Video, HDV, 54 min, 2011
The film portrays Mies van der Rohe's Colonnade and Pavilion apartment buildings in Newark, New Jersey through conversations with its inhabitants. Built between 1954 and 1960, the Colonnade and Pavilion Apartments—three glass-and-steel towers—and the Christopher Columbus Homes, a public housing project in between them, marked the beginning of urban renewal in Newark. Interviews with tenants about their experiences of living in the classic modernist buildings are juxtaposed with shots of their apartments and stunning views from their windows.
An interesting thing about Heidrun Holzfeind's work [...] is the way it leads us to ask a different sort of question. That is, it manifests a notion of architecture not purely as image, not purely as volume, but as social space, as a molding and molded shell homologous to other social structures reactive with its users, its residents. The Newark buildings present a less iconic case, their symbolic value—their lateness, obscurity, and impurities—shaded in ambiguities. Holzfeind’s work eludes the category of artifact because the unquantified social relations within and without replace the archeologist's brush and magnifying glass. It is not buried and unearthed but always inhabited, always operative. It is not concerned with the question of modernism per se but rather with the
inter-secting subjectivities produced in spite and because of modernism's and modernization's aggregations. (Niko Vicario)
Mies' vision of Newark in a painting at the leasing office at the Colonnade