Underdruck (Low-Pressure), 2013
16mm film transferred to HD Video, colour, sound, 12:00 min.

Künstliche Diamanten (Synthetic Diamonds), 2013
16mm film transferred to HD Video, colour, sound, 13:16 min.

The two films of the installation revolve around the human attempt to reproduce the high and low pressure that occurs in nature. This seemingly scientific concern serves as the starting point for an investigation into two particular sites and technologies affected by the fall of the Berlin Wall and the re-unification of Germany.

"Künstliche Diamanten (Synthetic Diamonds)" depicts the process - from beginning to end - of synthetic diamonds being produced. The recordings were made at the Vollstädt Diamant GmbH a company set up by Professor Heiner Vollstädt a mineralogist, who began his research on the production of synthetic diamonds in the GDR 40 years ago at the Zentralinstitut für Physik der Erde (Central Institute for Physics of the Earth). Since the late 1970s the production of synthetic diamonds had became a prestigious project for the GDR government, which should end the GDR’s dependency on diamond imports from the UDSSR or the West.

After the reunification of Germany the Institute was discontinued and Vollstädt transported some of the machinery of the former Academy of Science of the GDR to a disused military camp outside Potsdam to continue his research on, and the production of synthetic diamonds as a private enterprise. "Unterdruck (Low-Pressure)", is shot in an Athletic training facility in the former German Democratic Republic that was built in the late 1970s to simulate the effects of high altitudes. While allowing Athletes to prepare for performing in atmospheres different to those found in the GDR, it simultaneously reduced the need for Athletes to travel outside Eastern Europe. A top secret facility at the time, the site was abandoned after the peaceful revolution of 1989 that ultimately led to the unification of Germany. The fait of the site was the result of a double economic incompatibility: It was too expensive to be kept in use, and too expensive to be dismantled.

(Both films commissioned by Cornerhouse Manchester for the show “Anguish & Enthusiasm. What do you do with your revolution once you’ve got it” curated by Sarah Perks and Declan Clarke.)