Rivers of Wine + Beer +
Katharina Klara Jung

A circular exca­vation of 10m diameter and 45° slope, 2m deep, a shiny metal frame on two steel cross-members. Overall height 11m. White and blue flourescent char­acters running around the frame form the text:
„RIVERS OF WINE + BEER + STREETS OF GINGER + NUTMEG + AN IDEAL TYPE OF TERRAIN + FERTILE GROUND COVER + LUXURIOUS BUILDINGS IN WHICH NO ONE BUYS OR SELLS + NOR IS THERE A CRIPPLE OR A BLIND MAN OR A CROSS-EYED MAN OR A MUTE OR A SCABIES OR ACNE SUFFERER OR A DEFORMED PERSON THERE + EVERYONE IS TOTALLY BEAUTIFUL IN ALL TREIR LIMBS + THE STRENGTH OF MEN TO SLEEP WITH THEIR WOMEN NEVER EBBS +„

Realised as part of “show me the way to public sphere!”, Wies­badener Kunst­sommer 2006

Steel cross-members, a metal frame, an exca­vation, already half over­grown. During the day, Thorsten Goldberg‘s work looks like an unfin­ished building site, a bad archi­tec­tural investment in the no-man‘s land behind the station that no one has taken the trouble to remove. Only at night, when all func­tional, efficiency-oriented life comes to a stand­still and the land­scape of the transit area, euphemisti­cally called a „Culture Park“, between the empty car park and the sense-numbing partying of the Schlachthof succumbs to the darkness as if half-asleep, does the message ofthe white neon letters emerge, picked out like an apparition against the dark night sky.

The text running round the metal frame can only be read by twisting your neck not incon­sid­erably. A promise of that special world that has inspired the imag­i­nation of men and women for centuries as an antag­onism to the heavenly Jerusalem. Thorsten Goldberg promises nothing less than the creation of a land of milk and honey, a utopia of unfet­tered freedom in which children come into the world as adults and women remain virginal for ever.

This vision of this land of absolute freedom, paired with unin­hibited gluttony and sexual permis­siveness, is a human dream which can be followed back in this form into the Middle Ages and further still. At the end ofthe 17th century, the Imperial General Johann Andreas Schnebelin set out to present the nature of the imag­inary Luilekkerland (Cock­aigne) in a book „in which all the vices of the waggish world, in particular kingdoms, estates and areas with many silly towns and cities (…) and many notions worth reading were described very clearly“* in every detail with town names and rivers. On the basis of this text, the „Accurata Utopiae Tabula“, the true map of paradise, appeared at the end of the 17th century. Thorsten Goldberg has worked with this for several years. He takes the basis of his works from the ribaldly titled regions and towns with names such as Schlam­p­en­morast (slut mire), Wollustberg (lust mountain) and Ampt Geil­hausen (hornytown council) and the concept of a land of unful­filled desires.
In the area next to the railway tracks, which is in a state of urban planning flux, the structure announces the creation of the land in which all dreams come true, the streets are paved with gold and the civil­i­sation disease of imper­ative produc­tivity turns into natural super­abun­dance. No one has to work, worry about paying his rent, count calories or make any other effort. The status quo main­tains itself, a huge sensory perpetuum mobile in which idleness replaces progress and, ulti­mately, domi­nation by physical urges takes the place of reflection.

However, the metal frame is empty. Where the construction sign should be, some­thing material and tangible, there is nothing but the dark sky. lt is less a projection surface than a window that is created in the work. A window, the purpose of which is not what you see through it but the action of looking through it. Via wooden stairs you reach the bottom of the exca­vation, which is thickly covered with wild grasses and even sunflowers. lt is a strangely perfect exca­vation with a diameter of exactly 10 metres and a slope of precisely 45 degrees. Down there on the almost roman­ti­cally chaotic piece of meadow, as if punched out from some­where else and trans­planted here, the familiar envi­ronment disap­pears. The daydreams that are normally forgotten after a sigh and a dreamy look out ofthe window take on a quasi-real, physical presence

Down here, behind the station, is where it is to be built. The utopia emerges from the indi­vidual world of ideas and enters the hell of bureau­cracy and marketing. Deci­sions are taken, it is planned, inter­rupted and finally forgotten. A euphoric construction project, the foun­da­tions of which turn out to be mean­ingless and impos­sible in the hard light of day. However, given the bright writing, like the enticing hallelujah of a sect on a recruitment drive, it is easy to forget the absence of content.
And all of these theo­retical consid­er­a­tions do not do justice to the feeling of standing in front of the unreal sign in the darkness, this mighty, irra­tional feeling of being so dose. Someone has even started, it only needs to be finished and then you just eat your way through the mountain of rice pudding and all your worries melt away.
Thorsten Goldberg creates a monument to longing. But the bright promise surrounds a void in front of a wild hole in the midst of the familiar lawn. The dream of the land of milk and honey is vain. A dream fed by a demand that, once fulfilled, liberates human beings from them­selves and then dismisses them with nothing other than a confused look of complete mean­ing­lessness into their own downfall.

 

Trans­lation into English by Peter Bowen

* Schnebelin, Johann Andreas: „Erklärung der Wunder=seltzamen Land = Charten Utopiae, so da ist/ das neu = entdeckte Schlaraffenland/ Worinnen All und jede Laster der schal­ck­hafftigen Welt/ als besondere Königreiche/ Herrschaften und Gebiete/ mit vielen läppischen Städten/ Festungen/ Flecken und Dorffern/ Flüssen/ Bergen/ Seen/ Insuln/ Meer und Meer = Busen/ wie nicht weniger Dieser Nationen Sitten/ Regiment/ Gewerbe/ samt vielen leßwürdigen Einfällen aufs deut­lichste beschrieben; Allen thör­rechten Läster = Freunden zum Spott/ denen Tugend liebenden zur Warnung/ und denen melan­cholischen Gemüthern zu einer ehrlichen Ergetzung vorgestellet. Gedruckt zu Arbeitshausen/ in der Graffschafft Fleissig/ in diesem Jahr da Schlar­raf­fenland entdecket ist“, end of the 17th century.