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Insula Communis’ – a Climate Art Work

The Insula Communis is part of the series of floating installations by Joy Lohmann, which meaningfully continues the evolutionary process of the modular recycling island, ‘Open Island’, through multi-layered installations and staging. The Climate Art Work is conceived as a ‘social sculpture’ to be perceived and experienced on multiple levels.

It started with a collaborative ‘Makers Camp’ in the Brückmühle in Oranienbaum (Saxony Anhalt). More than 40 interdisciplinary ‘Makers for Humanity’ participated in this residency supported by the Art Foundation of Saxony Anhalt, in which different themed islands were conceived and realized as a self-sufficient, floating habitat on Gremminer Lake.

To date the most elaborate Open Island production on Gremminer Lake thematised rising sea levels resulting from climate change much more clearly than before, along with subsequent waves of migration. The island was built together with refugees from the neighbouring area, and staged as a utopian model of a ‘floating rescue island in the Mediterranean’.

Gremminer Lake and the Ferropolis Industrial Museum with its gigantic brown coal excavators provided the background to the music festivals Splash! and Melt! for tens of thousands of festivalgoers while this exhibition was still in place. A shift in perspective on the discussion of refugees was pre-programmed for visitors to the island, particularly the curious party people who might reach the island by swimming who were, however, confronted with an application form in Arabic before they could enter.

In addition to the floating installation with its happenings connected to the immediate location and situation, at the Ampelhaus Gallery in Oranienbaum a special exhibition featured the history, vision and themed areas of the Open Islands. There visitors could actively engage and experiment with a model of Gremminer Lake using their own island ideas. Pupils from the Ferropolis school also worked with the island model.

Following the thematic series of events, the ‘Island Encounters’ held by Ferropolis Inc., as well as additional special events by project partners, the overall reality-based art experience was rounded off with the ‘Island Talks’ in July 2016: ‘Entrepreneurs, Makers, Creative Economy’, ‘Refugees, Neighbours, New Culture’, and ‘Welcome to the Anthropocene’.

In addition to the artwork and the open-source island kit, the ‘Open Island’ is a growing community consisting of different hands-on groups, such as for example, ‘Earthship Biotecture Germany’, ‘Transition Town Initiatives’, ‘Endboss – Social Skater Parks’, among others. Under the symbol of a communal island (as a ‘new world’) and based on collective humanitarian values as well as creative-practical principles, the protagonists come together as the international and interdisciplinary, ‘Makers for Humanity’.

Further information in English is available at: www.open-island.org (German language information: www.open-island.de )
For current discussions and photo documentation see the Facebook group.