Daniel Birnbaum, Sven-Olov Wallenstein
Contributions by Oliver Koerner von Gustorf, Sebastian Preuss, Antonia Blau, Matthias Harder, Thibaut de Ruyter, Joachim Blank
This world fair begins with a pyramid—not in Egypt, but in Karlsruhe, Germany. Stephanie Kloss’s photographs capture the mythos and utopianism of architecture in locations as diverse as Athens, Berlin, the United States, and Japan. Yet it is the commonality of modernist architectural form rather than the peculiarities of place, nation, or time that attracts her lens. In Weltausstellung, visual anonymity is the main event—but not the whole story.
Embedded in Kloss’s photographs, as the absorbing essays in this catalogue reveal, are invisible histories of human enterprise, idealism, and trauma. The Israeli desert belies the ruins, a landlocked vessel, as a symbol—moral and otherwise—of Sodom and Gomorrah; an idyllic Canary Island bears scant traces of Otto Muehl’s Actionist commune, or of his sexual crimes against children; an empty dining hall stands in place of forty kibbutzim in Israel, testament to a once thriving political utopia; and the mute currents of the Mississippi Delta, first devastated by Hurricane Katrina and then the BP oil spill, keep their silence to the deep waters.
Kloss’s catalogue as journey speaks a collective photographic language that warns against the ease—and peril—of architectural and natural forgetfulness.
Design by Andreas Koch