In her series WARMTEBEELDEN / WARMTH SCULPTURES Bastienne Kramer investigates the transmission of warmth both in a technical-formal and material sense, and in its conceptual meaning. HOME MADE ENERGY addresses the hidden geography and explores present-day structures and qualities of spaces.
Amsterdam – Berlin, gas stations along the A1 and A2 in Germany: on hundreds of toilet doors between Hannover and Berlin a German company advertizes sophisticated stoves, fire places, heaters and other equipment that, belying their high-tech character, are able to realize home-made warmth in every living room.
The installation HOME MADE ENERGY highlights the things that represent homeliness and warmth. Through countless processes of reproduction that are inaccessible to the end user, the grid, material and shape of the heaters’ elements refer to the construction of ceramic tile stoves traditionally used in Southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Eastern Europe to distribute warmth ‘democratically’ across several rooms.
Kramer metaphorically translates heating systems into monumental installations that generate public warmth. The stove-like ceramic objects, moulded on upholstered panels of artificial leather and finished with a high-gloss glaze, are reminiscent of the plastic coated seating elements from the low-end furniture industry. The installations arise from the private and cultural necessity of heating while simultaneously realising warmth as a social and public affair. Contrary to expectation and in spite of their logical arrangements the objects do not consubstantiate with their purpose. According to Bruno Latour things can be understood as contentious issues: they keep us in check by various means to mark public conditions in a differential manner.