236 Pender St East,
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18 October–22 November, 2014
Curated by: Jonathan Middleton
Two Films About Pressure
The Or Gallery is pleased to present a new exhibition by Berlin-based artist Andreas Bunte. The two films of the installation revolve around the human attempt to reproduce the high and low pressure that occurs in nature. This seemingly scientific concern serves as the starting point for an investigation into two particular sites and technologies affected by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the re-unification of Germany.
Künstliche Diamanten (Synthetic Diamonds) depicts the process–from beginning to end–of synthetic diamonds being produced. The recordings were made at the Vollstädt Diamant GmbH, a company set up by mineralogist Professor Heiner Vollstädt, who began his research on the production of synthetic diamonds in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) 40 years ago at the Zentralinstitut für Physik der Erde (Central Institute for Physics of the Earth). In the late 1970s the production of synthetic diamonds became a prestigious project for the GDR government, with the aim of ending the GDR’s dependency on diamond imports from the USSR and the West.
After the reunification of Germany the Institute was discontinued. Vollstädt transported some of the machinery from the former Academy of Science of the GDR to a disused military camp outside Potsdam to continue his research and the production of synthetic diamonds as a private enterprise.
Unterdruck (Low Pressure) was shot in an Athletic training facility in the former GDR that was built in the late 1970s to simulate the effects of high altitudes. Allowing athletes to prepare for performing in atmospheres different to those found in the GDR, it reduced the need for athletes to travel outside Eastern Europe. A top secret facility at the time, the site was abandoned after the peaceful revolution of 1989 that ultimately led to the unification of Germany. The fate of the site was the result of a double economic incompatibility: it was too expensive to be kept in use, and too expensive to be dismantled.
Both films were commissioned by Cornerhouse Manchester for the show Anguish & Enthusiasm: What Do You Do With Your Revolution Once You’ve Got It, curated by Sarah Perks and Declan Clarke. This exhibition is produced in collaboration with “SFU School for the Contemporary Arts”:http://www.sfu.ca/sca/ and “Republic Gallery”:http://www.republicgallery.com, and is part of the Or Gallery’s “Slow Frequency”:http://slowfrequencyproject.com series in partnership with “Threewalls”:http://www.three-walls.org and “devening projects + editions”:http://deveningprojects.com (Chicago).
Andreas Bunte lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He is currently a fellow at the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Programme of the Academy of Fine Art Oslo.