Logistics, transport system
Global Soul
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Logistics, transport system

Global Soul

2002-2008

In Goethe’s poem Welt­seele (World Soul) we read: »Nun glühen schon des Para­die­ses Weiten/ in über­bun­ter Pracht« (Now the expan­ses of Para­dise already glow/ in over-colour­ful splen­dour). And what is it that ani­ma­tes our modern indus­trial society, what is its fiery nucleus? Henrik Spohl­er’s images pro­vide a pos­si­ble answer: machi­nes. Over a period of six years he looked around high-tech fac­to­ries, among end­less assem­bly lines and strange appa­ra­tu­ses. What is manu­fac­tu­red in such places is seldom any­thing mys­te­rious, but mostly mun­dane: beer, plas­ters, com­pu­ter chips, frozen pizza. The mer­ci­less pre­ci­sion of Spohl­er’s pho­to­gra­phs makes a lot more out of them than mere docu­men­ta­tion: thanks to the choice of frame and with the help of light and colo­ra­tion, plus care­ful digi­tal post-pro­ces­sing, they take on a kind of hyper-rea­lity, beco­ming a por­tra­yal of the World Soul that is always fic­tio­nal as well, con­struc­ted by the pho­to­gra­pher. Yet they also reveal a prin­ci­ple: the fac­tory as the wellspring of moder­nism, as a »metal uterus« (Bazon Brock), con­stantly giving birth to the new. In this global machine room, man is just a tiny, mar­gi­nal figure – he may well have con­cei­ved and con­struc­ted that space, but only so as to no longer be requi­red in it. Whe­ther that is some­thing to be regret­ted or whe­ther it repres­ents pro­gress is an open ques­tion. And howe­ver detai­led the pho­to­gra­phs may be, they are never ideo­lo­gi­cal. They docu­ment the great ambi­guity of those »expan­ses of Para­dise« which man has crea­ted for him­self.

 

 

Pepe­roni Books, 2008, ISBN 978-3-9809677-9-2
Text by Chri­stof Siemes, eng­lish/german,
96 pages, 41 colour plates, hard­co­ver, 30,5 x 24,5 cm,
pepe­roni-books.de