Johann Husser – On the Edges of an Idea

Johann Husser was born in 1990 in Kemerovo, Russia, before he moved to Germany in Dortmund, Ruhr area, at the age of 3½. After starting studying Spacial Planning, he finally changed to photography and graduated in 2017 in Dortmund, Johann now applies for an MA in several universities in the country. His Bachelor Thesis project On the Edges of an Idea is a photographic study of urban utopias.

how did you come to photography?
My first encounter with photography, or a camera, at least as I can remember, was when my parents got their first digital camera in 2004 or 2005 I guess, a canon ixus. I often borrowed it when wandering about with my friends and took random pictures. I was constantly photographing since then but saw it more as a hobby and a means of experimentation.

Focusing on photography as something that I want to pursue and spent most of my time with only became relevant when facing severe dissatisfaction with the study I started with initially. Not in terms of topics but how it was taught and what my option were after graduating. I am still influenced by subjects of spatial and urban planning but I incorporate those interests into my photographic and artistic practice. I found myself being more comfortable and versed expressing myself in a visual context. So at one point I decided to quit my initial study and apply for a BA in photography.

Tell us more about your series On the Edges of an Idea
On the Edges of an Idea (An den Rändern einer Idee) is my project where my initial study of Spatial Planning is the most present. Place is a very important subject in my artistic and photographic discourse and especially since I was quite certain to move away from the Ruhr area, it became important to me to elaborate on where I have been for the last 6-7 years and where I am right now. The approach with this project was very conceptual, I developed five zones

The photography itself is very much focused on the psycho-geographical aspect of the places I’ve been to.

(all along the borders of the many cities of the Ruhr area) in the area to which I would travel over a period of one and a half year. The resulting work consists of 26 field trips to this five zones of interest. The photography itself is very much focused on the psycho-geographical aspect of the places I’ve been to.

The Ruhr area / Ruhrgebiet, in North Rhine-Westphalia, is the largest metropolitan area in Germany. It is a polycentric agglomeration of several large cities with an industrial past. Historically, the eastern part of the Ruhr area belonged to Westphalia and the western part to the Rhineland. In the early 20th century, the Siedlungsverband Ruhrkohlenbezirk (SVR) proposed to detach the Ruhr area from Rhineland and Westphalia, to form an administrative and geographical unity. The idea of the Ruhrcity is build upon this proposition and even the Regionalverband Ruhr (RVR), a supracommunial institution, later considered a unification of the individual Ruhr cities. Merging those cities under the moniker of the Ruhrcity would result in the formation of the largest city in Germany.

[…] By taking up the role of a traveler and employing the archetype of the non-place, the project questions the cohesiveness of the Ruhr area as one city. The result is a body of work that examines the connections between these cities and how urban space can be recorded and understood in a photographic context.

Learn more on his website.

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