Bulgarian artist HR-Stamenov
Bulgarian artist HR-Stamenov

BERLIN |  Between 10 pm and midnight, a ghost train sped through Berlin and disappeared into a light hole.

It was not just any metro train. It was an actual train that had disappeared from Bulgaria some years ago under mysterious circumstances. Now this train has been making appearances at different places and different times. Eyewitnesses spotted this ghost train speeding by Berlin’s Lab for Electronic Arts and Performance (LEAP), an interdisciplinary project for electronic, digital media arts and performance that aims to initiate the dialogue between art, science and technology in Germany.

Is it performance design?

Located in the center of Berlin―at the LEAP venue on Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse at Alexanderplatz―the ghost train passes through or stops at at the central city station (Alexanderplatz) for every couple of minutes. The appearances are ironic, because LEAP’s glass facade, as can be noted in this picture, directly faces the central city station where other real metro trains do indeed speed by as well.

LEAP in Berlin
LEAP in Berlin

Where is this ghost train going? As best as anyone can guess, it whizzes and rumbles by, accompanied by an ambient score, and then is swallowed by a light hole, a kind of space/time portal that allows the train to be observed in nontraditional locations in Milan, Florence and Munich.

From October 26 to 31, 2013, HR-Stamenov staged the phenomenon of this train’s appearance to be observed in Berlin. The Bulgarian artist’s time-based electronic visual art piece, called The Phenomenon of W24°58’59,43″ N42°07’55,29″, took the form of a light and sound installation and video projections.

The art practice of HR-Stamenov is defined by a playful exploration of public spaces as well as quantum-mechanical and optical phenomena. This young European artist, born in 1981, creates alternative visions of specific places.  To do so, he might explore technology, a specific space, the human body and presence, text and theory, contextual, video, sound and light works. His urban experiments refers to historical events, scientific research and, in this case, staged paranormal phenomena.

The Phenomenon of W24°58’59,43″ N42°07’55,29″ toys with the image of a ghost metro train traveling throughout Europe.  It ignores physics, gaps between buildings, space and time. As always HR-Stamenov plays with light. The ghost metro train seems to want to become a a travelling myth, an artifact itself that could appear at any public space unpredictably.

We are unable to track its route or starting point. Leaving passers-by bewildered with what they have just seen, the piece illustrates the use of public space by turning the train into a screen-based visual phenomenon. It looks and sounds like a real train. Then it morphs into a screen, a motion picture, a blinking advertising sign. As they sometimes say about theater, it looks very convincing.

LEAP’s central concept is based on experimental research in digital technologies and media, which shape and change our present and future society and stimulate new discourses, discussions and questions. Given that mission, LEAP seemed an appropriate space for HR-Stamenov’s light-and-sound projects which depend on interactive technologies, the actual presence of urban viewers and on the imaginative shadow of ghostly confusion by means of art. –rg


The phenomenon of W24° 5859,43 N42° 0755,29″ in Berlin
Venue: LEAP, Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 13, 10178 Berlin
info@leapknecht.de http://www.leapknecht.de/

Space 0 Space
Venue: Bevilacqua la Masa Foundation in Venice

a video document from another HR-Samenov installation, which consisted in series of thunderstorms and the lightning strike in interior spaces of a small Venetian Palazzo and various palaces in Turin, Belgrade, Ljubljana, Florence and Plovdiv between 2010 and 2012

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2 thoughts on “PERFORMANCE DESIGN? | A ghost train from Bulgaria, composed of sound and lights, speeds through Berlin’s city center

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