Thingstätten by Maria Vedder

Opening: 18.11.2022 

Exhibition:19.11 - 09.12.2022
Location: Markgrafenstraße 86, 10969 Berlin



2019 until today, Work in Progress

Multi-channel installation

Projections and monitors, installation dimensions variable.

5 short films of Thingplaces in NRW were supported by Foundation Künstlerdorf Schöppingen,

Kultursekretariat NRW Gütersloh, project Stadtbesetzung/Erkundungen,

Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia

Beside the installation there is also a FILM, in which all previous recordings are summarized.

Planned are about 40 films from preserved Thing places in Germany.

Throughout Europe, votes for radical right-wing positions are increasing. After the immense catastrophe brought upon the world by the National Socialists in the last world war, this fascination is hard to comprehend. It is particularly frighteningly topical in war-torn Russia. To understand more, I would like to use the example of the National Socialist THINGSTÄTTEN to examine one aspect of the propaganda of the time, the places of seduction.


Throughout Germany in the 1930s, Thingstätten were erected, theater-like gathering places built by the Nazi regime to spread its ideology. With falsified historical recourse to ancient Germanic traditions, theatrical performances were to take place at them, so-called Thingpiele. These were supposed to allow the individual to experience an emotional absorption in the homeland and the national community. For this reason, impressive scenic sites were chosen as Thing sites: atmospheric places surrounded by forests, by bodies of water, embedded in hills or natural rocks, at ruins or other traces of local history.

In Germanic times, a Thing or Ding was the people's and court assembly. It dealt with legal matters and was always held in the open air. The Nazis abused the idea of Thing meeting places for staging the cult of the Führer.

From 1933 until the outbreak of war in 1939, up to 400 Thing sites were planned or started. Approximately 60 open-air theaters were completed. Of the majority, one knows today the place, many are still used for concerts and theater performances.

This project is to document all former Thing sites in Germany. Here you can see Thingstätten in NRW in Herchen, Jülich, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Porta Westfalica and Wattenscheid.

The cinematic approach to these sites is done from the air. With a camera drone a trip is started vertically above the Thingplatz, you can see the whole environment, the camera slowly approaches, it turns around its own axis until the square fills the picture. The image spinning like a spiral creates a suction. It is a figurative expression of the seduction and agitation of the population by National Socialism.





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