The New Patrons of Schwarzheide / Lauchhammer

Patrons: Ingo Senftleben, Paul-Gerhard Thiele, Pupils of the SeeCampus

Mediators: Lea Schleiffenbaum, Gerrit Gohlke

Artist: Sol Calero

Duration: 2014 – 2022

Partners: Förderverein Schwarzheide-Lauchhammer e.V., Landkreis Oberspreewald-Lausitz, Fondation de France, BASF Schwarzheide GmbH, BKV Potsdam e.V.

Casa Isadora

The SeeCampus Niederlausitz is a site of the future. Grown together from various schools in the communities of Lauchhammer and Schwarzheide, today it combines a Gymnasium (college prep high school) and an Oberstufenzentrum (vocational college) with state-of-the-art technical teaching equipment. It serves as a local sports center and holds the communal library. Generations of pupils discover here the interests that will influence how they shape their lives or carry out their occupational training.

But the school’s support association wasn’t content with that. Shortly after the campus was opened, it was decided to supplement and expand the building with an art project. The pupils themselves were to decide what this project would look like. Mediated by the New Patrons, they were thoroughly asked what creative changes to the building they would like to see. The respondents’ vote was clear: they wanted a separate room they could furnish themselves as a place to retreat and to meet. The school’s functional architecture with its specialized cabinets and its prominent location on the lake shore fulfill many wishes. But precisely because of its energy-efficient construction, it offers few open spaces for breaks and little surface for creative further development. The pupils wanted an art project that would provide that. They wanted a room to be added that would be unique to the SeeCampus and that would also reflect the learners’ dedication to their site of learning.

The internationally renowned artist Sol Calero, who was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1982, creates precisely such social spaces. Her pavilions with variously plants, designed walls, and self-built furniture can be described as traversable paintings. One of them – Casa Isadora – was set up outside of the direct visual axis of the SeeCampus on a green meadow beside the SeeCampus’s sports field. The open, roofed structure with mobile seating is a platform and a stage at the same time.

The pavilion was originally designed for an exhibition at the Brücke Museum and was shown at Copenhagen Contemporary before arriving at SeeCampus Niederlausitz. The title of the work refers to Isadora Duncan (1877-1927). The U.S. dancer didn’t see her main task in tours or performances, but in educating youth. In the course of her life, Duncan founded several schools for contemporary dance.

Presenting the work to the pupils of the SeeCampus thus closed a circle. They are who will fill the Casa Isadora with life and make the pavilion into what Sol Calero envisions: a site of interaction where young people can, on the one hand, laugh, converse, and play music together and, on the other hand, linger and relax.

The artist redesigned the pavilion together with a group of students in the course of a 3-day Workshop. Afterwards, the students formed a workgroup, that is now taking care of the preservation, expansion and use of the pavilion.

A work like Casa Isadora is never finished, but develops in dialog with those who care for it and use it. They complete Calero’s “traversable painting” and enable it to appear in ever new constellations. This life of its own is important to the artist. It reflects the course of time, everyday life at school, and the changing generations.

As a preliminary stage of today's project, the New Patrons and the Förderverein Schwarzheide-Lauchhammer e. V. invited international artists to take part in a participation process that lasted several years. This resulted in an initial art project that proved impossible to realise. The SeeCampus project was relaunched with a second mediator.