Anyone who takes the commuter train to Essen-Steele station will notice the obvious consequences of the large-scale urban planning decision of the 1970s to create a car-friendly city: a pedestrian bridge spanning a seven-lane highway connects the train station to the downtown area. At the end of the bridge, on the left, is the former Wertheim department store, and to the right the pastel-yellow Kaiser Otto Residence for senior citizens lines the path to the city centre. In her work tomorrow, there will be no monsters, the American artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed (b. 1985 in East Palo Alto, California), who has a degree in education, transforms the facade of the former store into a giant picture composed of hard-to-decipher fragments of text and photographs. The artist has placed these elements in some of the building’s windows and on the wall of the former department store entrance. Using the AI image generation software MidJourney, Kameelah Janan Rasheed rendered once-recognisable letters into a text that is no longer legible, evoking memories of a hazy, elusive dream or of a poorly executed copy that blurs the original. This ambiguity also reflects on the question of how communication plays out in public space: What typography and graphic elements are used? What messages are intended for whom? What do the existing traces tell us about utilisation patterns?
In her work, Kameelah Janan Rasheed examines the technologies and rituals used by people to generate knowledge and contexts of meaning, to share and to archive, but also to conceal. Taking the medium of language as a starting point, the artist cultivates an interest in the visual dimensions of text, as well as in colloquialism and nonlinearity as ways to narrate the experience of Black people. She often develops large-format collages and installations, video works, and publications.
Außenfassade (ehem. Wertheim-Kaufhaus)