© Robert Rieger
Advocating for the integration and inclusion of people from migration and refugee backgrounds, and all kinds of minority groups, lies at the core of The Power of the Arts initiative. Through different expressions of culture — like music, art, theater, and dance — a deeper sense of understanding is fostered across the board. This year’s winning non-profit initiatives touch on numerous issues of discrimination and inequality. Label m invests in youth subcultures and the flourishing scene of young talents in Saarbrucken. Sprayers, skaters, rappers; they all herald the creativity emerging from this often underestimated city. Through Weissensee academy’s *foundationClass program, refugees who want to follow an artistic path are given an opportunity to prepare themselves for applying to art schools. In Saxony, Banda Internationale uses music to neutralize hate, tear down prejudices and connect different cultures. A further aim is to render integration successful and create a more open community where democratic exchange doesn’t merely exist as an idea. Meanwhile, Un-Label seeks to do exactly what its name implies: remove labels and fight against putting people into boxes. Discriminatory boundaries and biases are banished using the means of performing arts.
In a small village close to Ouagadougou, the capital city of Burkina Faso, arts and culture take center stage as contributors to the growth of a country and its younger generation. Initiated as an idea in 2009 by the German artist and theater director Christoph Schlingensief (1960-2010), the international art project Operndorf Afrika provides a platform for cultural encounters, workshops and collaborations. Schlingensief envisaged the initiative as a meeting place where people from different backgrounds are able to work as artists and exchange views. Over the last few years, that seed has grown from mere abstract plans into a full-fledged community that includes sustainable homes, education, health care as well as a bedrock for the area to evolve its singular artistic expression and set an example the world over. Operndorf is essentially a center where ideas can be cultivated as people from across the globe merge in one location. Here art paves the way to a thriving community, cross-cultural dialogue and much-needed postcolonial discourses building up a new image of Africa.
“The Operndorf is a project that arouses hope – hope that there can be a relationship between Europe and Africa, which is based on reciprocity and not on dominance. Hope that culture can contribute to the development of children and the development of a country.” — Horst Köhler, former Federal President of Germany
Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntags SYNTH im Tieranatomischen Theater
Built in 1790, the Tieranatomisches Theater (Veterinary Anatomy Theatre) is the oldest still-existing academic building in Berlin. Since 2013, the Hermann von Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik has used the venue as an experimental exhibition space. Based on research and teaching at the Humboldt-Universität, the programming is dedicated to an interdisciplinary investigation of material cultures of knowledge, and to new practices in displaying them.
SYNTH, an installation on the phantasm of sound and music synthesis by the artist, composer and researcher Jan-Peter E.R. Sonntag, is one such investigation. Shown and heard throughout the Theater’s seven rooms, technical and aesthetic objects connect the 19th century’s physiology to Neue Musik, media theory of the 20th century, and contemporary experimental music. For Sonntag, sound art is spacial art, a form that addresses the percipient’s whole body. Space itself becomes corporeal as well: turning the classical anatomy theater into a Rausch-Körper (“body of noise”), the artist composed the three-act chamber opera SINUS especially for the venue’s unique architecture. There will be held a number of discussions, workshops and events regarding the exhibited objects and instruments. All the while, Sonntag’s radio opera RUNDFUNK AETERNA – a work commissioned by Documenta 14 – will be broadcasted worldwide. Sonntag developed his own special circuits for RUNDFUNK AETERNA, and, in the tradition of Marinetti, Arnheim and Brecht, investigates the radio and (radio wave) as a form.
After leaving its home in Kassel for a few months, documenta has moved to Athens for the first part of its 14th iteration, and we were there to experience its multifarious program sprawling across museums, cinemas, residential spaces, pavements and even radio stations and kiosks, to name a few of the locations. Four years in the making, under the working title “Learning from Athens”, one of the topics addressed in documenta 14 is the meaning of education and its reconstitution through the works of more than 160 international artists. Following the press conference opening featuring a cacophony of all participating artists and members of the team onstage, the artistic director Adam Szymczyk encapsulated this year’s approach: “Unlearning what we believe we know is the beginning. There are no masters that can tell us how to live or what to do. We are in need to mobilize energies and act through unlearning. As we abandon preconceptions, and some of our hopes too, we immerse in the darkness of now knowing. And only from that state can we then make small steps towards something different.” More than a couple of times we were urged to “get lost” in the city, fully experience the public realm and embrace the peripatetic manners of ancient Greek philosophers. Among numerous spaces and places, the program took us from the impressive building of the Athens Conservatoire built in the ‘50s as a vision of central European rationalism, to the former brewery housing the National Contemporary Art Museum, to the Polytechnion – an emblem of historical resistance, to a pavement inscribed with Samuel Beckett’s poetry, and a kiosk turned into an electronic music station on a picturesque plateia. Sound has indeed a prominent role in the program and is an essential part of its impact. Sonic elements are dispersed throughout, whether as protagonists or as discreet additions permeating the visual spectrum; appearing announced or other times fully conquering your headspace. It often felt like this year’s documenta should be heard more than seen.
As April 9th marked the first day of the 1,850-mile journey on horseback to Kassel starting from the side of the Acropolis, we also anticipate the second part of documenta and the evolution of this ‘continuum’.
AGBAS WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME by Adam Gibbons & boyleANDshaw, 2016 / South Iceland Chamber Choir
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.
Berglind Tómasdóttir, photo by Anna María Bogadóttir / Rachel de Joode, Surface Units, 2016
For the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Goethe-Institut has created Performing Architecture, a programme which brings the interfaces between architecture, choreography and the performing arts into focus. Picking up cues from the exhibition at the German Pavilion Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country and the Biennale’s motto Reporting from the Front, the programme transforms the urban space of Venice into a stage for artistic encounters, visions and explorations: How do we sink into the experienced and built reality of our cities? How do we encounter other people in this reality? Which values do they negotiate, which living spaces, which experiential spaces? What ideas of Heimat do they carry? Five events were created for the time of the exhibition: In Act and Tought – A Score for Six Performers, ARCH+ features #50, Culinary Lessons, The Veddel Embassy: Representing Germany and Conviviumepulum / Culinary Lessons.
To develop a more concrete understanding of approaches to the complex expectations placed on public space, the Akademie der Künste and the Goethe-Institut teamed up to stage the 36-hour Factory of Thought Public Space: Fights and Fictions. The conference, with the curatorial advisory by BUREAU N is held as part of the exhibition DEMO:POLIS – The Right to Public Space. Given the crisis of representative democracies, participation, and civil society burnout: How can we use public space for the perspective of an enlightenment in the 21st century? Public space is intrinsically linked to the parameters of each particular culture and society and its historical changes. With worldwide migration, social conflicts, and global economic and financial interests or the emancipation from authoritarian structures, public space has been facing massive challenges over the last decades. Across the globe, it has become the scene of violent changes and fundamental paradigm shifts. Between security and surveillance, participation and commercialisation, artistic and social freedom and the demonstration of power, public space is where the future of democracy is being decided.The Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik’s spatial design facilitates concentrated thought in parallel structures for kick-off speeches and think tanks, discussions, interviews and artistic interventions, and provides room for informal exchanges in open platforms. NIGHT SHIFT, a party hosted by Making Spaces c/o NICHE Berlin and Creamcake is part of the night program.
Schinkel Pavillon present artists’ Shahryar Nashat and Adam Linder, who work collaboratively to stage two parallel projects, where they place their respective practices – sculpture and dance within an interactive dialogue. For the time-based intervention Some Strands of Support, Nashat will exhibit sculpture work paired with video, whilst Linder activates these works by responsive choreography entitled Hard Up for Support. These sculptural, filmic and performative elements are presented in a sequence and accompanied by a specially conceived sound-track. Through the collaboration and different disciplines employed, a tension is created between the ethereal presence of the performative body, film and of sculpture. The Pavilion’s Schinkel Klause is a site for artist Hannah Weinberger’s PERFORMANCE PERFORMANCE – a participatory performative work, which involves an invited group of musicians who create a social space through music. Weinberg leads the musicians on atmospheric directive but keeps the door open for interpretation of individual style, and in turn creates unique performances within diverse and arbitrary concert hall environment. This concert evolves into a social experiment for the artist, where she questions the relationships between the audience and performer and creates a sensibility for our everyday aesthetic, societal and cultural relations.
Shahryar Nashat’s ‘Hard up Support’, 2016, courtesy of Schinkel Pavillon, Silberkuppe, Berlin and Rodeo, London. Hannah Weinberger’s ‘Art and Life’ at Klanginstallation, 2014.
AES+F, Still from 3-channel HD video installation Inverso Mundus (The World Upside Down), 2015
The 6th edition of the NORDWIND Festival, with its focus on exploring the North European and Baltic performing arts scene, will also throw a spotlight on Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union this year. Under the title “BALAGAN!!! – Zones of Resistance” Artistic director Ricarda Ciontos presents performances, choreographies and installations by some of the most exciting artistic teams and directors from Northern and North-Eastern Europe such as Oskaras Koršunovas, Stina Nyberg, Verdensteatret, Mungo Park and Elina Pirinen. A special program concentrating on contemporary performance in Russia will show controversial, innovative and formally sophisticated productions by artists such as Dmitry Krymov, Mikhael Patlasov, Olga Jitlina and Petr Pavlensky. “BALAGAN!!! – Contemporary Art from the Former Soviet Union and Other Mythical Places”, an exhibition taking place in three venues across Berlin, will feature works by over 50 artists as well as the first retrospective outside Russia of Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe (1969-2013), comprising his paintings, films, photography and performance.
Since its foundation the biennial NORDWIND Festival has been continuously expanding its interdisciplinary program in terms of output, structure and ambition. This year it will take place in Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden and – for the first time – in Bern. Performance and exhibition venues in Berlin include Volksbühne, Sophiensæle, Max Liebermann Haus and KühlHaus Berlin.
Dense City / Photo: © Joanne Pouzenc
How to rethink space and matter? – a question posed by the Bureau des arts plastiques et de l’architecture and the Deutsches Architektur Zentrum DAZ in the context of their collaborative project “In Extenso – Erweitert”. Three invited French curators – Karima Boudou, Céline Poulin and Agnès Violeau – teamed up within the program “Jeunes Commissaires” to approach the answer within a performative and narrative exhibition titled A SPACE IS A SPACE IS A SPACE in Berlin. To probe notions of social context, public space and performance as possible discursive platforms, the curators worked with artists, architects and writers – including Kader Attia, Rosa Barba, Jason Dodge, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Jimmie Durham, Markus Miessen, Joanne Pouzenc, Michael Riedel, Vanessa Safavi, Rosemarie Trockel and Clémence de la Tour du Pin. The exhibition, accompanied by a lecture and performance programme, includes the launch of a special edition of the art and literature magazine JBCQVF addressing concepts such as participatory democracy, anthropological space and “idleness” as described by Giorgo Agamben.
Rosemarie Trockel, “German Issue”, 2014 © Rosemarie Trockel, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2015 Courtesy Sprüth Magers; Clémence de la Tour du Pin. butyougotolooklikedevilhorns, Printed document, magnet on fridge (w. Antoine Renard) 2015; Kader Attia, “The Modern Genealogy” 2012- 2015, Courtesy the artist, private collection and Galerie Krinzinger
A SPACE IS A SPACE IS A SPACE
Opening: 10. September 2015, 7 pm
Deutsches Architekturzentrum DAZ
Köpenicker Str. 48/49, Berlin