This installation occupies three locations, the chroma-key room at the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg, the changing room in the Waschkaue Herten and the shower room in the Waschkaue Herten. The audiences in Herten and Duisburg are connected in the following way: A video camera in Duisburg captures images of the audience standing in front of a chroma-key blue backdrop, this image is sent to Herten via an ISDN video conferencing system. The image is received in Herten and chroma-keyed together with a camera image of the audience in the Waschkaue changing room. The chroma-key mixed image is then video projected onto a fine wall of water, sprayed from high pressure shower heads in the Waschkaue shower room. A camera situated next to the projector captures an image of the projected image and feeds it to three monitors in the changing room space in the Waschkaue, and back via the ISDN video conferencing system to three video monitors in Duisburg.

The water wall, or screen, is located in the centre of the shower room and has two different images projected onto it simultaneously from either side. The audience are able to walk around the water screen and experience the images changing from a telematic link with Duisburg to black & white documentary footage of miners showering in the original Waschkaue. Floating independently on each side of the water wall, the two images are not mixed and appear as completely different scenarios from either side of the water screen.

The work simply wouldn’t exist without the water interface. It transports the public interaction and at the same time it reflects the area, the Ruhrgebiet, as a network of rivers and waterways. The shower room is the heart of the installation, all the visual and conceptional layers meet here. It refers to the present changes of industrial culture in the region: On the one side the viewers are confronted by the new era, the interactive platform of networked communication - a possible future ? - yet on the other side they discover the ghostlike shadows of the past miners showering in the water - a flashback to the abandoned space and its former working culture.

The coal mine at Schlaegel und Eisen, and its impressive shower and changing rooms (Waschkaue), have been closed down since 1997. Over a 1000 miners were using the Waschkaue each day. It was once one of the largest coal mines in Europe, employing over 7000 miners.

Andrea Zapp & Paul Sermon
duisburg - chroma key room 
herten waschkaue - changing room 
 herten waschkaue - shower room