Photographers Silviu Guiman and Fabian Blum explore urban utility structures that have been shut down but kept functional in case of emergencies. In the process, ambivalent phenomena emerge: networking and exclusion, circulation and interruption prove not to be opposites, but intertwined.
Until a few years ago, the Südstadt heating plant supplied Cologne’s inner city with heat, electricity and water. Today it lies dormant, but can be activated at short notice in the event of a supply crisis. With its two 75-meter-high industrial chimneys, the plant is visible from afar, whereas up close it is a terrain vague all on its own: The site is closed off from its surroundings and is continuously monitored. Hidden from view and inaccessible to the public, the infrastructural site forms a »blind spot« in the urban fabric. Temporally marked by a state between no-longer and not-yet, it is spatially marked with a clear use, which, however, does not become apparent at first glance: listed brick facades conceal the plant’s technical and mechanical equipment. A wild meadow, which has become a refuge for endangered bee colonies, covers an underground drinking water reservoir. While the invisible spaces serve to provide critical infrastructure, their exteriors bear traits of sacred places in a modern society.
This ambivalence between visibility and invisibility, movement and standstill, renders the area an indeterminate in-between space. This is also interesting for the photographers: Their image productions transform the infrastructural site into a projection surface for imaginations. Their photographic installation at the Severin II waterworks traces the potential of this place and poses questions about potential realizations.
Location: Wasserwerk Severin II of the RheinEnergie AG, Bonner Wall/Ohmstraße, 50677 Cologne
Vernissage: Sat., June 25, 2022, 4 p.m.
Opening hours: June 25 – July 2, 2022, Thurs. & Fri., 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Sat., 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. (Last admission 9:30 p.m.)
Picture: Silviu Guiman, Wasserwerk Severin II, Cologne Südstadt, 2022.