An Aggregation of Adversary
"Two images: a starched stiff shirt unworn responding to the wind is a board; frozen meat that would rot in the sun.
1. The project "An Aggregation of Adversary" consists of four objects and a series of photographic works. Employing the case of Teufelsberg - a historical hillside in Berlin - Engh is looking at its continuous shifts between architecture and ruin. Appropriating fragments from its recent buildings and reconstructing them as objects which belong to the "non-design" of the recent listening station such as a wall structure, a modular ﬂoor, a window offering no view, and a shell from a radar dome. With the same kind of logic the photo series "Lead, follow or get the hell out of the way" consists of 14 pictures showing spatial situations of the site on the top of the Teufelsberg.
"The stone buildings of antiquity demonstrate in their condition today the permanence of natural building material. The ages-old stone buildings of the Egyptians and the Romans still stand today as powerful architectural proofs of the past of great nations, buildings which are often ruins only because mans lust for destruction has made them such."
Albert Speer, "Law of Ruin Value"
2. Engh dissects this symbolic mark, which Teufelsberg has become through various utilizations. Albert Speers started the building of the "Wehrtechnische Fakultät" in 1937, part of the new technical university of Berlin, it only saw the completion of one faculty building prior to the outbreak of World War II. Throughout the war the building was bombed, but neither air raids nor attempts to demolish it after the seize of Berlin managed to shatter this monumental piece of architecture. Rather, it was decided to turn Teufelsberg into a deposit for the rubble and remains of a mere 80.000 buildings that have been destroyed during the air raids leaving more than 10 million cubic meters of stone on top.
"The first and most frequently seen of the film's very real American "ghosts" is the flooding river of blood that wells out of the elevator shaft, which presumably sinks into the Indian burial ground itself. The blood squeezes out in spite of the fact that the red doors are kept firmly shut within their surrounding Indian artwork embellished frames. We never hear the rushing blood. It is a mute nightmare. It is the blood upon which this
nation, like most nations, was built, as was the Overlook Hotel."
Bill Blakemore, "The Family of Man" (On the film "The Shining" by Stanley Kubrick)
3. A mere 30 years later Teufelsberg again found itself at the centre of military activities. In 1964 the American army completed the construction of what was to become one of the premier listening posts of the cold war. The NSA Field Station at Teufelsberg had unobstructed reception of signals from all directions and was hence of signiﬁcant strategic importance until the demise of the Berlin Wall in 1990. After closing the military base all initiatives attempting to transform it failed; among these plans for a luxury hotel, a residential area, a ski slope, and even a meditation centre. Hence the area has for the past ten years been left to a slow process of decay and decomposition. Regarding this example of sedimentation of social and politcal meaning, Engh addresses the
reassembly of memory structures and decay as a therapeutical tool. What strategies can be employed when a site simply cannot manage to accumulate more meaning?