Papiermühle Alte Dombach


Paper had been produced in Bergisch Gladbach since 1582 until the last factory closed in 2021. Paper was and is indispensable: education without books, democracy without newspapers, trade without packaging – unthinkable. Paper is increasingly being replaced by digital communication and – compared with plastics and other materials – is considered sustainable. At Papiermühle Alte Dombach, or the Old Dombach Paper Mill, visitors can trace the change from handicraft to mass production and, beyond the production of paper, also learn about its significance.

Cris Wiegandt


Futur II | 26.03.2022

Is the use of wood for paper production still justifiable in light of climate change? With this question in mind, artist Cris Wiegandt is developing a spatial installation for Papiermühle Alte Dombach with a speculative approach to the subject of cellulose. In the form of a “what if” scenario, she is designing a composter in which mutated bacteria transform plastic into a new kind of cellulose. The interactive animated film, which is also enhanced by augmented reality elements, shows the potential of speculative design.

From climate change to space exploration, the field of “Material Ecology” offers new opportunities to respond to current problems and issues inspired by nature. Accordingly, almost any biomass can be converted into biomaterials that can be used for a variety of purposes. Inspired by the bacterial strain Pseudomonas, which can attack and biodegrade polyurethane plastic using highly specific enzymes, Cris Wiegandt speculates on possible solutions to two problems of the future: the challenge of raw material scarcity and the environmental impact of plastic overproduction.

Johanna Reich

Wandel der Zeichen

Futur III | 26.03.2022 - 02.04.2022

Based on the history of paper, Cologne-based artist Johanna Reich speculates on where our society is headed as the medium for writing changes. What happens to the memory of our culture when it becomes more immaterial in the course of digitalization? She transforms this critical reflection on digital media into an expansive multimedia installation in which visitors can immersively relate to the artistic discourse.

As part of the group FUTURE_progress, Johanna Reich’s work explores the question of whether in the future our historiography will drown in the mass of information. Our culture is deeply rooted in scripture on which history writing and the past are based. Printing not only changed our cultural understanding, but also shaped our society, generated knowledge, and enlightened us. Using Papiermühle Alte Dombach as an example, the artist explores the role of museums as important future entities that select, categorize, and explore what memory might look like in our culture.


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