While travelling through southern Africa I was introduced to
modern imbenge art - Zulu woven work in psychedelic patterns made
from telephone wire, which has been produced in South Africa since
the 1970s. Back in Germany, I discovered that the Telegraph Office
of the Royal Residence in Munich was to be disbanded and many tons
of this beautiful wire was to be discarded.
And so the idea developed to use this wire from the historical
centre of communication in Munich to build a house of communication
- a space for dialogue between the cultures, with African and
The planned rondavel consists of 12 segments, 1m wide and 2m
high, that can be stably inter-joined.
The frames are made from aluminium profiles with a pattern of
horizontal holes drilled into the inner segment.
Each of the 12 participants will be provided with a standardised
frame and up to 80 kg of telephone wire, as needed. Each artist is
free to design the contents of the frame using any technique with
telephone wire - for example, covering, weaving, soldering, so that
the chassies can still be connected to each other to form a round
There are no other limits to the artistic interpretation. The
objects can be fitted with LEDs, controlled either by analogue or
digital means - in the low volt category.
The participating artists from varying geographical and cultural
backgrounds will get to know each other and their respective work
and life contexts during the creative process. These experiences
will flow into their communal work. Communication becomes tangible.
It transfers into the built house, which again becomes a forum for
communication on its worldwide exhibition tour.
My contribution as fine artist will be the digital design and
creation of the canvas roofs for the imbenge-dreamhouse.
The motifs, lettering and graphic signs for these different roofs
will be inspired by the various locations at which the
imbenge-dreamhouse will be exhibited.
South African Consulate, Munich.
Department of Arts and Culture, Ministry of Arts and Sciences,
Pretoria, South Africa.
South African Embassy, Berlin.
Ethnological Museum Munich.
Bavarian Department of Arts and Culture, Ministry of Arts and
Foreign Ministry, Berlin.