Niklas Goldbach: LAND OF THE SUN

HMKV Video of the Month


01–28 February 2023

LAND OF THE SUN was filmed in California City in November 2014.
California City is the third-largest city in the state of California and is located in the Mojave Desert. The city had its origins in 1965 when real estate developer and sociology professor Nat Mendelsohn purchased 80,000 acres (320 km2) of Mojave Desert land with the aim of master-planning California's next great city. He designed his model city, which he hoped would one day rival Los Angeles in size, around a Central Park with an artificial lake and a golf course.

Growth did not happen anywhere close to what he expected. To this day a vast grid of crumbling paved roads, scarring vast stretches of the Mojave Desert, intended to lay out residential blocks, extends well beyond the developed area of the city. As of 2008, fifty years after Mendelsohn, California city had a total population of around 14000, living in a small town to the southwest of the vast empty grids.

Without showing any protagonists, the video is filmed with contemporary techniques (DSLR, POV (“dashcam”) and aerial Drone photography) and focuses on the visible architectural leftovers of one of the world's biggest failed urban planning projects. (Niklas Goldach)

Music by College:

Niklas Goldbach, born in Witten, Germany, lives and works in Berlin.
After studying Sociology at Bielefeld University and “Photography and Video” at the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld, he was awarded with the “Meisterschüler” degree at the University of the Arts Berlin in 2006. In 2005 he received the Fulbright Grant New York and majored in the MFA program of Hunter College, New York City.

In his videos and photographies Goldbach is involved in the relation between architecture and necropolitics within modernist traditions and postmodern cities. Established between reality and fiction, Goldbach’s works use architectural concepts and elements to create ambiguous perceptions of man-made environments. He appropriates urban environments as stages to examine the relationship between subjectivity and hierarchical societal structures through the lens of a globally expanding interconnectivity of these sites.

In his earlier video works, his often-duplicated protagonists have colonized epic stages of modern architectural complexes, postmodern urban environments or alleged paradises defying civilization, all finding their commonality as places oscillating between utopia and dystopia.


Image: Niklas Goldbach, LAND OF THE SUN, 2015, Video still

01–28 Feburay 2023

In the series HMKV Video of the Month, HMKV presents in monthly rotation current video works by international artists – selected by Inke Arns.

Niklas Goldbach


Video, Video-Loop, 11:35 Min., 2015