When I learned that The Delian Mode had won a prize which entailed a 3 month artist residency in Kassel, Germany, one of my first thoughts was, ‘what the hell am I going to do in a small German town for that long?’ The only thing I knew about Kassel was that it hosts the popular contemporary art expo Documenta, but only every 5 years and sadly not the year I would be there. Given that my assignment was to create a video work based on the location, I decided to get up close and personal with Kassel, exploring it to its outer limits by foot.
90% of Kassel’s city centre was destroyed by bombings in 1943. Much of the current, function-forward architecture is from the 1950’s but a few scattered old gems remain or have been restored (such as the Museum Fridericianum pictured above). I gravitated towards these singular structures and gardens whose stateliness seemed to permeate the town, solidly asserting its history. I spent many hours in the solemn reverence of churches and fragrant presence of cherry blossom trees in full bloom. I scaled rocky terrain to get a closer look at the city’s stone guardian, Hercules, and tip-toed amongst the Old Masters in halls of antiquities. And, over the course of the residency, I developed a real affinity towards Kassel. It is a great luxury to have 3 months to wander around a place and get a feel for it from the ground up; something I should find the time to do in my own city.