associations are projected on a large area onto the floor surface on several facades and in theater fog. Over the course of two days, the installation can be seen on-site in the favela on May 15 and 16 and on the Cristo Redentor on May 12 for a day. Short, tall, young and old visitors can interactively participate in the installation by tracing and adding words with colored chalk crayons available on the streets. Thus, over the period of the installation, a carpet of words is evolved with terms that are contributed locally by the visitors by means of the temporary and volatile ‘medium’ of chalk crayons. Philipp Geist develops in this way a dialogue between the place, the visitors and his artistic work. The concrete, tangible projection of the architecture and the static terms on the floor area represents the facts and visible relics that are responsible for our understanding of history.
The transparent and volatile projection in the fog reminds us that part of the history can not be preserved and that it is created in our individual imagination in a single moment. Words are briefly visible as a metaphor for transience and then disappear again. This interplay of the various text and image layers in the space refers to the location and the history/-ies of Brazil and Germany and the cultural exchange between the two countries. The visitors themselves are part of the installation: they dive into the large floor projection. In this way, different perspectives and experiences of space are unified. Abstract passages which are created, then overlapped and displaced by each other symbolize the constant changes in history, the passage of time and the transience of existence. Even the understanding of the past is in the flux. The modern writings and formations created on the computer establish a connection to the present and the possibilities of today’s technology and show that the perception of history and culture depends always on the possibilities and constraints of the present.
Time Drifts – Words of Berlin’ is part of a series of installations, which has been shown in recent years by Philipp Geist, and which are always re-developed site-specifically and adapted to the local conditions: In October 2012, Philipp Geist showed the installation on the entire Potsdamer Platz (public square) and the Kolhoff Tower and Renzo Piano Tower skyscrapers. In April 2012 the installation was shown at the Luminale in Frankfurt where it was seen by more than 40,000 visitors and thus the main project of the Luminale 2012.
In 2011, Philipp Geist presented the ‘Time Drifts’ installation in Vancouver at the Jack Poole Plaza, as well as in Montreal on the Place des Arts in 2010. The ‘Timing’ installation was shown at the 2009 Glow Festival in Eindhoven. In the end of 2009, on the occasion of the birthday of the King of Thailand, 2-3 million visitors saw his facade installation at the royal throne in Bangkok. Other projects include: ‘Timelines’ at the prestigious Pallazzio delle Esposizioni (Rome, 2007), ‘Time Fades’ at the Cultural Forum of Berlin and ‘Broken Time Lines’ at the old spa Kurhaus Ahrenshoop (Germany, 2008). Geist’s projects are primarily characterized by their complexity concerning the integration of space, sound and motion images. His video mapping installations waive screens and transform a wide range of architectures in moving, picturesque light sculptures which challenge the viewer’s perception of two- and three-dimensionality.
Installation Philipp Geist Year of Germany in Brazil 2013/2014 Concept Time Drifts May 2014