Germania Meets Europa
The Statue of Germania - (Das Niederwalddenkmal) - Rüdesheim - Rhine Valley – Germany.
I was asked by the Rheinpartie to create a site specific projection piece that would reinterpret the statue of Germania into one of international European unity.
I had always had in mind that the statue would stand in water. At the base of the statue is a representation of the River Rhine in a human form. I have taken the Rhine to represent all the great rivers of Europe. As the waters of the river flow past, so the peoples of Europe have moved across the land, creating the landscape forms that we see today. As the streams merge to form rivers and flow onward to the sea, so the histories of the separate nations of Europe though sometimes turbulent, have now come together in unity.
Germania herself is now dressed in the blue and gold robes of Europa. She looks out across a united Europe whilst the flags of all the nations of Europe unfurl before her. The waters of all the rivers of Europe flow out from her carrying the hopes and aspirations of all the united member states into the future.
I commissioned soundscape designer Karen Monid to create the accompanying sound piece based on these ideas. For this piece, she needed to combine Beethoven’s Ode To Joy with this site specific projection in the Rhine Valley that would represent the European Union. She chose to follow the life of a river as the journeying theme. All rivers form part of the Water Cycle, which is a never ending movement of water from ocean to cloud to rain to spring, stream, river and back to ocean again. This also seemed appropriate as water and land know no borders or boundaries and so retain a sense of union.
This piece was created for the 'rheinpartie', a series of light and video installations in the Rhine Valley World Heritage Site. The event ran from the 2nd to the 4th of October 2009.
View videos of this project