Ruining the City

TOM BOGAERT

‘Ruining the City’ is a multi-coloured living sculpture built on top of the ‘Linzer Stadtmodell’, a large-scale bronze model of the city of Linz, Austria as it looked in the 1800s. The installation is made up of translucent ‘agar-agar’ – a vegetarian gelatine substitute that is combined with sugar, tea tree oil, weeds, soil, black ants, and Almdudler.

The sculpture functions as an ant farm with the agar-agar serving both as habitat and nutrition for the ants. This allows the viewer to watch the ants turn the sculpture into a colony around which they organize their lifecycle. The ants were caught at the nearby Mauthausen Memorial, the agar-agar is cooked on site, and upon the successful completion of the project – the installation will succumb to the process of decay.

The project goes back to an ‘ArtSchool Palestine’ residency in Nablus centred around a groundbreaking essay by British-Israeli architect Eyal Weizman : ‘Walking Through Walls: Soldiers as Architect.’

‘Ruining the City’ focuses on not only the physical and visible urban reality that the city presents but also of a second, “archeofuturistic” city as it exists in the memory and imagination of its current and former inhabitants.

With the support of afo architekturforum oberösterreich artist-in-residence program 2021 in Linz, Austria. Photos by Violetta Wakolbinger.