Im Bau

Solo project at Grand Union, Birmingham



Im Bau was an experimental research project, investigating the city as a space for artistic, economic and ideological production. It responded specifically to the shifting fabric of the city of Birmingham, critiquing its contemporary urban culture of regeneration through research into the archival traces of the city’s urban past, and its past visions of the future city. It takes its title from a chance encounter with the Soviet magazine USSR Im Bau (USSR under construction), designed by Aleksandr Rodchenko and El Lissitzky.

For the duration of Im Bau, the Grand Union gallery space held a revolving selection of curated historical materials, all of which shared the quality of being future-looking yet historical, science-fictions from a vanished present. The space was designed with a modular, reconfigurable system of display, holding archival documents, images and video from the Wolfson Centre for Archival Research at Birmingham Central Library. These are mixed with more esoteric materials, speculative texts and artistic interventions.