If you did not know any better, you might think Alpacas are the best lockdown cuddle-buddies one could wish for. They just look so cute, but appearances are deceptive. An Alpaca’s tongue is so short that mothers are genetically incapable of licking their newborns clean after giving birth. As a result, Alpacas are unconditioned to receive physical affection beyond a friendly nose bump, anything more intimate is considered undesirable behavior.
In the last two years, humans have adopted similar behaviour in the name of social distancing. A form of control which is very natural for the alpacas, still a bit unusual for humans. We think the post-pandemic situation in Europe will continue putting a lens on regionalized societies and European tourism. This more inward focus is a result of a strong hangover from years of expanding globalism. What opportunities does a rapidly changing world present for the Nordschwarzwald, the Enzkreis and Pforzheim? How can this agile postmodern city benefit more from its regional strengths and proximity to the countryside, industries, design, art, and tourism?
To embed ourselves in local dynamics and learn from localities, we are taking residence at different locations around Pforzheim every month. For this month’s immersion, we camped at the Hofgut Buckenberg – sleeping with the animals in the barn and spending our evenings practising a breathing ritual accompanied by Alpacas and the smell of freshly mown grass. During the daytime, we ventured out to the city and surroundings to meet with the local Mittelstand, entrepreneurs and hidden champions of Baden-Württemberg. We sought to take an active approach to learn how art and design might regenerate, reconsider or intervene in the decarbonization of our economies and speculate about a post-pandemic Germany and regionalization of Europe.
From the polished streets and facades to a metal plant where old memories are washed off and melted down to new precious metals, we encounter cleanliness everywhere we go. Kehr-Woche, the weekly duty of cleaning communal living areas, seems to be as rooted in the Baden-Würtenberger as in the Alpaca. It is evident that these animals are much cleaner than most livestock and for some of us even pleasantly smell like popcorn. Join us for more popcorn culture during our upcoming workweek from September 6 to 10 at the Kommunales Kino Pforzheim.