Stommeln Synagogue: Those that are near. Those that are far.

Walid Raad and SITU collaborated to create an installation for Stommeln Synagogue, a historic institution in Pulheim, Germany.


Walid Raad, Laura Genes


Stommeln Synagogue


Pulheim, Germany




Werner J. Hannappel

Building on a 30-year tradition of artists commissioned to re-imagine the synagogue’s interior, Raad and SITU developed a project that probes the historical, social, and political forces that generate new types of space, while inviting the viewer to question and explore the nature of this transformation.

The exhibit titled, Those that are near. Those that are far. was on view from June 8th through September 25th.

The following text accompanied the installation:

With this work, we imagine the Stommeln synagogue as a departure and arrival point; an entry and an exit; a beginning and an end; a site for goings and comings; from above to below or below to above; from here to there or there to here; from far to near and near to far.

Cartels, refugees, dissidents, smugglers, prisoners, occupiers and occupied alike generate innovative spatial strategies. They do not enter and exit through the front door, the window or even the back porch. They unsettle social and legal boundaries, link inside and outside, private and public—crisscrossing vertical and horizontal strata—operating in equal parts logic and will.

These material tunnels are complemented by immaterial ones, a tunneling of vision, sound, light, and heat. No need to physically traverse space to reach the other side. Just send a wavelength through bodies, walls, floors, and ceilings and see what lurks on the other side.

Brought up to the light or descending into darkness? No. Hide in plain sight. Brought down by light.