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Installation in Berlin: Between Stability and Instability

Svenja Binz

An unusual work of public art has recently been presented in Berlin: the installation “Drehmoment” (“torque”) by Berlin artist group realities:united.

The installation activates the public space in front of the upcoming “Futurium”. © 2018 Axel Schmidt by courtesy of realities:united, Berlin




Between Berlin’s main station and the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, an unusual work of public art has recently been previewed to the public. The installation is titled “Drehmoment”, which translates into English as “torque”, and was created by the Berlin-based artist and architectural group “realities:united”.

The kinetic sculpture is the result of an open art-in-architecture competition held in 2015 and launched by the German “Institute of Federal Real Estate”. After a two-year developmental phase, the installation was finally handed over to the “Futurium”, Berlin’s upcoming “Center for Shaping the Future”. The permanent installation “Drehmoment” is the first work by “realities:united” to be shown in public space in the city of Berlin.

Suddenly, the installation awakens from its resting state

The artwork itself is supposed to remind us of a “dramatically enlarged circus act”. A four meter wide ring rotates on top of a thirteen-meters-tall, curved steel mast. However, not much seems to happen at first. Then, the installation awakens from its resting state. The rotation speed increases slowly but steadily. Quickly, the movement becomes faster. The ring rotates more dynamically. Finally, the rotational force lifts the ring from its support. Tumbling and stable at the same time, it balances along the tip of the rotating mast until the speed finally decreases and the ring returns to its original position.

Not only the technical implementation of this kinetic sculpture is remarkable. The installation achieves one thing above all else – it evokes human emotion. “Drehmoment” triggers something in our innermost consciousness. The regular, circular movement and the balance of the individual elements have a calming and pleasing effect. At the same time the viewer’s mind anticipates a possible collapse of this given balance, since it seems as if the ring could drop off any minute. The feeling of grace and calm mixes with deep concern and unease.

The artwork as a “silent commentary of building”

This emotional experience is in dialogue with the programmatic focus of “Futurium”, which is to develop into an exhibition space for “future-oriented, scientific and technical developments of national and international significance”.

The artwork relates to development-based future questions of our human existence. It embodies the simultaneity of stability and instability as an essential part of our dynamic and technologically driven society. “Drehmoment” intends to motivate visitors to question the contents of “Futurium”, as well as their everyday experiences. The artists themselves understand the installation as a “silent commentary on building”.

Curious visitors can already observe the artwork at any time. However, we have to wait until next year to finally see “Drehmoment” in daily motion. All the more so, we look forward to the official opening of “Drehmoment” and “Futurium” in September 2019.

Medium Rectangle


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