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Black Ball – a giant black felt ball will be rolling through the northern Black Forest

A project by the Jewellery Museum’s association of friends within the context of ORNAMENTA 2024

A huge black ball made of felted merino wool will be rolling through Pforzheim and the northern Black Forest for the duration of Ornamenta 2024. Between July and September, people can decide on-site how and where to move the ball. Some will be rolling it through the streets, amid great laughter. Others will be lying down and allow themselves to be rolled over by the ball – oddly enough, mainly men dressed in suits. Are we in control of things? Or are we being rolled over by them?

The Black Ball, with a diameter of three metres, is something like absorbing black matter, an object with merely a few properties, ›a challenging form of nothingness‹, so to speak. It’s only through being used that it becomes something that connects people and places in unusual ways. It adopts properties in association with the respective places and people. In inner cities, for example, the ball becomes a frightening obstacle blocking the road for people and vehicles. In a French garden, in contrast, it is a friendly toy for children.

Black Ball is a project that the Jewellery Museum's association of friends, ISSP, had applied for with the Ornamenta team. »Due to its size, this black ball is strikingly conspicuous, but at the same time it looks like a black hole that we can hide in, and then seem to be non-existent,« is how the Jewellery Museum’s Director Cornelie Holzach describes it with fascination. But first, the Black Ball for the Jewellery Museum needed to be crafted. This was an interactive process in which many were able to participate, something that was the crucial factor for the ISSP, as chairwoman Birgitta Hafner explains: »Because felting brings so many, and also different, people together, and here in the Jewellery Museum of all places, we as the museum’s association of friends applied for this project.« The crafting process started in May 2024 – in the middle of the museum. An area in its foyer was dedicated to the project, where everybody who wanted to was welcome to work on the giant sphere. Those who participated will keep unforgettable memories, have perhaps also made new friends, and had free admission to the Jewellery Museum.