The Düsseldorf Project

Andrea Kraus       Ernst Jäger       Peter Obermüller

My name is Peter Obermüller. I was born in 1977 in the village Dürrenhembach. I studied mechanics in high school. After I graduated, I worked at a garage, repairing agricultural machinery for 8 years. I got married in 2005 and had a girl two years later. Shortly after my girl had been born my wife and I moved to the nearby city of Feucht where I worked in my profession at Fendt factory. Unfortunately, my marriage did not last, we got divorced, and my ex-wife and little girl moved to Düsseldorf. At first, I tried to stay in Feucht, but the distance was too long to travel both for me and my daughter, so 3 years ago I moved to Düsseldorf as well, in order to live closer to her. It is much easier this way - I live on the same street as her mother and she stays with me every other week.

At Düsseldorf I found a job as a security guard at the Kunstpalast and the FORUM. I spend long hours in front of camera monitors. My role is to pay attention to unusual events throughout the museums such as accidents, vandalism, theft etc. I work in shifts of 8 hours in an operator’s room. The job can get boring so after a long period of observation, I started to imagine what is happening to the people I see on the screen. By now there are many people I know from the cameras, I know their routine and I feel as though I know them personally. I sometimes take screenshots and collect the images of different people. I have a certain view of them in my mind without knowing them. Sometimes, when I walk around the museums surroundings I recognize the people I see on the screen, sometimes they recognise me as well.

 

When people spend so much time in front of monitors and cameras observing people’s motion it's very easy to find irregularities, such as suspicious behaviour even through the low resolution of the screens. I try to anticipate their next move, where will they go and what will they do. I use the images from the screens to prepare routes of the paths they create while walking.

My daughter, who is now 12 years old, likes to come and visit me at work and observes the cameras as well.

 

I never was interested in photography nor observing different types of people, but in this job this is what I do and I found new interests to pass the time.

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