Sites That Could Have Been, 2014

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The installation combines an audio piece on unrealised skyscrapers, produced during a residency in the German city of Frankfurt, and a series
of short sound pieces on unrealised high-risers in Amsterdam.

Recent Exhibitions:
Variations.Uniformity, Amsterdam, June 2014;
Be My Guest, Stadtgalerie Lehen, 3 October – 15 November 2014

The Installation
The installation is shaped by self-built speaker towers, made out of foam board. Piled up together, they bear a resemblance to architectural models of high-rise buildings. The speaker towers recount the story of unrealized skyscraper projects.
For the site specific version produced in Amsterdam, visitors can listen to three sound pieces on unrealised skyscrapers in the city. Marked with tape on the windows to the West, North and East of the exhibition space, visitors see the silhouettes of these unrealised buildings in the direction where they should have been built while listening to the stories.

Sound Pieces – Amsterdam
For an exhibition in Amsterdam, Doris Prlić created three new site-specific audio pieces on unrealised high-risers in Amsterdam.
As narrator, the artist recounts the stories of three buildings which were planned independently from each other in the West, North and East of Amsterdam. The stories do not clearly take position but rather paint a picture of skyscrapers as symbols for both visionary ideas and megalomania.
Visitors could look outside of the windows of the exhibition space while listening to the sound pieces and imagine the high risers in their vistas.

Sound Piece – Frankfurt
For the site-specific Version produced in Frankfurt, Prlić researched on unrealized sky scraper projects in the area.
Frankfurt is a city which is shaped by a strange contrast – an abundance of empty office space and a scarcity of affordable living space. Even though around 13% percent of the office space in Frankfurt is not used, more and more high office buildings are planned – the most recent example is a new skyscraper which will house the European Central Bank and will serve as new landmark of the city. This, however, does not serve the needs of many inhabitants of Frankfurt who suffer from high rents like in many other European cities.
The sound installation A Site That Could Have Been picks up the topic and narrates stories of different unrealised sky scraper projects. While one narrator tells about various, partly utopian, building plans, the voice is confronted with a second audio layer which deals with one specific project in Frankfurt. The so-called Campanile building in Frankfurt should have been constructed in the late 1980s. Intended as Europe’s highest building at that time, the proposal was supposed to reach around 300 meters in height and should have sheltered mainly offices. Within a short time span and without presenting a development plan for the district, all permissions for the building went through. The project was only prevented by one courageous neighbour, Hannelore Kraus, who argued that the high-riser would destroy the social structure of the district and managed to veto the construction. Kraus is one of the narrators in the installation.

narrators: Karl Zechenter, Hannelore Kraus, Doris Prlić


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