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Findings and Speculations in an Involuntary Park

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Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum
Hakim Bey in his essay
'The Temporary Autonomous Zone' introduces the concept of 'Pirate Utopias' - small chains of islands in the middle of oceans that lie beyond the area covered by maps and therefore outside the space controlled or owned by states. Bey suggests that these small pieces of land operated under an organic form of government and communication -a kind of accidental, anarchist utopia. The era of Pirate Utopias, however, ended with the completion of the global map -the last section of this global atlas to be completed being the 'terra incognita' of Antarctica. Hakim Bey proposes that, since these times, the only vestiges of these utopian realms lie in the Temporary Autonomous Zones of the essay's title. These are the areas, or moments in time, where the map breaks down and so lie outside the reach of coherent control. A prime example of one of these zones is land that is waiting to be developed -land that is held in a kind of limbo state between its past function and the dreams and blueprints of its future use. Land where strange and unexpected things can happen. Mobile Research Station no.1 is a research station conceived to investigate one of these zones of uncertainty. Built on the base of a domestic skip ( baue- mull-container' ) the station is an absurd apparition -a kind of parody of the 'big-science' research-stations erected in the whiteness of the polar regions or the blackness of space. In summer 2009 for a period of three months Mobile Research Station no.1 offered a team of aesthetic scientists a secure base from which to make their investigations of the surrounding wilderness. The investigations were so called 'blue-sky research' -i.e. research projects that have no preset outcomes. The coordinating researcher is Simon Faithfull. Participating researchers were Martin John Callanan, Nick Crowe, Simon Faithful, Tim Knowles, Annika Lundgren, Katie Paterson, Esther Polak and Ian Rawlinson.

The Site:
Mobile Research Station no.1 was commissioned by Skulpturenpark Berlin_Zentrum for their project Wunderland. Rather than a formal garden with monumental sculptures, the 'sculpture park' actually consists of a stretch of wasteland left over from the 'death strip' that was the Berlin Wall.

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