Panorama for an archaeology of the present/M2.1

  Architectural sketch Copyright: © Barker 1793

Movements of awakening and the desire for change for a better future are caused by political and ecological crises, in the course of which formerly favourable living conditions increasingly turn into conditions hostile to life. Although the 'human being' is considered intelligent, it is confronted again and again, especially since the Anthropocene era, with the fact that it can neither foresee nor plan, let alone control, the actual dynamics of future events, despite scientific knowledge and existing technologies (Harari, 2017). This dilemma, which also arises for planners, is the focus of the PANORAMA project: as a mass medium of the 19th century (see fig.), panoramas used two- and three-dimensional brochures to present historical, present and also future scenarios of public spaces.
The thematic focus of the project is the Rhenish mining area: a region that has been dynamically transforming itself for generations, which on the one hand is ecologically and socially burdened by open-cast mining and on the other hand has become the subject for visions of sustainable energy landscapes, recultivation strategies and so-called Innovation Valleys. The inter-faculty initiative REVIERa and the "networked teaching" that takes place for this purpose in the winter semester (with the chairs of landscape architecture, hydrogeology and climate research, among others) serve as a platform for the exchange of the upcoming structural change and its planning processes.
In the M2.1 project, we first devote ourselves to the here and now and ask: How can we incorporate our individual experiences, our being present and attentive observation of the signs and traces of time in a place into a vision of the whole, elaborated in the pictorial space of a panorama? To what extent is the promise of "being able to see everything" a dream of humanity and merely a matter of perspective that ultimately remains fragmentary, individual and subjective? We consciously ask ourselves these questions and embark on a search for an archaeology of the present (Foucault, 1969).
Accordingly, the first semester is characterised by site analyses (field studies, artistic appropriation processes, explorative interventions), excursions (northern edge of Garzweiler, Hombroich Island, visits to cultural sites of illusion and staging DenHaag/Berlin) and typological investigations of historical circular buildings (papers on panoramas, observatories, planetariums, etc.). In addition, the first semester will focus on determining the location, developing pictorial scenarios and individual hypotheses.
On this basis, the panorama is concretely located in the second semester and interpreted as an architectural INSTRUMENT for the development and communication of future scenarios. The aim of M2.2 is to further develop panoramas as cultural places of reflection, encounter and discourse and to design them as a "machine de vision" (Virilio, 1989) in the sense of Virilio. The aim is to transfer the historical typology of the 'Pan horama' (Pan: all and whole, horama: seeing, appearance) into a contemporary, functionally and semantically based conceptual interpretation. In individual cases, this can also lead to completely new design characteristics in terms of dimension and form, temporality and position in space. Depending on the conceptual character, (de-) central places between installation art and architecture emerge as intermedial constellations (Rebentisch 2017), in which the tactile dimension of experience and reception of space (Benjamin 1936) is also in the foreground.

Partner work possible, especially in M2.1.

Prof. Thomas H. Schmitz Hannah Groninger Dominik Mohs