JOURNEY OF FINDING BEAUTY

Muscat, Oman 2017

What defines beauty? What lies in the eyes of the beholder? And what is considered beauty in the context of different cultures?
With the eyes of a trained architect and space strategist, I explored the cities that I was visiting, and I explored life in these cities.
During my residency in Oman, I studied what citizens find attractive in the architecture of their places. Thru systematically designed
city tours I developed a unique and very personal map of the respective city.

 
 

As the artist in residence of Goethe-Institute and StalGallery,  I once again went in search for a typology of architecture of the various periods in the history and development of Muscat. What structures do the Omanis of Muscat see as particularly valuable in their city? I invited artists, architects, and designers for workshops to debate beauty, desires and values.

For several days we delved into their city, moving with different means of transport or just walking along. Thus we discovered our different views on buildings and places and tried to find out why someone finds a house or place beautiful and what emotions this evokes.

Gathering the individual experiences generated a new and personal structure of the city. Everyone in our group had an individual definition for the beauty of the city. One could say that everyone had his or her very own beautiful city, with an own soul and a place of desires. The personal views on beauty of each participants was translated into an interpretation of each understanding. This is one example of the general understanding of Riham Noor who explained during the workshop that for her beauty is: Minimalism and simplicity.

The individual works of the group were interpreted and transported into a video and also combined into a mindmap, also including my personal view on the city. The result is both a view on the city and a protocol of a process which was shown in an exhibition at StalGallery from 17 October to 2 November 2017.

 
 

During my observations in the city I found unused spaces which triggered my fantasy. I developed a series of videos which fill in those gaps within the city.

 
 

MIGRATING ARCHITECTURE

Berlin, Germany 2013 – 2016

ARTISTIC RESEARCH PROJECT AT THE TU BERLIN  2013-2016

IN COOPERATION WITH PROF. STEFANIE BÜRKLE, VERONIKA BÖCKELMANN, ILKIN AKPINAR, FULYA ERDEM, KOUROSH ZARGHANI

SPONSORED BY VOLKSWAGEN

„For me the importance of hybridity is not to be able to trace two original 

moments from which the third emerges, rather hybridity to me is the ‚third space‘ which enables other positions to emerge.“ Homi Bhabha

When people move, so do spaces, along with images, cultural practices and lifestyles. Migrating Spaces examines the common elements of domestic architecture in Germany that are integrated into homes built by former guest workers upon their „definitive return“ to Turkey. The study questions how cultural experiences and memories define complex identities within the built environment. Examining closely homes that were designed and often built by the owners themselves, the exhibition aims to establish a typology of architecture of these various socio-spatial implementations. Details in the build of these homes often express expectations about future life in Turkey, impressions from a past spent in Germany, and also translate personal memories from childhood years.


The catalog of methodologies of the research project included ‚field research‘, ‚Interviews‘, video research‘ and ‚photography research‘. In seven trips to Turkey we visited around 40 houses to collect Data: The informations have been evluated and interpreted with artistic methods. Further we did seminars with students of the TU Berlin, institute for architecture to generate material.

 
 

HORROR VACUI

Riga, 2013

The research has been done during a 4 weeks long stay in Riga in the context of an „Artist in Residence Program”, invited by NOASS. The artistic focus was unused, empty buildings and their potential stories.
‘Horror vacui’ is the hypothesis that the nature in front of empty spaces „shrink back“. Therefore, empty spaces are anxious to suck gas or liquids, so they no longer be empty. 
Horror Vacui  is inspired by the interest of an athmosphere in derelict, empty spaces and abandoned buildings in Riga / Latvia and the further assoziations and narratives entwined around it. Coming from the concept of horror vacui – the fear of emptiness (void) and therefor the urge to fill it – I developed a narrative videocollage, by working with my experiences in those unoccupied spaces and found traces from the past.

 
 

ÉGOÏSTE

 Hong Kong 2013

The narrowness and density of Hong Kong is felt everywhere. The high value of the ground and real estate leads to the scarcity of payable living spaces. In the center of the city where apartments are being changed into office spaces this is additionally intensified. 

In the neighborhood around the Blue house we found an apartment house. The building had been finished in 1990. The 70 apartments of „ain terrace“ were never sold. Nobody ever has been living of one of those apartments.

For 23 years the building is standing in the middle of Hong Kong with no inhabitants. Many of the residents of the neighbourhood aren’t familiar with the empty apartment building although it stands directly in the vicinity. 

The building is no longer accessible and cannot even be seen from the street.

Seven women from the neighbourhood have seen it.


In the context of an artist in residence program, realized by Goethe Institute Hong Kong in Hong Kong Melanie Humann and Janin Walter created an group performance which was captured.

 
 

TRUE GIRLS SHOW

2011

Our concepts of reality and our longings are shaped by our cultural background and by the media around us. 


Media like TV and advertisements in daily life present us with a certain picture, we can obly find a few elements of a different culture which can fit in our culture. We find this phenomenon as much in Western as in Eastern culture. According to our cultural background, we develop a mental picture of our longings. This desired picture of reality is a projection of something far away, a kind of fiction.


In the very beginning of our process, we conducted interviews with 30 woman, aged 15 to 56, from Guangzhouh, Zengcheng and Shenzhen. We tried to find out what kind of picture, in terms of living space, they longed for. We developed 30 questions, which they answered, and we also asked them to draw their ideal living space. After evaluating the answers, we tried to develop a space that would come close to an average picture of their desired living situation. Through the filter of a Western view, we developed a space that only can be a vague representation of an interpretation of their mental picture.

 
 
 

©2020 Janin Walter