One of the nicest parts of train travel is relaxing and glancing at the countryside as it whizzes by. But recently, passengers on trains through Germany’s Saale Valley were in for an unexpected treat, as the train route was transformed into a giant stage for more than 50 pieces of performance art.
The Bewegtes Land project saw 400 residents along the 30-kilometer (19-mile) train route volunteer their time over two days to put on short performances for passengers. The whimsical vignettes showed everything from “running” bushes to a shark emerging from a lake and startling canoers. It was an effort that not only amused passengers, but also brought together these small communities.
The project was the brainchild of Jörn Hintzer and Jacob Hüfner, media artists and professors at the Bauhaus University Weimar. They see the flashes of art given to the passengers as akin to the flashes of media we soak in everyday online, as imagery is presented to us at a rapid pace.
For volunteers, it was a fun way to spend a weekend, and for an American Ph.D. student who participated, a way to become involved in local life. In one town, Dornburg-Camburg, almost all of the residents took part in the project. And mayor Dorothea Storch hoped that the weekend would have another effect. “For one thing, it’s a great weekend, but also people get to notice the beauty of the countryside,” she told Deutsche Welle. “This is not a typical tourist area so maybe this will attract more people.”
Recently, 400 volunteers carried out performances along a train route in the German countryside as part of an art experiment.
— walsch (@mhenkenmeier) August 27, 2017
— Site Specific Ideas (@StoriesOfBerlin) August 26, 2017
The performances mix reality and fantasy. As a seemingly typical farmer works his field, he suddenly digs his pick axe into the dirt and a “fountain” emerges.
As the train moves past, volunteers magically transform this abandoned house into a brand new home.
Learn more about the concept and how the performance art project evolved.
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