Carrying Capacity (Nutzlast). 2000
As the title of the book "Cultera/Culpoch" made up of the terms "Culture" and "Era/Epoch" creates a new word that refers to certain cultural breaches, the title, under which he has collected his latest works, also infuses a common term with new meaning: "carrying capacity," as is well known, means the maximum capacity of a motor vehicle for example, and no dictionary of economics would fail to point out that to lower running costs the carrying capacity should be used optimally. Bertram Kober breaks with this meaning ironically and asks in a sublayer of his pictures: How high is the carrying capacity of the Earth, what can it handle? That may sound didactic, it is, however, sublimated through the artistic access of the photos with their many layers of meaning.
The current project, "carrying capacity" traces its origin back to the time around 1990 when Bertram Kober was taking a postgraduate course at the University of Duisburg-Essen after finishing his studies in Leipzig with Evelyn Richter. During the uncountable tours between Leipzig and Essen, he realized two things: one, the speed, with which the rather technologically underprivileged former East was retrofitting its transportation to achieve greater mobility, two, how questionable and in many ways – from the consequences for the environment to the ludicrous erosion of people and material – consequential our fetishizing of the car, the "holy tin box" proves to be. The fact that apparently, as Kober himself says, "erosion is the essential characteristic of mobility," led him to deal with the different aspects of the virulent exploitation of our world.
Dr. Peter Guth
Excerpt from: Nutz-Last. Fotografien von Bertram Kober. In: Mitteilungen Gohliser Schloesschen. 2000. Pages 3 – 4f