A large scale slide in a light box, 230 x 180 x 12 cm, at the Berlin S-Bahn station Unter den Linden, as part of the “transportale”, April – May 2003.
The illuminated slide shows a picture of a historical map, the “Accurata Utopia Tabula”, with a complete legend of the nearly 2,000 fictitious place names, provinces, rivers, lakes and mountains. In addition to the information boards and maps that the passengers need, panels have been put up in the Unter den Linden S-Bahn station showing historical views of Berlin, important events in the city’s history and time-honoured businesses. In terms of urban development, Pariser Platz in front of the Brandenburg Gate is one of the most remarkable of all Berlin’s squares. It was laid out in 1734 and is today home to embassies, banks and insurance companies as well as the Hotel Adlon, Tuchers Restaurant, Starbucks Coffee, Bugatti and KPM. And right in the centre of this arrangement, in a light box, is the historical map as a large-scale slide with a complete legend. The „Accurata Utopia Tabula” was created by the German cartographer Johann Baptist Homann (1664–1724). It puts the travel account “Erklärung der Wunderseltzamen Land-Charten UTOPIÆ” (Explanation of the wonderful and strange map of UTOPIA) by the imperial general Andreas Schnebelin into a scientific context, since it maps out longed-for places and depicts with great accuracy an area of the utopian world consisting of 17 provinces and several groups of islands. In his 1494 work, Sebastian Brants described the Land of Milk and Honey as a parody of paradise. It portrays the vision of a life of unlimited desire. The imaginary place names tell of fullbellied prosperity and bizarre abundance, but also bear witness to a life constantly threatened by penury. In the middle of the continent is the land where gold coins can be found in the street, beautiful clothes grow on trees and noone needs to work because everything produces itself. This place in a topsyturvy world is still important today as a foil to the daily life we all experience. Embedded as it is, in actual history Milch & Honig does not, however, at first glance, appear to be a work of art: after chancing upon the map and its subject, passers-by may subtly find out about the position of Pariser Platz as a place of great luxury and a reflection of today’s ideals.