Vorsicht Stufe

Ceal Floyer
January 1, 2009

Vorsicht Stufe, 2006/09

Ready-made signs affixed to staircase

Installation on existing stairs 

Several identical brass signs saying "Mind the step" in German are installed on each step of a staircase. A danger of stumbling may be generated by wanting to read the signs, thwarting the advice to use caution. It is also the repetition that empties the signs of their usefulness as warning. 

 

Photo © Roman März

Vorsicht Stufe, 2006/09

Ready-made signs affixed to staircase

Installation on existing stairs 

Several identical brass signs saying "Mind the step" in German are installed on each step of a staircase. A danger of stumbling may be generated by wanting to read the signs, thwarting the advice to use caution. It is also the repetition that empties the signs of their usefulness as warning. 

 

Photo © Roman März

Vorsicht Stufe, 2006/09

Ready-made signs affixed to staircase

Installation on existing stairs 

Several identical brass signs saying "Mind the step" in German are installed on each step of a staircase. A danger of stumbling may be generated by wanting to read the signs, thwarting the advice to use caution. It is also the repetition that empties the signs of their usefulness as warning. 

 

Photo © Roman März

Vorsicht Stufe

Ceal Floyer
Humboldt Universit├Ąt, Berlin
January 1, 2009
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The artist placed a large number of identical signs which bear the text Vorsicht Stufe (Mind the step) on a staircase, one on each of the 56 treads connecting the ground level with the 1st floor of the Humboldt University building in Berlin. In Ceal Floyer’s installation, the concealed potential lies not in the individual warning, familiar from everyday life, but in the perception of the situation created through the phrase’s repetition. Viewed from the foyer, these signs appear to go on forever. The foyer displays the famous Karl Marx quote “Philosophers have only interpreted the world in different ways, though it depends on the change to be made.” Vorsicht Stufe consists of faux brass elements matching the appearance of the wall text and the hand rails of the staircase. It is precisely in this irritation and in the question of danger about which you are being warned, that the danger of falling—both physically and intellectually—is hidden. Especially because by observing each of the signs, tripping on the staircase is made more likely. It reverses the reality of the individual warning sign in its daily use, makes it banal, and so weakens its inherent functionality. In this way, the British artist humorously takes on the German sense of order and the norms of standardization by which warnings are regimented in public space. 

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