Alabama in Munster

By | Category: Travel destinations
Tobias Rehberger and a switch box © Juliane Unkelbach

Tobias Rehberger and a switch box © Juliane Unkelbach

Last year in Brighton there were dozens of Grommit sculptures around the city. In the Autumn there were models of London double decker buses at different points in Westminster and the west end. This year it is Shaun the Sheep

But in the German city of Münster there are grey, electrical switch boxes that have received a makeover and turned into street sculpture.

Switchboxes are those things you see sometimes near lamp posts or just rectangular boxes with twin metal doors along the pavements. Sometimes a man perched on a canvas collapsible stool is fiddling with the wires that inside. But had the powers-to-be in the UK ever thought of turning them into something to brighten the street they adorn?

Tobias Rehberger did just that. This artist, well-known in his native Germany took eleven switch boxes and turned them into “sculptures.”

Rehberger, calls his artistic installation “The moon of Alabama”. Each of the different sites, refer to a specific city, some of them near and some far: Mumbai, Goa, Chernobyl and Kyoto for example, but also Wanne-Eickel, a place I confess I hadn’t come across. And this explains the mystery of the lamps: Whenever the moon rises in whichever city is meant, the light goes on in Münster.  What happens is that each pipe-like construction around the switch boxes is illuminated by an internal light at exactly the time that he moon rises in that particular city. So all are different and all are similar.

It is the latest in a series of public art enterprises that has taken place in the city but the big event will take place in two years’ time when the International Sculpture Project takes place in Münster.

For more about Münster, click here.


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