Allan Gretzki (*1979 in Siegburg) lives and works in Cologne. He completed his studies 2006–2011 at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne. The work, “Am Güterbahnhof” was created in 2010 after the Loveparade disaster. Currently Gretzki is earning his doctorate in Art and Design at Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.
Interview with Allan Gretzki
The topic of the festival is “Innere Sicherheit – The State I Am In” – which includes political aspects of “Homeland Security” but also very personal, private aspects. How do you relate to these issues?
First of all, the term security alarms me, since I automatically also think of a threat or insecurity. Often enough, you know, measures to protect homeland security prompt the feeling of a potential or real threat.
How do you understand your work in the context of “Innere Sicherheit”?
At the beginning of the Am Güterbahnhof project I wasn’t thinking about the topic of “innere Sicherheit” directly. A concrete idea of how I’d be dealing with the found objects only came about months later. Through conversations with my professor Johannes Wohnseifer it turned out that the aesthetic of classical forensic photography could be a suitable form for documenting the tragic events of the Loveparade. The sober stocktaking, which is also part of police investigations as standard, and the fact that no responsible parties have yet been discovered is contrasted by incomprehension and sadness in the face of the tragedy.
What role do public spaces play for you, how important are they for society?
As a major part of my work takes place in the public space, I’m permanently confronted with this. In my opinion it holds great social communication potential, which I try to make use of and support through my works. For the work “Alle Richtungen”, in co-operation with the -1/MinusEins Experimentallabor of Mischa Kuball and the culture department of the City of Cologne, I had a signpost set up in the inner city by the Minoritenkirche. Over two years, this signpost inconspicuously blended in with the urban profile and pointed to cultural institutions. It caused confusion and got people talking in the sense that, for instance, the distances were indicated totally wrongly or the names of the institutions were faked. So, for example, Museum Ludwig was turned into Ludwigs Museum and the Skulpturenpark was just two metres away from the Minoritenkirche.
Do you have the feeling that cities are changing with regard to that? How?
Against the background of current developments, I think “Innere Sicherheit” is increasingly a societally important topic as well. Just the festival’s reference to this illustrates the relevance. Due to increasing regulatory and surveillance mechanisms, a general unease is becoming widespread, which in my view is threatening communication in the public space.