The Thousand-year-old Room

The Thousand-year-old Room or TYOR was a fictive experiment undertaken in 1988, with this underlying idea: within the period of one year, 1000 years of aging are simulated in a test living space.

All factors leading to alterations within the living space are simulated by means of special devices such as a climate simulator, a dust machine and an artificial sun, mainly, however, through laborers who work twenty-four-seven in the TYOR, painting the walls, redecorating etc. With each simulated change of tenant, any traces of aging processes – all being accelerated thousandfold and brought about with a considerable technical effort – are thus destroyed. In the end, the Thousand-year-old Room looks as good as new. In the exhibition Nos Sciences Naturelles in the Centre d’ Art Contemporain FRI-ART, Fribourg, 1992, Nana Petzet complemented the work with a series of wall and floor pieces, scientific-looking information panels with descriptions, photos, charts and diagrams. The sense of striving for realism in simulation experiments was mimicked by systematically and minutely taking into account all partial aspects. In TYOR, based on the thousandfold acceleration, it is the problem of simultaneity of mutually exclusive or rather disturbing partial aspects that is being illustrated.

1 28 wall samples (labelled): Heraclite board, plaster, corner protection rail, paint, wallpaper, 80 x 50 x 15 cm; 19 floor samples (labelled): beams, boards, nails, paint, floor coverings, 20 x 50 x 80 cm; 28 lamps. Fictitious experiment: an experimental living space is to be aged by a thousand years within one year. Gallery FOE 156, Munich, 1989

2 Computer print on Depafit board, 240 x 240 cm, display board with text, photos and diagrams, exhibition Nos Sciences Naturelles, Centre d’ Art Contemporain FRI-ART, Fribourg 1992

3 Moisturization of a wall in the vicinity of a window

4 Traces of multiple changes of door frame and threshold

5 The formation of spots behind the stove

6 Construction drawing of TYOR, cross section with climate chamber, artificial sun, air extraction/dust supply, ink on tracing paper, 42 x 29,5 cm, Hamburg 1989

7 TYOR experimental arrangement

8 Furniture layout

9 Standard distribution curve of renovationperiods during the past 100 years in West Europe

10 Layers of wallpaper

Ill. 1, photo: Philipp Schönborn
Ill. 2, photo: Eliane Laubscher
Ill. 3-5, photos: Ralf Ritter
Ill. 6, photo: Muck Petzet
Ill. 7-10, photos: Nana Petzet