XXMiddle Battery

XXA photo story of yet another cross-atlantic project

Since 2007 I have been a recurring temporary resident of Newfoundland through AiR programs offered by the Pouch Cove Foundation, The Rooms/Terra Nova National Park and the Tilting Recreation and Cultural Society, and supported by the City of Dortmund, Memorial University of Newfoundland and the German Foundation for Canadian Studies. The related projects dealt with historical, cultural, and geographical connections between the so-called Old and New World. (See project links at the bottom of this page.)

Through my own ongoing travelling between Germany and Newfoundland, a new and personal connection across the Atlantic has built up over the years, which has now resulted in the Middle Battery project: Middle Battery Road is the street in the provincial capital St. John's where my partner and I have purchased a small old house in late 2015 which we aim to refurbish step by step over the upcoming years to become more regular if not 'permanent part-time' residents of Newfoundland.

This page will evolve with the work at Middle Battery Road and the experiences related to creating a second home across the Atlantic. It will give an artist's view onto this personal project that has emerged from my professional practice.

February 1st, 2016: Arrival on The Rock

Map of The Newfoundland Centred World (which is actually rather a St. John's centred world map) on Signal Hill where the first transatlantic radio signal was received by Guglielmo Marconi in 1901

A 20 min. walk from the house, f.l.t.r.: Cape Spear, Fort Amherst, The Narrows, St. John's Harbour, and Cabot Tower on Signal Hill

Wall art by former homeowner

You know the place is not exactly overcrowded with fellow countrymen (or women) when your bank welcomes its customers in 9 languages and your own is not amongst them...

Stripping the interior of the house after getting rid of the chimney

Stripped Striped

Ad for our application for a small extension in the weekend issue of The Telegram from March 5th

Our piece of The Rock: Bedrock under the groundfloor of the house, seen from the basement

March 28th: Foundation Day - we had concrete delivered for a new foundation for the rear of the house. Instead of carrying it up the steep stairs we built a slide to let it slip down from the road above.

This is a dream come true: I always wanted to have Adirondack chairs − and although these are made of plastic instead of wood, they are standing on our (half-rotten) deck in the Battery, St. John's NL!

April 11th, 2016 − end of Episode One: The house is now statically stable; and our extension was approved by the St. John's City Council two weeks ago.

The return flight to Germany took me on a detour via Newark, so we passed above Newfoundland again on our way to Europe from there.

When I opened the blinds after a nap on my flight to Newfoundland on June 23rd, I could see the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula and the site where, in the 1960s, archaeological evidence for a Norse presence in North America was found, pre-dating Columbus by around 500 years. This starts Episode Two.

We spent our first night in the house on June 27th, 2016 − we call it our wooden tent.

It's great to experience a second lilac and chestnut blossom season at the end of June / early July. Right: Canada Day fireworks on Quidi Vidi Lake

Very first attempts of creative gardening within the construction zone

A young moose on the loose in the St. John's Harbour, right beneath our house

Pinhole in the floor − and the name giving battery above the harbour on a foggy, sunny, soggy, funny day

Foam art and power performance.
Read about some non-renovation activities in my newsletter from Aug. 3rd: Summer News

Blueberries picked at about 5 min from our house − and the view from the berry patch

September 2016: The art of plumbing and some furnishing have converted our wooden tent into a cabin.

Posting this from back in Dortmund, I already miss this view. The creative gardening experiments proved successful, but the fruits will have to be harvested by others.

For more than half a year now, the harbour webcam and the monthly power bill have been the only live connections to our second home...

Waiting for our connecting flight in Dublin we spent the night at an airport restaurant named after the pilots of the first nonstop transatlantic flight (from St. John's, NL to Connemara, IR) in 1919.

We have a shower! And a new window to the harbour too...

While the major work at the house has come to a halt as the construction supervisor had to leave for Germany, the basement door has been revived and a spot for the new grill was created on the deck.

Hiking south of town: Given that the oil rig from Panama appears to be under repair over there the bay is obviously more useful than its name suggests...

Since June and scheduled to be finished in August 2018, the port authority is building a 125m long new finger pier right in front of our window. It will provide two more berths for oil rig supply ships.

The construction supervisor is back, and together we created a garden installation from a torn-down wall and clapboard to be painted on a flakes-like structure. Right: New octagon window in a rainy night

September 2017 − End of Episode Three: Old extension in a new yet traditional look.

Winter 2018 − the house is hibernating and I am entering new spheres at Memorial University

June 2018 − Episode Four begins with a new hole in the facade and new wooden outdoor installation

More cut-outs that will eventually go to the dump: preparing the corner window

Garden idyll with house part and cut tree

New resident in and around our enchanted garden; right: the old, shaky stairs will soon be history.

Swim with a view in Soldiers Pond and supper with a view through our new corner window

Exterior stairs in progress ⁄ interior stairs with hammer: a colour study

Busy harbour with well progressed new finger pier in the foreground

Not a totem but a post for the handrail of our new stairs; and our own car!

Purple floor, purple floor...

Winter casts its shadow: the salt mountain is piling up again

The Avalon Sea was the very first ship to berth at the new pier; top right: new pier in the first snow

Other cross-atlantic projects:
geodesic (2007), terra nova (2011), fyrir hafvillu fram (2012), face to face (2012),
Voyage Boxed (2013/2014), The Vinland Phenomenon (2015/2016)

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