Nowadays audio guides are provided in many museums and other sites, and they also come in a variety of forms as guided walking tours of cities, enabling people to take a tour at their own convenience. The audio guide is a cross between a traditional city or exhibition guide and an audiobook, and is above all a way of sharing knowledge.
The grand tradition of art in public spaces, as it appears in different forms all over Hamburg, represents a crucial part of so-called public sculpture. This, among many other things, distinguishes the city’s character. Public sculpture of this nature is above all an indicator and guarantee for an on-going public dialogue on art, world affairs, society, and the key issue: how do we want to live?
This audio guide covers around 100 sites spread over various districts of Hamburg’s inner city. As well as discussing artistic and other aspects of the sites they visit, the two protagonists Thea von Testing and Ludwig Lektor also shed light on what the art historian and long-serving head of Hamburg’s culture department, Professor Volker Plagemann, calls “public sculpture”.
You can listen to Thea and Ludwig’s conversations in situ at each respective location and put together an individual tour of your own. We have suggested three longish walks that are thematically linked, but this doesn’t mean you have to do all three in their entirety.
The tour called “Palms, Ships and Concrete” takes us from the Reeperbahn to the Deichtorhallen and presents the wealth of everything typically associated with Hamburg. Against a backdrop of tradition, politics, mysteriously vanished artworks, and architectural ostentation, this tour focuses on art, accidental and deliberate designs, grand works and strange agglomerations, loud streets and quiet vantage points.
In their discussions, Thea von Testing expresses the views of a politically critical cultural historian, socialised within pop culture, while Ludwig Lektor is more a classical teacher of art history who generally derives his knowledge from books and source material, and who judges things according to strict notions of quality.
Whenever it’s possible or helpful, Thea and Ludwig discuss contentious issues with the artists themselves.
The audio guide is funded by the Hamburg Ministry of Culture. As an ongoing project that was started in 2009, it aims to foster a greater understanding and awareness of art in public space in Hamburg. In cooperation with the revisionsverlag, the participating voice actors, translators, researchers and recording producers, we have assembled a differentiated and varied spectrum of ideas and information about artworks, strategies and urban space as they have evolved from the past to the present. We hope you enjoy these discussions, which seldom make a distinction between high and low culture, and in both a formal and a thematic sense see themselves as part of the tradition of art in public space.
Thea von Testing: Jacqueline Todd
Ludwig Lektor: Matthew Partridge
Erzähler: Mascha Litterscheid
O-Töne: Raimund Kummer, Volker Plagemann, Markus Lohmann, Christoph Schäfer, Pfelder, Jan Meyer Rogge, Klara Bolle, Bogomir Ecker, Thomas Stricker
Technische Produktionsleitung: Jan Rimkeit
Produktionsleitung und Autor: Armin Chodzinski
Revisionsverlag 2012 im Auftrag der Kulturbehörde Hamburg
So what exactly is public art? And what does it actually refer to? Who or what is it about?
So this is the Reeperbahn, the world-famous red-light district? It looks a bit… grim… not at all glamourous or cosmopolitan, as I’d imagined it would be… I mean… Can you tell me something about the history of this place?
Look, a ring!! That house is wearing a ring!
This is about participation, being involved, in other words it’s about art as a social practice rather than physical works… the production of desires in Park Fiction
It’s a shop that resembles a museum in many ways, a huge place filled with everything you can imagine – and a few things you can’t! A bit like a cabinet of curiosities… it’s a wunderkammer!
The artist who painted the famous portrait of chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Studied under Joseph Beuys. Favourite of the tabloids. A Statue and a Bar.
The dancing towers, also known as the Tango Towers, designed by the Hamburg architect Hadi Teherani. The gateway to the Reeperbahn, as it were, with 65,000sqm surface area and 22 and 24 stories high respectively. A new landmark for Hamburg.
An important element of these monuments to Bismarck, and the aim of the commissioners in Hamburg was also to clearly upstage Berlin’s Bismarck monument.
In the harbour. Luginbühl created this iron object especially for this site, using pieces of scrap he found in the port and shipyards. - And then put together to make an animal. Not bad…
People say she didn’t exist or that if she did she was a man, because mostly they only know the theatre play called the “Zitronenjette” and in that her role was usually played by a man.
Charlemagne had a baptistery built around here in 810 as part of his campaign to evangelize northern Germany. So we are standing truly in the historical heart of Hamburg…
“In the course of my research into ornaments in relation to architectural layouts and urban forms of human communal life, I came across a bridge railing made up of individual star-shaped elements…”
This is a BID, a B-I-D, a Business Improvement District and that is a statue of Lord Mayor Petersen in his robes of office, depicted in an orator’s pose and finished in 1892 by the sculptor Viktor Tilgner.
So the artist develops these shiny steel objects. Immaculately made, with no visible traces of production whatsoever.
It’s a fairly unique fountain. A technical tour-de-force made by the sculptor Georg Ernst to complete the overall artistic design for the new building of the Landeszentralbank in 1981, which is now the Bundesbank, the regional central bank.
Science according to Grover – the principle of above, beneath and through as a universal research method! But what does “Cremon” mean?
A granite block, split horizontally into three sections. The middle block is cut all the way round into five vertical sections. The inner core, smoothed and polished, has been removed.
It’s called the “Trostbrücke”, which means the ‘bridge of solace’, and is said to have been standing since the 12th century.
The kind of autonomous sculpture I usually make wouldn’t do here, because in this case it also involved fulfilling a task.
Seven steel plates, each measuring 180 x 180 cm and 1 cm thick, with a single word engraved centrally along one side of the plate, 8 cm from the edge. Roman typeface, cap size 7 cm. The words are: ORT (place), ZEIT (time), RAUM (space), KÖRPER (body), RICHTUNG (direction), BEWEGUNG (movement), INNEN-AUSSEN (inside-outside)
The figures give rise to something completely different, something that… that points beyond all of this… they’re not an illustration but something in its own right and somehow apposite…
Ah, the famous Chilehaus. It’s featured in absolutely every tourist guide. But why exactly?
It used to be here. It means “Vedere, that which can be focused”… Bogomir Ecker’s artwork was installed here temporarily as part of Aussendienst, a public art project that was organized by the Hamburg Ministry of Culture and the then director of the Kunstverein, Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen…
6 winter-hardy windmill palms, 300 reed plants, 8 species of bamboo, 39 different grasses, 35 varieties of flowering wild plants, 300 poplar trunks inoculated with oyster mushroom spawn, various fungi – and, for financial reasons, no rhubarb.
Until the mid-1960s the two halls housed the city’s main wholesale market. As they were right next to the harbour, flowers from all over the world were bought and sold here.
So as we’ve been wandering around on the city stage, looking at what it has to offer… we’ve also been observed.