Alfred Ullrich’s works were based on the artist’s initiative which lead to the correspondence between the Chairwoman of the Künstlerverinigung Dachau and the Mayor of the Grosse Kreisstadt Dachau about the signs “Landfahrerplatz kein Gewerbe”.
The artist persistent initiatives pressuring for action eventually urged the local authorities to remove the derogatory signs from the public sight. The result of the process was Ullrich’s work Crazy Water Wheel (2009-2011) which consists of two videos.
The first video is showing only a loop of a turning wheel of a watermill which lies in vicinity of the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau and which refers to the eternal recurrence of racism. Side by side with the watermill wheel there is a documentary showing an informal private performance of the artist commenting on the traffic signs “Landfahrerplatz kein Gewerbe” (warning that itinerants are not allowed to trade or peddle in the area).
Such signs were still in use in Bavaria but in the work the inscription is crossed out. This simple action high- lights how seemingly neutral regulations in fact enforce the segregation of Roma travellers from others.
The artist is recorded how he questions and crosses out the inscription on the street sign with holding three signs one after another: a question mark, a cross and a sign suggesting a new term: simply saying “Rastplatz” instead of the old one thus pointing to the relevance of each term and name that, as the wheel itself perpetuates the same old stereotypes.
The artist previously exhibited a series of photographs of the existing signs (2009) and also the outcome of this long-term process was the work On the Move (2009-2013) in which the artist also exhibited the official correspondence.
Clearly the discrimination on the basis of ethnicity is preserved through language and visual public memory, something that gives way to reinforcing the already existing stereotype of Roma people as “exotic” creatures, full with wanderlusts who are always “on the move” that might be true, but this work (as also Pušija’s work) points to the fact that this has not always been their own choice of way of life.