British artist Paul Elliman has consistently engaged with the production and performance of language as a material component of the socially constructed environment. In a world where objects and people are equally subject to the force fields of mass production, Elliman explores the range of human expression as a kind of typography. His exhibition As you said includes various works, both existing and new, that test the boundaries of our communication through letter-like objects, language- like vocal sounds, actions, shapes, silences, and movements of the body. Whether concealed by clothing or techniques of mimicry, our gestures and the desire for language are always within easy reach of the violently communicative raw material of the city. As you said is structured around a set of vitrines devised by the artist Ian Wilson —which Elliman considers as sculptures, objects of display, and sites for discourse—and a pair of billboards. Elliman employs the vitrines as a framing device for a selection of his work from over the last 25 years, while the billboards extend the exhibition out into the streets of Berlin.
Adam Pendleton‘s multi-disciplinary practice engages with language and the reframing of history, and he follows Hanne Lippard as the second of three artists to present exhibitions reflecting on the work of Ian Wilson. Beginning his practice as a painter, Wilson increasingly took on communication, abstraction, and the nature of knowledge as subjects, and used dialogue as a form. As a response, Pendleton stages an intervention to the entire third floor of KW. Cutting across the exhibition space is a diagonal wall, across which is printed the first sentence of Ron Sillman’s poem “Albany” – “If the function of writing is to ‘express the world.’” This statement, or question, is met with an arrangement of posters, collages, and other archival materials from Pendleton’s practice, pasted in successive layers and constrained to a black-and-white palette. And Wilson’s voice is present in the midst: shot him in the face includes one of his monochromatic paintings, with which the artist aimed for producing an object devoid of referential content and touching true abstraction. As part of KW’s The Weekends agenda, three of Pendleton’s film works will also be showing at the Babylon cinema. All showcase Pendleton’s focus on the themes of portraiture, artistic exchange, and methods of representation – filmic and otherwise.
When science fiction scenarios are applied to reality: How is robotics changing our lives and what is design’s role within that spectrum? As these technological advancements have found their way into our everyday environs, design has a central responsibility in this process, for it is designers who shape the interfaces between humans and machines. The exhibition Hello, Robot at the Vitra Design Museum examines the current robotics boom from the scope of various disciplines in extensive detail for the first time. Comprising more than 200 exhibits, the exhibition includes robots used in the home, in nursing care, and in industry as well as computer games, media installations, and relevant examples in films and literature. Through this sweeping analysis, the show broadens our awareness of the associated ethical, social, and political issues that arise. As our environment is becoming ever smarter and more autonomous, Hello Robot initiates a necessary discussion on how design cultivates the relationship between human and machine. Accompanying the exhibition, an extensive programme of talks, films, performances, and workshops further illuminates the topic in question from a number of different perspectives.
The reopening of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art is marked by a series of exhibitions reflecting on the work of South African artist Ian Wilson, who explores spoken language as an art form and places great emphasis on dialogue. In Wilson’s non-tangible practice, language morphs into the quintessential vehicle for communication and knowledge. To highlight the importance of his objective in relation to the role of language, three selected artists have been invited to concentrate on different aspects of his artistic output and use them as inspiration for the production of new work. First in line to delve into the topic is Norwegian artist Hanne Lippard with the immersive installation Flesh that takes Wilson’s Statements and Circle Works as its point of departure. Lippard’s physical piece—a spiral staircase leading to a platform—incorporates the artist’s voice which completely encompasses the audience and opens up a world in which ourexperience of language as pure voice is further investigated. Maintaining Wilson’s oeuvre as a guiding framework, Lippard’s exhibition will be followed by artists Adam Pendleton and Paul Elliman.
After relocating to a more spacious venue right behind the Volksbühne, the Dittrich & Schlechtriem gallery inaugurates its new home with an installation by the Berlin-based artist collective Das Numen, made up of artists Julian Charrière, Andreas Greiner, Markus Hoffmann, and Felix Kiessling. The collective’s practice is premised on the methodological primacy of experimentation and the significance of engaging with their surroundings and the present moment. Entitled Das Numen Meatus, the exhibition focuses on sonic compositions and the importance of atmosphere for their existence. Something intangible and ephemeral fills the gallery’s rooms: sounds emerge, produced by an array of pipes suspended in the space. Das Numen feed readings—wind velocities and directions—from twenty weather stations into a computer program that converts the data into impulses. The latter in turn control valves that allow compressed air to pass through the pipes, which begin to sound. Scientific data that, due to its enormous quantity, often goes unused is transformed into sensual sounds and a curious aesthetic experience.
Founded in the early ’90s, in a derelict margarine factory, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the KW Institute for Contemporary Art has come to be seen as a symbol of Berlin’s artistic development. After 25 years, it continues operating as a lively platform for progressive art practices, and a meeting place specialised in experimental discursive programming. As part of a larger institutional restructuring process under the new directorship of Krist Gruijthuijsen, every part of KW’s 2017 program of exhibitions and events is filtered through the lens of artistic vision. The new program emphasizes dialogue and experimental uses of language, fostering visible exchange between artists and audiences in Berlin, and beyond. Ongoing investigations into singular art practices or thematics form the basis for corresponding commissions and exhibitions. The open-endedness and collaborative nature that lies at the core of the establishment’s mission creates a profoundly inclusionary place that invites numerous voices, and narratives to unfold through its program and the conversations it inspires in its audience. Thus, KW continues to push beyond the confines of the physical building through artistic commissions and events. Inviting artists to interfere with its physical space is an inextricable element of the institute’s approach. One of the most recent site-specific artworks, Philippe Van Snick’s intervention on the entrance gate, complements already existing pieces like Dan Graham’s glass pavilion housing Café Bravo, Renata Lucas’ pavement restructuring outside the main building, as well as the iconic garden by atelier le balto that has returned to the courtyard.
“A man who wants to lose his self, discovers indeed, the possibilities of human existence, which are infinite, as infinite as is creation. But the recovering of a new personality is as difficult – and as hopeless – as a new creation of the world.” – Hannah Arendt, We Refugees, 1943
Akademie der Künste in Berlin presents Uncertain States, a major group exhibition and multimedia programme of events running until January 15, 2017. Current and historic states of oppression, human migration and cultural dislocation are addressed within a dynamic framework, which has already drawn widespread critical acclaim in Germany. The extensive exhibition programme is a timely exploration of the significance of memory and narrative, within eras of political, social and cultural transformation. Across art, archival ephemera, film, music, performance, talks, pop-up events and practical workshops, the show engages with migrants, thinkers, politicians, writers, artists and activists from across the world, as they confront today’s realities of forced displacement, cultural loss and mass emigration. A historical element of Uncertain States features objects sourced from the Akademie der Künste’s archives of artist émigrés, including cultural icons such as Walter Benjamin, Valeska Gert, Heinrich Mann and Kurt Tucholsky. Their artifacts, rich in memory and cultural identity, form a vibrant narrative when paired with artworks by modern-day artists. In addition to the group exhibition, a rich programme of events seeks to contextualize global political perspectives on migration and identity, within an artistic framework. Talks and panels will debate the topics of migration from the Middle East in particular, addressing themes such as reactionary xenophobia and Islamophobia. Under the banner of “Thinking Space” (Denkraum) a programme of concerts, readings, theatrical performances and symposia, tackle numerous questions surrounding these topics with original and challenging approaches.
Cycle Music and Art Festival serves as an international and local platform for contemporary music and visual arts as well as the coalition of the two fields. Now in its second year, the festival promulgates unconventional works and collaborations, with the goal of deeply engaging the audience and making them reconsider their preconceptions about disciplines and their role as spectators. Acclaimed artists are invited to produce and exhibit work that transcends the boundaries between art and music, classical and popular modes, and audience and performer. That Time, the title of this year’s performance programme and exhibition, will initiate yet another interdisciplinary experiment that will delve into the questions of ‘deep time’ and ‘peak futures’ (the title takes its cue from Samuel Beckett’s eponymous play, parroting the protagonist C: “Never the same after that never quite the same but that was nothing new.”). With an exhibition at Gerðarsafn Kópavogur Art Museum and other venues in Kópavogur, and a rich programme of performances, workshops and concerts, Cycle will promote experimentation, on-site synergies, and will seek to redefine the nature of a traditional art festival. That Time will run until 18 December.
Supporting pioneering ideas is at the core of Forecast, an international platform that calls on creative minds from diverse fields to submit their proposals and collaborate with six highly esteemed mentors. Now in its second edition, Forecast encourages public discussions on the ideas of the future and offers fertile ground for the growth of outstanding projects. Thus, a shared space to come together and exchange views is created, within which synergetic efforts bring forth innovation. The platform and its accompanying festival transcend the boundaries of disciplines to provide insight into creative production processes, and make room for the questions that are on the minds of the next generation of trailblazers. Until 30 November, creative minds from anywhere in the world working in various disciplines are urged to submit their proposals for consideration. Thirty finalists will discuss their ideas and present them to the public at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) during the Forecast Forum in March 2017. At the end of the forum, the six mentors will each select one concept, which they will accompany to fruition. Finally, the outcome of these collaborations will be presented during October 2017, at the Forecast Festival at the HKW.
After the Second World War, military edifices constructed for protective purposes were left abandoned and consumed by dismal emptiness. Germany, in particular, is replete with bunkers that in recent years have assumed a variety of new roles, from residential spaces to cultural institutions. One such concrete behemoth built in 1943 in Munich’s Ungererstrasse, houses BNKR, a multifaceted art space offering room for present-day visions without ignoring the past. The main focus of BNKR’s programme is to instigate reflection on our present reality in the realms of art, design and architecture. In the contemporary transformation of the bunker, with its new use and orientation as an art space, an unavoidable tension is created that oscillates between remembering and forgetting, past and future. The project was founded in 2014 , in order to give a format to art and architecture, to promote exchange and dialogue. BKNR collaborates with external curators over the course of one year to develop a programme that uses exhibitions, performances, lectures, discussions, film screenings, concerts and more to raise questions situated in the notion of the ‘in-between’, whether that’s referring to time, space or mental states. Currently on show, the solo exhibition Urban Shelter by Annett Zinsmeister examines the specific history, meaning and transience of shelters.