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PARA Kollektiv | Philipp Röding


PARA is a group of artists from Berlin and Frankfurt Main, which concerns itself with questions regarding time.

The collective explores future ruins, narratives of remembrance politics and questions the suitability and cultural hereditability of current forms of communal life. 

PARA's works are interdisciplinary, site-specific and performative, applying techniques of re-construction and speculation between scientific research and fiction. Hence, PARA is currently working on smoke as a poisonous hereditary load originating from the Capitalocene, as well as investigating fun parks as potential repositories for conspiracy theories. 

Philipp Röding (*1990) is a permanent member of PARA. In 2021, he is graduating with a doctorate in the program "Configurations of Film" with a study on the visual culture of sightseeing platforms. He is the author of several theatre plays, novels and short stories. Recently, his near-future-novel 20XX was published by Luftschacht Publishing.


TheSystemCollective | Daniela Weiss & Jascha Ehrenreich

TheSystemCollective are a community of artists and makers, who construct interactive VR and AR experiences, turning the beholder into the performer, thereby permeating the border between real, virtual and imaginary realities.

TheSystemCollective believes in a literary definition of "common goods" and thus transforms public space into a bearer of art, which in exchange becomes an integral part of urban culture. By virtual means, they allow the free positioning of works of art from a wide variety of fields, with the mission to create, procure, research, distribute and preserve (digital) art, as exemplified by their recent project The Artificial Museum.


Daniela Weiss (*1984, Vienna) is a digital hybrid artist exploring the worlds of analog and digital art.

Coming from a visual art background (BA Communication Design at Die Graphische Vienna) has with the start of her studies in Digital Art (University of Applied Arts Vienna) extended her creative research into the realm of mixed

Reality, co-founding the web-based augmented reality app The Artificial Museum for art positioning in public space in 2020.  


Jascha Ehrenreich (*1982, Vienna) is a platform creator and programmer of virtual experiences. During a 20-year journey of programming various systems, including homepages for NGOs and companies and interfaces and community platforms such as as well as the static page generator magic.




In the 19th century Chemnitz was one of the centres of industrialisation. Contemporary witnesses report that you couldn't see the city for all the soot. Until well into the 20th century, clouds of smoke were part of people's everyday lives. Currently, ways are being sought in Chemnitz to find other forms of economic activity based on digital and supposedly smoke-free technologies. In the foreseeable future, according to PARA's hypothesis, smoke will have disappeared from the collective imagination. The chimneys will turn into Thomassons, mysterious elements of urban space whose function is not intuitively obvious. Under the motto "A monument to smoke", PARA is therefore already planning to set up a pop-up monument office. Here, together with the residents of Sonnenberg, we will work on the question of how smoke can be commemorated in the future.

Template for the submission of ideas for the Chemnitz Smoke Monument

Instructions for installing the AR app


In times of isolation, TheSystemCollective, a community of artists and makers, decided to declare public space as a free space for art creation and reinvention.The Artificial Museum (ARM) creates a global map of surrealities with virtual sculptures that become tangible with a web-based AR application:

The free placement of virtual artefacts in public places invites visitors to experience an extension of reality on their smartphones. A growing community of artists is given an international creative space that is opened up to the local neighbourhood.


>> PARA: Looking back to the fossil age:  

smoke-experiments @Sonnenberg 


>> Preview: PARA-Cloud-Office 

coming soon @Sonnenberg



What was your first association regarding this year's topic Drag&Drop?

Philipp: "First of, the small computer hand-icon with the Mickey-Mouse glove comes to mind, and that "plop"-sound, when you drop a file into a folder."  

How is your work here in Chemnitz different from what you usually do? 


Philipp: "My practice is mainly concerned with text-based work; I am a writer. Working together as PARA, we all do a bit of everything - getting a feel for the location, its environment, that is what I usually do. 

My work here is not that different - I have read up on all things concerning smoke - about whaling, the production of whale oil as an illuminant, books about London during the industrialisation, because I am trying to get a feeling for what it was like to live in a typical worker's district like the Sonnenberg, back then when everything was full of smoke. 

To develop this kind of understanding via texts and images, is a typical approach for me. This morning I for instance read a text by Heinrich Böll about the Ruhrgebiet, which is also one of the German industry locations. I read a lot about the "Kohleausstieg", everything that is connected to the topic of societal transformation, the shift from the process of burning things to something new, unknown." 

"PARA's gaze is one from a supposed future on our current epoch. From a speculative time, one gazes back on a past, which is our present. To view the present from the future, opens up quite a few things. On the Sonnenberg, this approach serves us well, as one can see, that a lot of things are just at their beginning here - the Kreativhof is a typical example, because here people have started tackling the question of which kind industry is future-oriented and sustainable?"



Tell us about one of your works, which you like to think back to. 


Philipp: "The Ruins of Speculation in Frankfurt. It was about the idea of the financial market in the future. It is a very particular idea of an open future, that can only be statistically modulated, but is undefinable in advance. We thought that this idea will once just as much belong to the past as e.g. the future concepts of the antiquity. Hence, we declared the Taunus-Area to be world cultural heritage. We guided people through the district and got talking with many of them. They reacted intensely to our work; the fiction of time-travel, we conjured up was sometimes really strong. "  



What were your first impressions of Chemnitz?

TheSystemCollective: "What we noticed first were the many fallow building sites. That many things are under construction, changing. We got the feeling, that we arrived at the beginning of an evolvement, an unfolding - and that suits us quite well." 

Is there a tool or a software you especially like to work with?


TheSystemCollective: "It is important for us, to work with as much Freeware as possible. That includes e.g. Blender, a 3D Programme. For programming, we use e.g. Leaflet, Three.js and our own Open Source Programmes; our Map was built in OpenStreetMap. All of these are programs that have a participatory access. We try to convey this kind of access to the artists, who we introduce to digital tools. Usually, the software turns the user's ideas into a product; but here, we remain the owners of what we create. Just like that, it is important to us, that the artists remain owners of the works they place on our map."  

Tell us about one of your works, which you like to think back to. 

TheSystemCollective: "Our artistic collaboration began with an exhibition in a vacant shop in Vienna. The works that were developed there were saved digitally and transformed into virtual sculptures, which were placed in urban space. Artists from all disciplines could thus distribute their works in all of Vienna. The exhibition series was called “TheSystem - Phase.1”. Many artists, whose exhibitions were cancelled last year then came to us and motivated us to continue. It became clear: what we do, is a museum without a fixed place. We are not your typical curators, we share a platform for own concepts and their positioning in public space." 


>> Digitalization of sculptures in public space


>> Preview for the Artifical Museum by TheSystemCollective



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