ghost shelters

There is a place in the centre of Berlin which used to be an overground bunker, providing shelter up to 4,000 people at a time inside its 1,50 m thick concrete walls. Later, it was a prison, a cooling storage facility for bananas and oranges, a techno club, an experimental theatre, a gay dark-room and finally, the Sammlung Boros: a five storey art collection with a residential penthouse at the top, or also a detached family house with five levels of cellar space underneath; perception depending on the user. Even if renovated a few years ago, it is still possible to recognise the overlapping cutaneous layers of history at some of its walls, which were left untouched, the concrete floor framework perforated though. Small remaining details reveal their former presence, like toilet drainage pipes covered mouths.

From the walls is also hanging Florian Slotawa‘s work, among others. A series of photographs of ghost interactions with rooms of cheap motels. Around 1998-1999 he built shelters in the chambers he stayed overnight, using only existing elements. He rearranged and recontextualized everyday objects in elaborate compositions. A door from Prague could be used as a roof for his small hut; the tacky landscape picture as a wall in Dresden; the table in Kassel could be a perfect support for the suspended bed base… After immortalizing every shelter with his camera, he slept in that newly achieved cavity, and reorganised everything back to its original position the following morning before leaving. Like in movies, hotel rooms can be used for smuggling transactions, illegitimate love affairs or radical changes of identity. No trace evidence after guests vanish. Maybe the cleaning lady is the only one noticing that the table is slightly displaced.

[1-6> Florian Slotawa’s series of hotel shelters 1998-1999 via Sammlung Boros][7> Sammlung Boros concrete wall with different layers of uses by deconcrete2011]

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