Lebenszeit, Zeitzaehler, Gloria Friedmann, Platz am Elbbahnhof, Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Magdeburg: counting time with Elb(e) and flow (FF)

I feel every hour of every day more keenly, especially as some of my contemporaries have recently died far too early. As children, we all felt we were held back, against the sluggish crawl of time. Today, we’re holding on as hard as we can, engulfed within the surge of time. Is it better to give in to the flow, or is it better to stand and making turbulence in the tide?

Along the Elbe river promenade in the east German city of Magdeburg, a sculpture appears to keep track of time in a neighbourhood not far from the city’s Cathedral.

The Elbbahnhof (Elbe train station) began operation in 1839, and although much of its primary functions were eventually transferred to the city’s central station, the station by the Elbe continued as a freight station in connection with the Hubbrücke rail lift-bridge (as seen in the photo above) until after German reunification. After the station’s final closure in 1998, the area was leveled and rebuilt as the Elbbahnhof neighbourhood with areas to live, work, and play. Not only does the neighbourhood “open” outwards like a balcony over the Elbe, the open space called Platz am Elbbahnhof (Stadtplatz) adjoins the river promenade, attracting people on foot or on bicycle.

The sculpture is a part of the city’s art museum contemporary collection exhibiting outdoors in the “Sculpture Park”. However, Friedmann’s piece is located a few hundred metres south at the Elbbahnhof neighbourhood and next to the new glass platform (“glass balcony”, 2009) as part of the IBA 2010 urban development project “Leben an und mit der Elbe” (Life next to and with the Elbe river). Gloria Friedmann’s work is called “Lebenszeit” (Lifetime) with a large plastic sphere containing clocks keeping time to the great rivers of the world, including the Mekong in southeast Asia and the Amazon in South America. At the top of the sphere, the Zeitzähler (time counter) holds in its hands a clock showing the present time on the Elbe river.

Water serves as the metaphor for time, and regardless where we are on this blue marble of a planet, the water in this river and in all of the oceans and in the clouds and in the rain unites us all, in the flow of this universal water-cycle and within the unstoppable flow of time.

Man sagt “die Zeit ist im Fluss” und es heisst “Flüsse verbinden”. Die Skulptur von Gloria Friedmann für die Elbe macht auf den Zusammenhang aufmerksam, der die Zeit für den Menschen wie für den Fluss, mit allen Wassern überall auf der Welt verbindet, mit den Wassern aller Flüsse und Seen, aller Wolken und Ozeane. Hier am Strom der Elbe, wie überall auf der Welt, hat den moderne Mensch die Gegenwart und auch die Zukunft in seinen Händen.
Lebenszeit, Zeitzaehler, Gloria Friedmann, Platz am Elbbahnhof, Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com

Morning with “Lebenszeit”, Platz am Elbbahnhof

IBA 2010, Platz am Elbbahnhof, Magdeburg, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany, fotoeins.com


Magdeburg is within easy 2-hour reach from Berlin by train, and is the host city for Germany Travel Mart 2016.

In Magdeburg, the … capital of Saxony-Anhalt, industrial areas are also being “greened,” albeit in smaller amounts than in Dessau-Rosslau. The site of an old train station on the banks of the Elbe River now has a lively public square featuring installations by Italian artist Maurizio Nannucci and German artist Gloria Friedmann, as well as — despite the city’s shrinking population — a new residential area.

– German article by Rainer Müller, in Der Spiegel (English), 9 April 2010

Thanks to Magdeburg Marketing Kongress und Tourismus and Hotel One for their support and hospitality. I made the photographs above on 3 December 2015. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-8j3.

I'd love to hear from you; please enter your comments below

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s