Nietzsche Memorial Hall Interview

2012

HD video with Stereo sound

29 mins

‘…When I continued the research it felt a bit like starting again. What really helped was being on site and being completely free to approach the object. Still, all the information remains isolated, until a certain point, when all the research material unfolds and melts into an integrated perspective on the building. The most important thing; during research on an architectural object, you naturally begin to invent a narration. From that point on, when I had gained that „integrated perspective“ on the research object, the relationship towards the building developed in a different way. When you gain this certain view and when you read most of the literature, you are able to say what each part of the building was used for or when it was built, when this phase was reached the object became your baby (which was definitely emphasized by the fact that we were the only ones who had the key for the building). Then, something different happens: you follow a layer of history, or you have a certain idea and you follow this line of inquiry. What was maybe interesting before could turn into being completely obsolete for the future research. A haptic approach to the research also played an important role, the more time you spend in the building, the more commitment you feel for it. Furthermore, if you can approve the facts you read or find in the archives on-site, you confirm your integral view on the building, you create proven knowledge, which in turn, makes you feel more self assured regarding your work. We tried to stick very strictly to the conventional research practices, which made it easier for us to systematically collect data without interpretation; as we learned during the process, sometimes you just lack the knowledge at the time you find something and sometimes you don’t even know that you have found something; it reveals its importance in a later moment or different context. Since we focussed on the history of the building, the aim was, to tell a story, or maybe, a lot of different stories, that all somehow surrounded the object. Of course, it’s always hard to establish the parameters concerning the question: what is important for „architectural“ research in this story telling context? How do you mention your thoughts that come up while spotting the photos of Nazi officials during the Richtfest and the whole iconology of the National Socialist era? How do you disregard your feelings about the „Heil Hitler“ on every single letter you read in the archives?’

The basis for the work is the research by art historian Simone Bogner and the architect Maurizio de Rosa on the former Nietzsche-Gedächtnishalle in the Humboldtstraße 36a in Weimar. It was built by the German architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg from 1937 until 1944. The building was turned into a radio station during the GDR period and was remained so until the MDR (Mitteldeutsche Rundfunk), moved out in the 2000.

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