About the exhibition »New Urban Production«

The question of production is an essential one when it comes to societal change and social organisation. It's connected to global power relations, it influences values and working conditions, and not least, it has a substantial interrelationship with the built city. The exhibition project »New Urban Production« (curated by the planning office tri:polis) is searching for a new relationship between art, design and technology and their visibility in urban space. Here, labour should be displayed respectfully and proudly, not hidden behind closed doors far from living spaces.

In the past centuries, the course of industrialisation, mobilisation and globalisation has separated the areas that are traditionally closely intertwined in city life - housing, leisure and work. In the second half of the 20th century, the outsourcing of industrial work to so-called emerging countries culminated in a global division of labour. Industrial production and its associated economic and ecological exploitation thus became increasingly invisible to the Western hemisphere. In recent decades, an opposite movement in cities involving the reintegration of agriculture, manufacturing and industry can be observed. These are mainly small-scale production, working with a do-it-yourself spirit not only on unique products, but also with surprising production formats.

In urban studies, this renaissance is described as »urban manufacturing« or »new urban production«. These forms of production are driven by digital technologies and go hand-in-hand with the ideal of a just and sustainable balance between work and life. The manufacturing process increases in importance and becomes an integral part of the product. Values include a conscious handling of resources, high individuality and local production. Even in Leipzig, an active scene of social enterprises in artisanal crafts and food production is growing.

Located at the intersection of art, experimental design, and social engagement, this exhibition will transform the historically listed 19th century industrial building of HALLE 14 into a temporary place for »new urban production«. Production lines, machines and workshops from nine design initiatives from the UK, the Netherlands, Israel and Germany (among others) will shift the production process back to the centre of attention. These metaphorical and artistic approaches encourage imagination and questioning and illuminate different facets of this topic. Their production methods and formal language use inexpensive materials from home improvement stores, combine traditional techniques with digital technologies - or deliberately exclude them. They are sometimes surprisingly simple, always exciting and have a visionary approach to production in the 21st century.


Benno Brucksch: ErdeWachsStift, 2017

The works of Benno Brucksch spotlight elements perceived as all too obvious, like light, water and earth. They play with staging as well as their translation into new, unusual formats. In this way, Brucksch reveals qualities and meanings of materials hidden in everyday life. Earth is an important part of our lives. It can be home, a nurturing ground, past and future. Just as it means something different to each person, earth is not just earth. Origin, occupation and environment play a role in our relationship to it.

Earth in its diversity of colours is the raw material for Brucksch's work »ErdeWachsStift«. The shades of different soil samples from different locations range from light beige to dark brown. In addition to regional soils from Halle, the Mansfeld Land, Magdeburg or the Börde, Brucksch also works with earth from Windhoek in Namibia and the island Krk in Croatia. The production process starts with excavating the earth. Usually Brucksch finds the desired earth tones starting at 50 cm deep. Next, the earth is ground into a fine powder and then blended with hot palm wax, beeswax and canola seed wax. The liquid mixture is then poured into a mould Brucksch has made. The recipe for this liquid has been developed by Brucksch himself.

The crayons are reminiscent in colour of their regions of origin and show the different meanings and manifestations of earth.

Daniel de Bruin: This new technology. The world's first analogue 3D printer, 2015

Daniel De Bruin's has a deeply-rooted curiosity about the functioning of devices and machinery. He is interested in their technical sophistication as well as their influence on our life and environment. As a passionate model builder, the Netherlander knows the absolute need for precision in handwork and a dedicated human involvement in the process of inventing.

The impetus for the project »This new technology« was a feeling of alienation about digital manufacturing with 3D printers. Is it still one's own work when a machine takes over the process of making, or is it only the preprogrammed results of this new technology? Out of this need for his own authorship, the artist decided to design a 3D printer himself, changing how it functioned. The first analogue 3D printer in the world produces original ceramic vessels. The only energy source required is Daniel de Bruin's physical strength, with which he uses a weight to set a chain drive in motion. The shape of the ceramic vessels is not controlled by a CAD program on a computer. Before each new manufacturing process, de Bruin bends a wire that serves as a guide for the mechanism and determines the shape of the vessel. Thus individual pieces emerge spontaneously. Machine and human work together, on par with each other, and the creation process remains in one's own hands.

Granby Workshop, since 2015

36 Jumbo Terrazzo Tiles, Splatware (3 plates, 4 cups), catalogue, 6 photographies, videos

Granby is an area in the northern English port of Liverpool. In the past, port workers, servants and artisans lived in the 19th century Victorian row houses. People from a mixture of different backgrounds and ethnic groups have always lived here. Beginning in the 1970s, the area was seriously neglected; in the 1980s it was characterised by street battles. The city administrationwanted to solve the problem through eminent domain and demolition. A large part of the district disappeared. Beginning in 2010, five residents took the initiative to save the last remaining four roads, the Granby Four Streets: they planted trees and shrubs, painted empty houses, cleaned up and blocked a bulldozer. With the Community Land Trust, they brought a democratic form of land ownership into being, buying 10 of the 180 houses in Granby.

They worked together with the architectural collective Assemble for the renovation of the 10 houses. From the simple idea of making things tailor-made for these homes, the Granby Workshop for architectural ceramics was born. The rubble from demolished houses is mixed with cement. This is fired to create the terrazzo-like »Granby Rock« from which they build, for example, fireplace mantels. With the »Cut-Out Tiles«, each tile is individually designed with a silhouette motif. The coloured cups and plates of »Splatware« come from different coloured clays from a 60-ton hydraulic press. The initiative, which received Britain’s important Turner Art Prize in 2015, evolved into a social enterprise where 14 artists work in the heart of Granby today. Everything remains in local circulation, and each product is unique, showing care, respect and creativity in the revival of four historical streets.

Leon Kurcharski: Temaki Sneaker, 2016

Hardly ever has a product become the symbol of an unfair, globalised division of labour as the sneaker (trainer). Produced with low costs, often under questionable conditions in Asian emerging markets, transported on huge overseas freighters through conflict zones, emotionally charged with expensive image campaigns, they become an expensive brand-name product for Western consumers. The consumers suspect or probably know that they are wearing a product of global injustice on their feet, but that doesn't necessarily change their behaviour. Those who produce these sneakers, could never afford them. Leon Kucharski questions this value creation strategy by putting the individual and manual manufacturing operation in public view. His »Temaki Sneaker« results from a one-hour act that the manufacturer and customer consciously experience together. In Japanese, »Temaki« means »hand rolled«. Just as in a sushi restaurant, Leon Kurcharski's shoes are assembled right before the client's eyes. Passers-by can also witness the production. For production of the »Temaki Sneaker«, the buyer sits on a high chair. From rope, foam and other components, Leon Kurcharski puts together the shoes and adapts them individually to the customer's foot. The elastic materials ensure optimum comfort and stabilise the foot. Through conversation, the artist and the shoe buyer get to know each other, and individual needs can be addressed. At the end, one leaves the chair with the finished product on one's feet and a reminder of a very special experience.

mischer’traxler: »The Idea of a Tree«, ongoing since 2008

In 2009 Katharina Mischer and Thomas Traxler founded the design studio mischer’traxler in Vienna. Their objects and furniture are often experimental and develop through interactive processes that always have a poetic component.

»The Idea of a Tree« is inspired by the growth of trees. Driven solely by solar energy, a machine autonomously produces objects such as lampshades and benches. The machine »Recorder One« starts production as soon as the sun comes up and stops at sunset. First, a thread is inked in a basin, then pulled through another tank with adhesive and finally wrapped around a form. At the end of a day an object is »harvested«. In the resulting object, one can read the weather conditions of the day and place of formation – similar to how one can understand age and growth conditions in the rings of a tree. More sun produces thicker layers in lighter tones; less sun creates thinner, darker layers. Every cloud and every shadow shapes the appearance of the new object. Objects produced at the equator will always have the same height, while items produced in northern and central Europe mark off the seasons. Countries with a high rate of precipitation yield darker and smaller objects than sunnier regions. No two results are the same. With the installation, mischer‘traxler pursue the vision of a harmonious and successful cooperation between nature and machine, hand craft and technology.

Itay Ohaly: Line 011 - Creative Factory 1/ UnPacking, 2012

Production Line, various materials, tools, 2 UnPacking Tables, 2011 & 2012, 4 UnPacking Vases, 2010- 13

In 2012, together with Thomas Vailly, Itay Ohaly curated the exhibition »C-Fabriek« in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, showing 14 production lines by designers. Both the manufacturing process and the finished products should be visible in the exhibition. The production lines were studio, production space, exhibition and sales area at the same time. The audience had an unmediated view of the production methods and processes. The production line shown here, »Line 011 – Creative Factory 1« by Israeli designer Itay Ohaly himself, was developed in 2012 for this exhibition. Ohaly has worked for years on a new experimental language of design that blends factors from life, society and culture with visual and emotional experiences. The series »UnPacking Objects« from »Line 011« deals especially with coincidence in the design of objects. In the first step, a mould is drilled out of a polystyrene block. These are filled with coloured synthetic resin, which is distributed evenly into the mould by a rotating frame. Then the resin cures. The Styrofoam shapes the vases, bowls and tables, and its characteristic structure creates the surface texture. The Styrofoam block also serves as packaging for transport. Ohaly deliberately puts the final creative act of unpacking into the hands of customers. It is left to the purchaser to decide whether to remove all of the Styrofoam packing or to leave fragments of it on the object. Each »UnPacking Object« is an original; its form determined by chance and the design ideas of the customer.


Stefanie Rittler: streetplastic, 2016

Production machine, 11 streetplastic bags

The well-travelled Berlin designer Stefanie Rittler translates her experiences and her interest in world affairs in sometimes pragmatic, but mostly humorous ways in her works. In the mobile manufacturing plant »streetplastic«, a collector‘s item is produced from a disposable plastic bag. Rittler moves through the streets with the machine, similarly to a mobile food cart like one might see in China. This becomes the site of improvised production. Passers-by can have an original designer bag made out of old disposable bags. A new, white plastic bag is stretched onto a cutting mould, the assembly line is cranked, and the old plastic bag is put into the funnel above and shredded. In a hot press, the plastic shreds are stamped into shape and melted onto the new plastic bag. The material is thicker, the bag more durable, and the new design unique. The machine includes the consumer in the upcycling process, inserting mindfulness into the relationship with the object. »streetplastic« is certainly not meant to be practical, but rather a public statement against obsessive consumption and pollution. The average lifespan of a plastic bag is only 20 minutes. Up to 18,000 plastic parts are swimming on every square kilometre of sea surface.

Ottonie von Roeder & Anastasia Eggers: Cow&Co, 2017

Cow dummy, milking robot, balloon, Video: 2:30 min

The designers Ottonie von Roeder and Anastasia Eggers submit a speculative counterproposal to conventional milk production in the dairy industry. A herd of cows has joined forces to form their own company »Cow&Co«. They produce and sell fresh milk autonomously. Modern technology helps them do so, in the form of a milking robot, a weather balloon, a tracking transmitter and an app. The cows move freely through the city, in parks, for example. Whoever wants to buy milk simply looks for a cow on the mobile app. Once the cow is found, you can watch as the robot milks the cow. The milking robot works completely without human help, following the cow at every turn and milking the cow when it‘s ready. It is powered by methane gas – a fuel that the cow itself releases. Until the gas is burnt, it is stored temporarily in the weather balloon. Payment is also completed via mobile phone. The revenues can provide veterinary care, food and technical maintenance of the robots. The cows are also equipped with a well-being sensor that allows them to evaluate their clientele, but also to use the data for technical, veterinary and nutrition care. »Cow&Co« criticises the current relationship between livestock and society. It brings the cows into the city, explains them, and connects them with the milk consumers. The project pictorially addresses exploitation and cruelty to animals and promotes a reflection on animal welfare and ethics.

Studio Swine: Can City, 2013

2 Can City stools, photography, Video directed by Juriaan Booji: 3:00 min

Studio Swine, a collaboration between Japanese architect Azusa Murakami and British artist Alexander Groves, developed the project »Can City« in the Brazilian megacity of São Paulo. Its 20million inhabitants produce garbage on a gigantic scale, and an informal army of independent garbage collectors earns its living by gathering 80 percent of the recyclable material with handmade carts. »Can City« explores the opportunity to bring industry back into the cities, expanding the business of these so-called »catadores«. Studio Swine designed a mobile foundry from found objects, including an old beer barrel. With it, old cans can be melt down to cast pieces of furniture and other requested objects. All the necessary raw materials and tools are harvested from the streets of São Paulo. Old vegetable oil from local cafés is used as fuel. The objects are made from the molten aluminium using the sand casting process. The sand comes from the surrounding construction sites; the moulds are derived from found objects. Palm leaves, bricks and steel create a site-specific aesthetic. The stool shown here was made for sellers at a food market from the garbage generated there. Using this cast-on-request procedure, an infinite number of individual aluminium parts can be made and spontaneously adapted to the users’ needs.