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Thu, Apr 11    6:30pm


Please join us on Thursday, April 11th for a talk by Natalia Irina Roman, a visiting scholar, artist, and Fulbright Fellow.

This lecture explores the artistic potential within the railway systems of major urban centers like Berlin and New York, aiming to enrich everyday commuting experiences. It showcases an ongoing art research at Bauhaus University Weimar, which activates and preserves disused interlocking towers along frequently used urban railway tracks to redefine traditional art engagement. Towers around the world are currently rendered obsolete in their function of safeguarding railway travel, remaining vacant due to their proximity to the tracks. By incorporating movement into the artistic encounter, the project encourages commuters to view curated installations during their daily train journeys, inviting them to connect disparate elements and complete the artwork in their own imagination.

While art at train stations has a long tradition, this research highlights the often-overlooked artistic spaces between stations, historically marginalized in academic and artistic realms. Central to this inquiry is an independent collaborative artist residency with the German railway company Deutsche Bahn, initiated in 2017, utilizing vacant interlocking towers in and around Berlin as spaces for artistic exploration. Additionally, the initiative fosters collaborative exhibitions, attracting interest from numerous artists, as well as classes taught at Bauhaus University Weimar and Berlin University of Arts, classes partly taking place on trains. This lecture provides insights into the intricate collaboration with Deutsche Bahn, which entails coordination among employees from various departments, as well as holding a studio in an interlocking tower in Berlin.

Moreover, the lecture explores new partnerships with MTA and Amtrak, aiming to access interlocking towers around NYC for potential artistic transformation. Embedded within the historical context of artist residencies, this initiative reflects a commitment to pushing the boundaries of artistic expression, resonating with pioneering endeavors such as Mierle Laderman Ukeles’ residency in NYC.

Natalia Irina Roman is an artist, curator, and researcher, with a background in fine arts and public policy. Her diverse portfolio spans solo and group exhibitions internationally, focusing on installation, video, photography, and participatory art. Since 2017, Natalia has initiated an art cooperation with the railway company Deutsche Bahn, transforming interlocking towers into art spaces for train passengers, funded by Berlin Capital’s Cultural Fund. Beyond exhibitions, she engages in public discussions and teaches at Bauhaus University Weimar and Berlin University of the Arts. Currently, Natalia is a visiting scholar and Fulbright Fellow.

Organized as part of the Preservation Lecture Series, an initiative of the Historic Preservation Program at Columbia GSAPP.