All posts tagged: Benuz

Discovering “The Kaos Factory” in Leipzig

Discovering “The Kaos Factory” in Leipzig

The Industrial Revolution ushered in miracles of production, mechanics, engineering, speed, ease of global distribution – possibly the most important event in human history. It also killed cultures, decimated families, poisoned the Earth, air, water, radically changed civil society, enslaved people in dangerous conditions and caused workers to unite as never before.

The flight of industry has now given us incredible relics to explore and create art inside of or upon.

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As industrial production migrated away from so-called Western societies in the last four decades we have been gifted the glorious and treacherous legacy of the factories in our cities. Urban explorers are now nearly legion on some cities, graffiti writers and Street Artist part of the mix. While the goals are often at odds – with explorers wishing only to preserve and archive and urban artists interested in finding new canvasses or installation environments – no one denies the sense of wonder and discovery wandering these carcasses of production in preservation or dilapidation.

If you have the luck to explore the steel and broken glass and possibly toxic materials sprayed with names and characters and patterns or adorned with sculptures of found materials spotlighted by natural beams of luminous fine matter, it can all present itself as a splendid chaos.

Or KAOS.

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Whenever we travel to a new city as guests for academic talks on Street Art, art curating, or just seeing festivals and exhibitions we make it our priority to visit the forgotten margins of the industrial environs; spots where creativity and loose talk can happen uncensored, without permission and absent considerations of financial gain. The abandoned, decaying buildings like this one serve as a laboratory for many artists around the world, presenting an unintended studio environment and university function for artists who are experimenting, discovering, refining their skills.

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We had the good fortune to visit one such place during our most recent trip to Leipzig, Germany on the occasion of our participation in the first edition of Monumenta Art. With our friend and colleague, photographer Nika Kramer we visited the KAOS Factory, colloquially named because the German graffiti artist by the same name has slowly taken it over with his work during the last few years, by default converting the former steam factory into his de facto “residency”.

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

He gave us a tour of the sprawling compound and told us about how much he loves coming here to paint. He told us stories about how young writers come to the factory to paint and due to their lack of experience or knowledge of “street rules” go over his work or his friends work and how he has to confront them and inform them that it may look like chaos to some, but there is actually an unwritten set of guidelines of respect that graff writers show for one anothers’ work – usually.

Similarly these young, inexperience writers take unnecessary risks while walking through the occasionally dangerous factory ruins, he says, with sometimes disastrous results. Today we share with BSA readers some of the many KAOS rooms here where the hospitable graffiti writer has done installations, finding a certain joy when he sees people who have managed to break in to enjoy the works – or to add their own.

Our thanks to KAOS for sharing with us the glorious chaos.

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Plotbot Ken. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Atomic Ant. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ixus. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Reve. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Benuz. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Benuz. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


The video shows the attempt to implode the smokestack in the factory in 1995. While the implosion was somewhat successful it didn’t go as planned and it could have been a fatal disaster for the community around the factory. The photo below the video shows the very bottom part of the smokestack as it currently is and to the left it shows the potential damage to property and most likely fatalities as well should the stack have fallen to the left.

The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Magic City” Premieres in Dresden : Seno and McCormick as Alchemists

“Magic City” Premieres in Dresden : Seno and McCormick as Alchemists

40 Artists Up Along Main Street, 12 More in the BSA Film Program

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Curators Ethel Seno and Carlo McCormick in front of a new mural by German duo Herakut announcing the premiere of Magic City in Dresden. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)


 

“Nature is a petrified magic city.” – Novalis

Curator Carlo McCormick quotes Novalis by way of describing this new exhibit of an eclectic blend of terrific troublemakers, pop-culture hijackers, and show-stopping crowd pleasers drawn from cities all around the Street Art/ graffiti /urban art scene today – and forty years ago. This is a welcoming walk of unexpected intersections that only McCormick and co-curator Ethel Seno could imagine – and pull together as a panoply of street wizardry that acknowledges activism, artistry, anarchy, and aesthetics with a sincere respect for all. It will be interesting to see how this show is viewed by people who follow the chaotic street scene today in the context of its evolution and how they read the street signs in this city.

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Curator Ethel Seno with Managing Director Dieter Semmelmann and exhibition Designer Tobias Kunz cutting the ribbon at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

McCormick, in his customary self-effacing humor, expects there to be some shit flying – as anyone who is involved in this scene expects from the hard-scrabble rebellious margins and subcultures that this art-making interventionist practice rises from. There also are a growing and coalescing mini-legion of scholars and academics who are currently grappling with the nature and characteristics of this self-directed art-making practice rooted often in discontent – now organized inside an exhibition that is ticketed and sold as a family friendly show.

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Street Artist and pop mashup painter Tristan Eaton in front of his new mural wall at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

In his descriptions of the public sphere, the writer, historian, author, and cultural critic McCormick often refers to graffiti and street artists messing with “contested space”. It’s an apt description whether we are talking about the public space in high-density gleaming metropolises or the bombed-out grid-less and polluted quagmires of human fallibility and urban un-planning that dot our globe; all public space its nature is contested.

Here is a place used by many artists to protest, agitate, advocate, or deliver critique – and many of the artists in this exhibition have done exactly this in their street practice, often pushing limits and defining new ones. Dig a little into many of the individual story lines at play here and you’ll see that the vibrant roots of social revolution are pushing up from the streets through the clouds of propaganda and advertising, often mocking them and revealing them in the process.

Ultimately, this Magic City experience is an elixir for contemplating the lifelong romance we have with our cities and with these artists who cavort with us within them. “Our Magic City is a place and a non-place,” McCormick says in a position statement on the exhibit. “It is not the physical city of brick and mortar but rather the urban space of internalized meanings. It is the city as subject and canvas, neither theme park nor stage set, but an exhibition showcasing some of the most original and celebrated artists working on and in the city today.”

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Mixed media Street Artist Asbestos from Dublin, graffiti master/ painter Chris “Daze” Ellis from NYC, and Tristan Eaton from Los Angeles at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Curator Carlo McCormick with New York billboard/culture jammer and artist Ron English in front of his new wall mural at premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Dutch anamorphic art master Leon Keer with Polish crochet transformer/Street Artist Olek at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

BSA curated the film program for Magic City with a dynamic array of some of the best Street Art related films today presented together in a relaxed environment. In this video hosted by Andreas Schanzenbach you get a taste of the works that are showing that we draw from our weekly surveys on BSA Film Friday. Over the last few years we have had the honor of presenting live in-person to students and scholars and fans an ever-evolving collection of videos that speak to the spirit experimentation, discovery and culture-jamming outrageousness of urban interventions, graffiti and Street Art.  The BSA Film Program at Magic City presents a survey of some of the very best that we have seen recently.

Magic City artists include:
Akrylonumerik, Andy K, Asbestos, Ben Heine, Benuz, Biancoshock, Bordalo II, Brad, Downey, Dan Witz, Daze, Ernest Zacharevic, Ganzeer, Henry Chalfant, HERAKUT, Icy & Sot, Isaac Cordal, Jaime Rojo, Jens Besser, Juandres Vera, Lady Aiko, Leon Keer, Loomit, MAD C, Mark Bode, Martha Cooper, Oakoak, Odeith, Olek, Ori Carin / Benjamin Armas, Qi Xinghua, Replete, ROA, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Skewville, SpY, Tristan Eaton, Truly, WENU Crew, Yok & Sheryo

The BSA Film Program for Magic City includes the following artists:
Borondo, Brad Downey & Akay, Ella + Pitr, Faile, Farewell, Maxwell Rushton, Narcelio Grud, Plotbot Ken, Sofles, Vegan Flava, Vermibus

Some behind the scenes shots days before the Premiere

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Popagandist Ron English preparing his Temper Tot at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Popagandist Ron English preparing his Temper Tot at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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DAZE reviewing his work at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Urban naturalist ROA at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Sheryo strikes a pose while the guys build the installation she did with The Yok at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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A Magic City Slowly Unfolds In Dresden : Artists Building Now

A Magic City Slowly Unfolds In Dresden : Artists Building Now

“The special magic that comes from our cities is germinated in the mad sum of their improbable juxtapositions and impossible contradictions,” says curator Carlo McCormick when talking about the new show opening in Dresden, Germany this week in a former engine factory called Magic City : The Art of the Street.

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AIKO at work on her piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

Along with curator Ethel Seno and a creative team (full disclosure, BSA is part of it) McCormick is evoking an interstitial city that rises from the streets in many urban centers globally. Whether it is graffiti, Street Art, urban interventions, detournement, adbusting, or myriad cultural refinements, artists and activists are commonly, sometimes radically, altering the city and our experience of it.

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Mad C at work on her piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

By engaging some of the best visual and intellectual examples of the whole current scene with a full knowledge of our recent past, Magic City lays out a route for you to appreciate the individual and a sense of the cumulative. It’s bold and somewhat romantic move to look for magic in the Graffiti / Street Art / Urban Art scene. Some may argue that it consists of nothing less.

Over the last few weeks about 40 artists have been installing brand new pieces and environments in the long wide factory space in advance of the grand preview this weekend. Here are some process shots of the building of a Magic City.

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OLEK at work on her piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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OLEK at work on her piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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ROA at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Ernest Zacharevic at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Benuz at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Qi-Xinghua at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Replete at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Ori Carino and Benjamin Armas at work on their piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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WENU at work on their piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Jens Besser at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Leon Keer at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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SpY. Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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