Collaborations and Bio
An itinerant art collective celebrating absurdity and the new grotesque
Providing blind archaeologists with the finest quality flashlights and orchestrating adventurous scavenger hunts in delightfully unsettling locations since 1998.
Recent events: Las Palabras de Muerte (Barcelona) // Beach Blanket Bingo (Detroit) // Phantom of the Opera (Catskills) (graphics & video by Bryan Papciak)
Photo by Suzy Poling
I've been a photographer, event organizer and curator since the late 1990s and a writer all my life. Born and raised in Germany, I studied philosophy at UCLA before moving to New York, where I was increasingly drawn to the narratives offered by abandoned and subterranean urban spaces. In 1998 I started Dark Passage in Brooklyn in close collaboration with the Madagascar Institute and our events have been ongoing. The mission of Dark Passage has been to stage evocative, performance-based scavenger hunts and parlor games in forgotten spaces and inspire people to playfully create stories and relationships that place ruins in a fun and meaningful context. We've also been documenting all kinds of architectural decay and exploring ways to turn our adventures and ruminations into art.
I founded Ars Subterranea: The Society for Creative Preservation in 2002 with New York's first exhibition on underground art in an actual underground location, the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel; the same year the German version of my book New York Underground was published in Berlin. I contributed to American Ruins, Place in History and co-founded Furnace Press while continuing collaborations with Tom Kirsch, Bryan Papciak, Suzy Poling and other artists. These past and present projects have mainly revolved around the temporality, aesthetics, personalities and narratives emerging from decomposition.
After organizing a Dark Passage event in Detroit in 2007, a few friends and I decided to move there in 2008, gradually establishing our new outpost in the form of the Seafoam Palace. Prestel published my book Stages of Decay on abandoned theaters in 2013; next up is Capsule out of Time from Arcadia.
Fellow of the New York Foundation for the Arts and
recipient of the Kathy Acker Award in photography