Introducing URBAN LIGHTS RUHR in Hamm I RAUMzEITpIRATEN – an interview

In the end of September, the new light art exhibition format URBAN LIGHTS RUHR is illuminating the North Rhine-Westphalian city of Hamm. Five international artists teams were invited to approach urban issues of the Ruhr region via the medium of light:Jun Yang, plastique fantastique, RaumZeitPiraten, Sans façon and LAb [au].



25.09. – 11.10.2014


Urbane Künste Ruhr is delighted to accompany the URBAN LIGHTS RUHR as a media partner: We will accompany the festival with exclusive interviews with the participating artists’ collectives! 


The artists collective RaumZeitPiraten (SpaceTimePirates)- initiated by Tobias Daemgen, Jan Ehlen and Moritz Ellerich – are creating location-specific performative multimedia installations, interventions and happenings. Since 2007 they are working with several cooperating artists and changing media. Their ephemeral models of imperfect man-machine counter-worlds  question realities, scientific accuracy and inorganic behaviour dominated by machines. asked RaumZeitPiraten about their work, their interest in public space and their project for the Urban Ruhr Lights: the CycloCopters!

all illus. (c) RaumZeitPiraten


Let’s start with a proper introduction – who are you? And what does your name imply, RaumZeitPiraten?

CycloCopter (c) RaumZeitPiraten

CycloCopter (c) RaumZeitPiraten

We are RaumZeitPiraten, a space and time bending artists collective and ongoing project of Tobias Daemgen, Jan Ehlen and Moritz Ellerich. With backgrounds in art, design and self-education we started working as a group in 2007 because we felt the need to get out of the spirals of egocentric self-stimulation Besides the very inspiring concept of the four-dimensional “Raumzeit” of Albert Einstein, space and time are determining elements of perception and creation. As pirates we feel free to mess around with these elements as we please, sailing away from industrial and commercial interests to custom-built lands.

In your own words, you are creating site-specific investigations towards concepts of adaption and symbiosis as strategies for creative production – what does this mean?

We are working on symbiotic attitudes towards reality. Symbiosis is a biological concept involving two or more different subjects in a mutually beneficial interaction. Where the parasite weakens its host in one subtracting direction, sometimes to death, the symbiants are host and guest to each other, cross-linked in all directions, forming a higher entity oriented towards life.

Tell us more about your project for Urban Ruhr Lights!

CycloCopter (c) RaumZeitPiraten

CycloCopter (c) RaumZeitPiraten

For Urban Ruhr Lights we invented the CycloCopters, custom-built, light and sound emitting vehicles for urban interventions. Different models of old freight bicycles were modified and customized towards mobile, opto-acoustic systems that can be used to board and transform public spaces. With this rideable instrumentarium we will try to open the city of Hamm for audiovisual live-experiments and performances in search of widened associative spheres, expanding our and the participants understanding of the public space and its potential.

Working in and with public space is one of your main objectives – why? What interests you about building in public space, temporarily?

CycloCopter (c) RaumZeitPiraten

CycloCopter (c) RaumZeitPiraten

The term public space sounds like an unfulfilled promise. Restrictive forces seem to work against what could be a sphere of interaction and free communication for a community and all its inhabitants. We just do not know what the public and its places are capable of, that’s why we want to interact and learn about. The temporary, experimental approach of our works enables us to go on, gather new experiences and re-inject them into the next creative cycle.

How do you develop your projects?

The development process of a project is an organically growing, heterogeneous mix-up like the project itself. Conceptual fragments collide with reality, shattering to even more fragments of uncertainty, ping-ponged between the members of our group, reflected by the distorting audience, bouncing off the walls on-site, spontaneously accumulating to lumps of new experiences and perspectives, falling apart again into small pieces of memory, maybe reforming itself in another time at another place in another manner …

What materials and instruments are you working with, and why?

CycloCopter (c) RaumZeitPiraten

CycloCopter (c) RaumZeitPiraten

We especially love old laboratory equipment that is re-used as a very configurable and space-adaptive structure to build audiovisual objects, opto-acoustic instruments, interactive installations and environments. New technologies like Lasers and LEDs are mixed with old projection techniques. Sensors are used to interconnect light, sound and movement. Soundwaves modulate images. Light modifies sound …

With our custom-built opto-acoustic instruments we are misusing and remixing ancient and up-to-date auditive and visual technologies for heterogeneous, organically improvised light and sound architectures. Our activities are aimed at playful, experimental connections of sound, image, object, space and time to an alternately-self-expanding-multimedia-performance-surround-spaceship-laboratory-travel to somewhere between science and fiction.

Are there particular role models, influences, inspirations, … which inspire your work?

The list is long, our work, what we do and what we are would not be possible without former achievements in human efforts like science, art or technology. A Licht-Raum-Modulator of Moholy-Nagy can be as inspiring as a psychological concept of alchemy of C. G. Jung or a walk in the park with a friend. A short techno-philosophical essay of Vilém Flusser can cheer us up and the visit at the techno-club does as well. The malfunctioning copy-machine can generate creative energies in us and a Wikipedia article on parasitic lifeforms can, too. The brand new, smaller and even more efficient solar panel awakens our interest as the old broken slide projector from the neighbour´s garbage does …

RaumZeitPiraten, thank you for sharing your work with us!

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