„... Wag´ es getrost, und du wirst es nicht bereuen. Eigentümliche Freuden und Genüsse werden dich begleiten.
Du wirst Entdeckungen machen, denn überall, wohin du kommst, wirst du vom Touristenstandpunkt aus, eintreten wie in ein jungfräuliches Land...“
The landscape described by Theodor Fontane is still early untouched 150 years after his noted observation. The Ruppiner Heide is among the most original nature preserves in Germany. Instead of urban sprawl one finds about 20 village communities along the Rheinsberger, Ruppiner and Kyritzer lakes, which emerge like pearls from the woods and fields of the Ostprignitz landscape. Its churches' were founded in the 14th century, the village confines point towards the foresight of the 16th century , tree-lined streets and residences announce their baroque prosperity. Friedrich II wrote letters to Voltaire from Rheinsberg and witnesses to the 19th century are omnipresent in works by students of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, who was born in Neuruppin. The Ruppiner Land presents a unique symbiosis between nature and culture. When coming from Berlin it is difficult to believe one encounters this enclave of tranquil nature after an hour-long drive. Idyllic villages poised on the edges of crystal-clear lakes, spa resorts near peaceful woods, organic farming, healthy forests, small towns and cultural life: is this a dream? Is the dream over? Can the dream remain a reality?
Point of Departure
In the heart of this untouched countryside, the Federal Army plans to install the so-called Bombodrom, an area encompassing approx. 35,000 acres for troop maneuvers, aerial and bombing exercises. Its realization and resulting continuous simulation of war would destroy the area in every aspect. The idea is as absurd as unacceptable to the 50,000 residents of the Ruppiner Land as well as to outsiders. For many years, local residents have offered resistance to the proposal and garnered widespread, non-partisan support. Especially active are the local groups Freie Heide and Pro Heide, which are supported by the Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB) [German Trade Union Federation] and numerous smaller organizations. Annual peace marches, impromptu memorials and strong media presence demonstrate the residents' extraordinary level of commitment to preserving this unique cultural landscape. Several lawsuits in the Higher Administrative Court are pending. In a collaborative effort, these various groups now want to draw widespread attention to the region beyond the political and environmental activists currently involved. In accordance with their motto Frieden kommt nicht mit Gewalt (Peace Does Not Come by Force/Violence Does Not Win Peace) the DGB, Freie Heide and Pro Heide are initiating an art project involving national and international artists, cultural workers and friends of art in projects aimed to preserve the region.
...So himmlisch alles klingt als wie im Vaterhaus
und über die Lerchen schwingt die Seele sich hinaus.
Independent curator Erik Bruinenberg, known for his large-scale public art projects, was invited to curate an exhibition that will highlight the particular topographical context while at the same time expanding it. The project Bomb-O-Dream brings exceptional national and international art projects together to connect and interact with the local geographical and cultural conditions. The project addresses the residents of the Ruppiner Land as well as art goers from Berlin, Hamburg, and other larger cities. An art route along the individual village churches can be visited either by car, bike, or public bus beginning in Neuruppin. Visitors will be able to experience works of art, video installations, and performances in these churches. Airplane hangars in Neuruppin and/or Wittstock are transformed into projection surfaces for film screenings and music performances. Towers with neon signs in the surrounding area direct viewers to the special events from far away. Comparable far-ranging art projects testify to the gravitational force of art and culture, not catering to an elite but conceived in dialogue with a particular geographic and cultural point of reference. The interconnections between those parts of the region divided by the Bombodrom is to be emphasized. Several art spaces exist in the area, such as in Netzeband, which could participate in and contribute to the project. It is obvious that the local residents are very involved in the development of the area. Their engagement is to be incorporated, offered and transferred to the visitor. In July and August, city dwellers like to take trips to lakes and cool woods. When visiting the exhibition Bomb-O-Dream, they will be able to combine a short getaway to nature with the experience of art.
Since the proposed artists all create work in and for specific sites, the historical significance of a particular place is an essential aspect of their practice. In their work, these artists engage with dualities whose significance only comes to the fore when experienced alongside each other. They visualize oppositional pairs such as war and piece, untouched and ruined nature, past and future. Even the title Bomb-O-Dream illustrates that the project is on the one hand concerned with a very real situation (the presence of military operations) and on the other with the dream of a utopian alternative. Thematically the work can be understood as coming from Christian or humanitarian ethics, and yet this is not religious art. Since the church is increasingly defining its role with respect to its social, cultural, and global responsibilities, its buildings offer ideal spaces for works of art, not only in respect to infrastructure, but primarily from an ethical point of view. Whether pristine or derelict, people gravitate towards churches as points of orientation. Visitors will be pleasantly surprised by the combination of sacral structures and contemporary, performative and electronic art.
In Bomb-O-Dream presents a cultural map of the Ruppiner Land. Central locations will be marked artistically, and thereby introduced to a larger public as peaceful, future-oriented, and communicative spaces. The project is geared towards developing long-term cultural projects in the region. Through concerted press outreach, the exhibition will be instrumental in drawing nationwide attention to the cultural life and nature of Ruppin. Readings, musical performances, and lectures will accompany the art exhibition, creating a diverse offering of cultural events to residents and visitors. As in the case of the Neuruppiner Bilderbogen, this event engages with particular historical, social and cultural issues and reaches out to a diverse public. Bomb-O-Dream wants to speak out against war and for incultural dialogue and exchange. A structural framework cannot be forced, it can grow from dreams and has to be nutured. That is the purpose of this exhibition.