Benjamin Antony Monn – Endor Project
“Benjamin A. Monns’ latest photo project goes under the title of “Endor Project” and has been named after the eponymous planet in Star Wars 2 whose forests are covered by futuristic space stations. In Monns’ photo series, which he is developing within a work-in-progress process, the subject is real functional buildings, which similarly contrast with their immediate environment. Here, the image of being implanted takes on a new, monumental dimension: humans place a building into a landscape where nothing has been built for thousands of years. Like an exotic plant in a little local garden, the building then interacts with its environment. In this situation, it is quite possible for a positive and exciting interplay to take place between architecture and nature. Far more frequently, the building and the landscape stand isolated side by side and create a totally dissonant image.
In his on-going series, Benjamin Monn wishes to focus on both the ancient and the modern civil engineering works in Europe, Asia and America, which dominate their environment in the same way with their abstract, monumental architecture. In series such as “Candela”, Monns has already grappled with western functional building on several occasions. Here, he has frequently dealt with European museum buildings due to their special architecture. With respect to this process of perception, his latest photo project, Endor, shows a further progression: The impact, which the functional buildings portrayed, on the aesthetics of their natural environment seems quite incredible. The human eye would simply not be able to take in the discrepancy between architecture and nature at first glance. This is why Monns’ photography, full of rich contrasts, seems at first staged and unreal – but the shocking contrast between landscape and architecture is real. The ski jump in Innsbruck by the Persian architect Zaha Hadid – looking just as unreal as a space station on the forest planet of Endor – really is located in the middle of the mountains and a pine forest, which have been ravaged by the construction of the building. Just as real is the gigantic dish of a radio telescope, which has been set up in the Bavarian uplands surrounded by green meadows and an old chapel.
His photography puts the building and the environment into the picture on equal terms. They document without making any value judgements. This is left to the observer. On the one hand, the observer can clearly see how devastatingly humans have attacked nature with their architecture, disregarded it and in the meantime destroyed it. On the other hand, these constructions also reflect at the same time the industrial and technical development of their times. In the sense of a historical document, they provide a record of the engineering techniques of their particular epoch. This means that dams tell the story of the early days of creating electrical current, surveillance posts and radio installations bring to mind the Cold War, solar installations look to the future of renewable energy.
What motivates him is to comprehend architecture in relation to the social circumstances of each respective epoch. And, as a result, his photography documents much more than just industrial history – it relates the history of humankind.”
see more images from Endor Project and other interesting projects on Benjamin Antony Monn’s website