Interdisciplinary art project with Prof. Michael Reder
Art intervention in public space, projection, Wittelsbacherplatz, Munich, DE, 2019

Invited as Artist in Residence by WhiteBOX

The core of the interdisciplinary art project is a publicly accessible art installation which builds on the approachability, experienceability and emotional perceptibility of the sensitive and supercharged inter-cultural and inter-religious themes through a large-scale light intervention in urban space in Munich. EASTERN MUNICH takes a look at the city of Munich itself, explores it in its multiple perspectives and returns the gained insights and experiences back to the city in multifaceted ways.

Based on the question of visibility and manifestation of religion in cityscapes, white lines of light floor plans depicting sacred buildings and spaces of the three monotheistic world religions – from Munich’s city foundation in 1158 and reaching into the future – are made visible as 1:1 projections in order to open up unknown perspectives and insights, to connect them with each other and make their peculiarities, similarities and tensions experienceable.

The sacred buildings and rooms open up, surround the perceiver, become accessible and can be experienced in their size, form, variety and significance.

The non-manifest depiction of visual forms through pure light lends lightness to the complex themes and makes it possible to approach the foreign, the other, the politically charged less biased.

Installation view, animated dissolving sand transition between changing floor plans
Installation view, animated dissolving sand transition between changing floor plans

Wittelsbacher-Platz is located in the immediate vicinity of Odeonsplatz, a central square that is also the starting point for the Long Night of Munich’s Museums.

The equestrian statue of Maximilian I. is a counterpoint to the themes of EASTERN MUNICH, creating friction and raising questions. As an absolutist ruler within the Counter-Reformation he played an ambivalent role in cultural-religious diversity. The quantity of religious spaces existing in Munich break this attitude open and contrast it with an alternative perspective on cultural-religious plurality, with all its friction and potential.

Opening night of Eastern Munich, Lange Nacht der Muenchner Museen, Munich, 2019
Opening night of Eastern Munich, Lange Nacht der Muenchner Museen, Munich, 2019

19th of October, in coop. with Lange Nacht der Münchner Museen, Wittelsbacher Platz, Munich, DE, 2019

Initiated as invited Artist in Residence program by whiteBOX Kultur gGmbH in cooperation with the Munich School of Philosophy. Developed by interdisciplinary artist Lia Sáile in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Michael Reder (Chair of Practical Philosophy, focus on international understanding at the Munich School of Philosophy).

The installation will be finalized by a discursive format, exhibition, sound piece and a book publication in May 2020.

Projection floor plan list – October 2019


111 selected floor plans out of a larger pool.

001 Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche (Fröttmaning) (Catholic)
002 Jerusalemkirche (Evangelical)
003 St. Benno (Catholic)
004 Adventskirche (Evangelical)
005 Camii Moschee – Deutsch Islamisches Kulturzentrum e.V. (Muslim)
006 Christkönig (Catholic)
007 Cantatekirche (Evangelical)
008 Džemat IKRE (Muslim)
009 Friedenskirche (Evangelical)
010 Métivier-Synagoge (bis 1887) (Jewish)
011 Alte Sollner Kirche St. Johann Baptist (Catholic)
012 St. Johann Baptist (Catholic)
013 Epiphaniaskirche (Evangelical)
014 Fatih Camii (Muslim)
015 Dreifaltigkeitskirche (Catholic)
016 Immanuel-Nazareth Kirche (Evangelical)
017 Maria Schutz (Catholic)
018 anonym (Muslim)
019 St. Matthäus (Evangelical)
020 Salvatorkirche (Orthodox)
021 St. Johannes Bosco (Catholic)
022 St. Ludwig (Catholic)
023 Evangeliumskirche (Evangelical)
024 Islamische Gemeinschaft Tevhid München (Muslim)
025 Paul-Gerhardt-Kirche (Evangelical)
026 Pasinger Moschee (Haci Bayram) (Muslim)
027 St. Canisius (Catholic)
028 Wallfahrtskirche St. Anna (Catholic)
029 Gustov-Adolf-Kirche (Evangelical)
030 Freimann-Moschee (Islamisches Zentrum München) (Muslim)
031 Freimann-Moschee (Islamisches Zentrum München) (female) (Muslim)
032 Heilig-Kreuz-Kirche (Giesing) (Catholic)
033 Olympiakirche (Evangelical)
034 St. Johannes (Evangelical)
035 Philippuskirche (Evangelical)
036 Ömer Moschee (Muslim)
037 St. Clemens (Catholic)
038 St. Georg (Catholic)
039 Apostelkirche (Evangelical)
040 Mariahilfkirche  (Catholic)
041 Münchner Forum für Islam e.V. (Muslim)
042 Dankeskirche (Evangelical)
043 St. Johann von Capistran (Catholic)
044 St. Martin (Untermenzing) (Catholic)
045 Theatinerkirche (Catholic)
046 Jesajakirche (Evangelical)
047 St. Korbinian (Catholic)
048 Islamisches Zentrum IKRE (planned construction) (Muslim)
049 St. Ursula (Catholic)
050 Zum Guten Hirten (Evangelical)
051 St. Michael (Catholic)
052 Friedensinsel (Evangelical)
053 Islamisches Kulturzentrum Hidaje e.V. (Muslim)
054 Kreuzkirche (Evangelical)
055 DITIM-Türkisch Islamisches Gemeindezentrum zu München e.V.
056 Zachäuskirche (Evangelical)
057 Alte Hauptsynagoge (bis 1938) (Jewish)
058 Moschee Sendling  (planned construction) (Muslim)
059 Frauenkirche  (Catholic)
060 anonym (Muslim)
061 Genezarethkirche (Evangelical)
062 St. Maria (Ramersdorf) (Catholic)
063 St. Matthias (Catholic)
064 St. Rupert (Catholic)
065 Al Muhsinin Moschee – Arabischer Kulturverein e.V. (Muslim)
066 Gebetsraum “Raum der Stille” – Messe München (ecumenical)
067 St. Michael (Berg am Laim) (Catholic)
068 Moschee Kosova e.V. München (Muslim)
069 Maria vom Guten Rat (Catholic)
070 Gabrielkirche (Evangelical)
071 St. Markus (Evangelical)
072 Gethsemanekirche (Evangelical)
073 St. Sylvester (Catholic)
074 Neuperlach Camii – Deutsch Islamisches Kulturzentrum e.V. (Muslim)
075 St. Paul (Catholic)
076 Namen Jesu (Catholic)
077 St. Theresia (Catholic)
078 Bethanienkirche (Evangelical)
079 Allach Moschee (Muslim)
080 Neue Pfarrkirche St. Martin (Catholic)
081 Nazarethkirche (Evangelical)
082 Jugendkirche (Catholic)
083 Herz-Jesu-Kirche (Catholic)
084 Moschee Mehmet Akif (Muslim)
085 Moschee Mehmet Akif (female) (Muslim)
086 Neue Pfarrkirche Heilig Geist (Catholic)
087 Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Kirche (Evangelical)
088 Heilig Kreuz (Forstenried) (Catholic)
089 Ohel-Jakob-Synagoge (Jewish)
090 anonym (Muslim)
091 Andreaskirche (Evangelical)
092 St. Hedwig (Catholic)
093 Stephanuskirche (Evangelical)
094 St. Nikolaus (Catholic)
095 St. Michael (Perlach) (Catholic)
096 Jamia Masjid Sufia Deutsch-Pakistanischer Kulturverein für Bildung und Integration e.V. (Muslim)
097 Dreieinigkeitskirche (Evangelical)
098 St. Lukas (Evangelical)
099 St. Heinrich (Catholic)
100 St. Paulus (Evangelical)
101 St. Thomas Morus (Catholic)
102 Trinitatiskirche (Evangelical)
103 Christuskirche (Evangelical)
104 Islamische Gemeinschaft Milli Görüs (Muslim)
105 St. Peter (Catholic)
106 Namenlose Kirche (Catholic)
107 Heilig-Geist-Kirche (Evangelical)
108 Leiden Christi (Catholic)
109 Asamkirche (Catholic)
110 Beth Shalom/Libeskind Synagoge  (planned construction) (Jewish)
111 Münchner Forum für Islam e.V.  (planned construction) (Muslim)
Installation view, floor plan of anonymous mosque, Munich
Installation view, “censored” floor plan of anonymous mosque, Munich

The art project in public space EASTERN MUNICH deals with the themes of inter-culturality and inter-religion in urban space, focusing on the German metropol Munich. At its heart lies the question of how religion and culture manifest in urban space and society. Sacred buildings and prayer rooms are interpreted as central spaces of (monotheistic) religions. For many people in modern urban society, however, these are perceived as detached and “closed” spaces, which despite their presence in Munich’s cityscape, are associated with an unconscious inhibition threshold in everyday life – or are a blind spot. Also, sacred buildings are visited by a few people only, even believers, and despite their density – apart from tourist attractions such as the Catholic Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) – are hardly noticed or literally secluded. Moreover, religious people mostly visit the sacred spaces in their respective church, synagogue or mosque. Thus religions within a big city ultimately remain separate, opaque and often misunderstood in their respective peculiarity and potential.

The intervention EASTERN MUNICH breaks these barriers down these and opens up a new intuitively accessible space of experience.

The basis of artistic form is light. The floor plans of various past, present and future religious buildings and spaces from Munich are projected in large-scale video projections onto the floor of Wittelsbacherplatz in the heart of the city. By superimposing, interpolating and interpolating the projections of life-size 1:1 sacred space floor plans in public space, they are not only brought to light and become visible, but also turn into an “accessible” sphere, literally opening them up on the ground and facades at Wittelsbacherplatz –  inviting border crossing through unfolding an open light space of actual and virtual sacred spaces in Munich.

In this way, EASTERN MUNICH provokes a new experience: What are the peculiarities, similarities and differences of the monotheistic religions that are reflected in their sacred buildings in the cityscape? What asymmetries arise between the visibility in the cityscape of Munich and the presence of religion(s) in public discourses? What influence do these tensions have on society’s perception of culture, religion and inter-religiousness? How can past (destroyed), present and future (virtual) relationships be experienced and what tensions arise from them? Where are psychological boundaries drawn and where are frontier crossings necessary and possible?

Installation view, hand drawn floor plan of Freimann mosque, Munich
Installation view, hand drawn floor plan of Freimann mosque, Munich
Installation view, floor plan of Frauenkiche, Munich
Installation view, floor plan of Frauenkiche, Munich
Installation view, floor plan of unrealized Beth Shalom synagogue by Libeskind (partially censored), Munich
Installation view, floor plan of unrealized Beth Shalom synagogue by Libeskind (partially “censored”), Munich
Extract out of raw essay to be published in May 2020 by Prof. Michael Reder

[…] The philosopher Jürgen Habermas, one of Germany’s leading intellectuals, who, following up on a quote by the (religious) sociologist Max Weber, describes himself as “religiously unmusical”, stressed a few years ago in Munich in his conversation with the former Cardinal Ratzinger that secular societies should also adapt to the persistence of religion. Even more: they make important contributions in context of the complex problems of global modernity.

15 years later his thesis of a post-secular society more than proved true; especially the monotheistic religions are – still – important actors of our society and contribute to the handling of their hurdles and challenges. Nevertheless, for many people in modern society they are “closed” and incomprehensible spaces, even if they strongly shape the cityscape of Munich. In public debates, the conflict over religions is at the forefront, especially in the media context, which means that the cultural potential of religion remains underestimated and untapped, especially in a plural modern society.

Against this background, the interdisciplinary art project EASTERN MUNICH aims to break down the boundary between monotheistic religions and the public space of society. The initially seemingly minimal and “superficial” projection of various floor plans of sacred spaces and buildings allow a large number of people a sensual, intuitive and low-threshold access to these virtual architectural manifestations.

By simply “stepping in” from a public square or pedestrian zone “into” the sacred “space”, the white projection lines open up a sensual journey of discovery; by transforming massive matter into ephemeral lines of light, closed space into open space. This kind of art in public space is an effective form to express the complexity of religions in their interreligious contexts and controversial tension precisely through its simplicity, clarity and sharpness. By shifting, superimposing, revealing sacred spaces, an examination of the theme of religion – a central cultural actor of our time – becomes experienceable. […]

Initiator & Partner

whiteBOX  / Munich School of Philosophy


Kulturreferat der Landeshauptstadt München / Kulturstiftung der Stadtsparkasse München / innogy Stiftung für Energie und Gesellschaft / Erzbistum München und Freising: Referat für interreligiösen Dialog und die Abteilung für Kunst- und Kulturmanagement


Lange Nacht der Museen / Münchner Forum für Islam

Evang.-Luth. Kirchengemeindeamt im Dekanatsbezirk München; Abteilung Bau und Liegenschaften, Erzbischöfliches Ordinariat München; Bauwesen und Kunst.

Special thanks

in no particular order, among others: Dr. Martina Taubenberger, Prof. Michael Reder, Dr. Andreas Renz, Benjamin Idriz, Andrea-Elisabeth Lutz, Ursula Gonsior, Stefan Neukamm, Liberale jüdische Gemeinde München Beth Shalom e.V., Aykan Inan, Sheikh Taha Zeidan, Elmedin Haskić, Sulejman ef. Čolaković, Gabriele Musil, Valerie Erben, Mehtap von Stietencron, Juliana Bertsch, Swen Seyerlen, Benjamin Jantzen, Adriana Lemus, Thomas Schmidt, Anna Schwab, Benita Meißner, Cagla Ilk, Julian Prugger, Max Hohl, Stephan Lechner, Horst Sandner, the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior, Sport and Integration, SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte – München, and many others, especially to all the individual backers – also within the Jewish, Muslim and Christian communities of Munich – who participated and supported the project (to be extended).

Photos © Lia Sáile, Lisa Domin, Michael Reder, 2019