BND - Standort Pullach
A project by Andreas Magdanz
THE BND   Even before it began its work on April 1st 1956, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s intelligence service, was inseparably linked to the site in Pullach near Munich. For decades, this Bavarian town has been synonymous with an important and controversial chapter of German post-war history which, even today, is marked by “opinions, clichés and prejudices”, according to the present chairman of the BND, Dr. August Hanning. The decision reached by the security cabinet chaired by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder on April 10 th 2003, namely to relocate the headquarters of the intelligence service to Berlin, signifies a radical turning point in the way the intelligence agency sees itself. During the course of this relocation, Andreas Magdanz was offered the historic opportunity to take a closer look at this history-steeped area in Pullach, which will probably be abandoned in 2011 following the move, within the context of an artistic photographic project and without any limitations of access.
THE PROJECT The object of the artistic project »BND - STANDORT PULLACH« by Andreas Magdanz is a comprehensive photographic documentation of the 68-hectare core premises of the BND in Pullach. The project’s focus is the compilation of a high-quality book of photographs which is due to be published in April of 2006 by the prestigious Cologne publisher DuMont. In analogy to the project »DIENSTSTELLE MARIENTHAL«, the BND documentation will be produced on a cartographic basis in order to enable the observer to orient himself visually in the hermetically sealed area. Here, topographical, functional and historic parameters represent the criteria of the review.
THE LARGE-FORMAT PHOTOGRAPHY Like no other medium, large-format photography is suited to condense visually this history-charged subject matter with respect to content and medium. The media theorist Peter Weibel characterises its specific quality thus: “The [photographic, the author] large-format image focuses attention onto perception itself. We become aware of perceiving. By this observation of the second order, this observation of the observation, an increased, intensified, multiplied attention is created.” In the case of the BND headquarters in Pullach, the discourse is intensified by the fact that the task of the institution being observed is itself aimed at gathering of information. Therefore, the individual artistic accomplishment with regard to the picture consists in the task of also reflecting information that, at the moment, is not transported visually. Therefore, the key question is: what is not visible? The core issue of the methodical implementation, therefore, is the inclusion of the creatorship, which on the planes of subject and object simultaneously encompasses the observer as well. The implementation by the artist enters into dialogue with the subject that is charged with myths, with the label BND and its multi-layered ambivalent connotations. The aim is to explore the thin line between picture and image, between information and disinformation, between mystification and truth on the plane of the picture.
Christoph Schaden