public [dis]appearance / public [re]appearance

Department für öffentliche Erscheinungen

13 — 16 Jun 13


Photograph of a meadow in the courtyard garden with many white signs stuck into it. Words and sentences are written on the signs in different colours.

In a participatory art project, the “Department für öffentliche Erscheinungen” asks passers-by about their personal perceptions of everything that has disappeared.

“What do you think has disappeared from public space?” With this question, the Department für öffentliche Erscheinungen (Department for Public Appearances) invites passers-by to write down their personal perceptions of everything that has disappeared. On a green space in the extension of Galeriestrasse in Hofgarten, a collection of changes in public space is created for everyone to read.

After the four-day participatory action, the Department für öffentliche Erscheinungen selects “public [dis]appearances” from all the contributions and develops a strategy to bring what has disappeared back into the public space as a “public [re]appearance”.

Societal transformations such as globalisation, demographic change, technological and media developments and increasing privatisation tendencies in public space are creating ever more complex changes in cities and giving rise to ‘voids’: Objects, rules, people, behaviours, sounds or media disappear from public space. Every ‘void’ allows us to draw conclusions about the past: What was it there for? Who used it and how? But it also shows changes in the present: Why is it no longer needed today? What has taken its place?

Public participation is at the heart of the art project. By asking questions and offering the opportunity to make a statement, the Department’s participatory project provides a platform for personal opinion and enables public, collective action.

The Department für öffentliche Erscheinungen (Peter Boerboom, Gabriele Obermaier, Carola Vogt and, until 2017, Silke Witzsch) has been collaborating on projects and interventions in public space since 1995.



80539 Munich