steffenschoeni: Karl Steffen, Heidi Schöni

"Nothing to declare", Bodensee-Triennale (Lake Constance), Friedrichshafen (DE), 2008 April 04. to June 22.
German vers. 4. Triennale Zeitgenössische Kunst

Project of steffenschöni: < A4 > < Aggregat 4 >

< A4 >, means < Aggregat 4 > , this was the first fully functional large rocket, also known as "V2",
(Vergeltungswaffe 2). The armed forces called it simply „das Gerät“ (the equipment).
In addition it is considered as the first object, which broke through the border to space .
Equipped with warheads, starting from 1944, English and Belgian cities were bombarded.
In connection with the manufacturing of the A4-rocket as well as the flight bomb V1,
about 12'000 forced laborers died, to official counting in the SS documents.
On the other hand approx. 8'000 victims died by the employment of the V2 as weapon.
The „ V2 factory“, in Ober-Raderach and the A4 manufacturing at the Zeppelin company, in Friedrichshafen, were reason for the choice of the project title and starting point for the project development.

Our work, in Friedrichshafen, was divided into three parts:
1 - harbour station: the head of the train track end is covered with white lime
     and equipped with concrete fragments and further archaeological implements.
2 - telefon cabine at the harbour station: video installation.
3 - shop window underpass harbour station: "exhibition showcase"
     with molds and casting fragments, tools and aids.

The installation also refers to the Hindenburg-Kameras, a camera "Retina typ 118" can be seen in the Zeppelin Museum.
After the misfortune, the German Zeppelin shipping company provided a list, about found articles in the wreck of the burned out airship, e.g. "a number of cameras and accessories":

Agfa 8 mm Movie, without lens, oval Nr. 17662, destroyed
Deutsche Movie, 11 x 12 x 6 cm. without lens, destroyed
Leica Nr. 207808, Summar F : 5 1 : 2 Nr. 313953, destroyed
Leica Nr. 204916, Summar F : 5 1 : 2 Nr. 313108, destroyed
Leica Nr. 149940, Summar F : 5 1 : 2, destroyed
Leica Nr. 194376, melted down
Leica Nr. 218525, Leitz Elmar F : 5 L : 3.5, destroyed
Voigtländer roll film camera, melted down
Zeiss Ikon Ikoflex melted down
Small camera roll film "Pronto", Vidar F: 4.5, destroyed
Zeiss Ikon Nettar, melted down
Ica Klappkamera "Maximar", destroyed
Zeiss Tessar Kamera, destroyed
Kodak Kamera Compur Rapid, lens Schneider Kreuznach, melted down
Autoknips HAKA with case, destroyed

homage to the AkA-Kamerawerke, from Friedrichshafen.

Text of Dorothee Messmer:

For the Triennale in Friedrichshafen steffenschoeni selected the unused end piece of the train track at the harbour station, which is well observable by the first floor of the Zeppelin Museum.
As starting point for their search served "aggregate 4", the first fully functional large rocket, also known as "V2", which played in the Second World War an important role and was also manufactured in the region Friedrichshafen.
This situation was jointly responsible for the heavy bombardment of the city, which had to struggle, again and again with its past.
Furthermore incorporates the thematic direction of their work, that "Nothing to declare" can also just suggest that one has nothing to hide and will be able to show everything when investigation takes place.
On the blank area - including an empty telephone booth - a perfect stage scenery, they assemble an excavation site. However, without exposing real relics to light, nonetheless displaying construction rubble of deposition waste dumps and construction sites, found in the surroundings.
Additionally steffenschöni will integrate concrete castings of a still-functioning radio of that time, based on the significance of the radio in time of war and also in the fifties, when it was the most important source of information.
So this is the staging of an excavation, which will be recreated as a forgery and clearly recognizable as such.
In the shut down telephone booth they will display the emergence of their work, with molds, silicone forms and sample castings of objects, which are to be seen in the "excavation field". With the museums like presentation of the "finds", the artists uncover the fake and make the re-staging even more clearly visible.
The focus of steffenschoenis activity strive for the unspectacular, the revelation of possible under- and back-grounds, both formally and in terms of content.
With these strategies, they question our perception of reality and our usual ways of seeing things. Where reality begins and where does it end? Is it not only a question of our perception? What differentiates the meaning of major things from the insignificant one? And would the world be different, if we weighted the things around us differently?

"Nothing to declare", 4. triennale of contemporary art (Lake Constance), Friedrichshafen (DE), 2008 April 04. to June 22..
German vers. 4. Triennale Zeitgenössische Kunst.

Info: Nothing to declare, Newspaper article.

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