Ken Johnson / New York Times / 2|9|2002
At the outset, the conceptual project called “Endcommercial” looks dauntingly dry. If you give it some time, though, you may find your vision of the city changed and vivified.
“Endcommercial” began as an archive of some 60,000 snapshots of common city sights, which Florian Böhm, Luca Pizzaroni and Wolfgang Scheppe have been compiling since 1997. Sorting through this visual data, the three collaborating artists began to discern groups, patterns and systems; they eventually arrived at the overarching system diagrammed like a family tree on one wall of the exhibition. The diagram seems opaque until you begin looking at the 1,000 pictures displayed all in a line on one wall.
Imbedded in stiff plastic, the photographs stick out perpendicularly so that browsing through them is like leafing through a giant photo album. They are arranged in groups, keyed to the wall diagram. Under Property Phenomenon, for example, is the category Locked Mobility, which displays images of damaged bicycles that have evidently remained locked to posts for long periods of time. The chapter Blue City, a subset of Membrane under the Order heading, has pictures of those ubiquitous bright blue tarpaulins used in construction projects. Other categories document the steel plates used to temporarily cover holes in the street, police barriers, standpipes, uses of duct tape, all kinds of signage, street vendors and many more unglamorous urban phenomena.
Leaving this lesson in street semiotics, you may become oddly alert to all kinds of things to which you ordinarily pay little attention.