Category Archives: WHATAWEEK

WHATAWEEK THREE: 15. – 21.08.16

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Project Space Festival Day 15: Radical Praxes

16.08.15_PSF_nationalmuseumA Political Idiom, installation view, Radical Praxes, Project Space Festival Day 15
Photo: Joanna Kosowska

nationalmuseum is a large white space on the fourth level of an old factory. And yet it is also not a classic white cube, because the space’s aesthetic is, even if discretely, loaded with history. This is not a neutral place, and so ample space is opened for the generation of new ideas.
In the exhibition A Political Idiom, Radical Praxes fills the entire space not so much with a soberly installed objects as with a very specific intensity.
Two large works set up opposite one another frame the length of the space. On one end, a black-and-white image plasters almost the entire wall. This work, by Ella Ziegler, shows Japanese women fighting one another: a frame from the artist’s film drawing on a book form the 1950s about fighting. Deformed by its enlargement, the strong monochrome contrasts afford this image of close struggle a particular stridency. This tension is also maintained in the other exhibited works.
Filling the wall of the opposite end of the space, the video-work and manifesto of Matthew Burbidge, RP01a, consists of a series of images from art institutions, finance and institutions of power. The video formulates an appeal to break out of the lethargy in which the system cradles us. Read More

WHATAWEEK TWO: 08. – 14.08.16

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Project Space Festival Day 8: mp43
Between the stark concrete housing blocks and weedy open spaces of Hellersdorf, a model example of East German housing infrastructure built on the peripheries of Berlin in the 1980s, capitalism still often feels like an intruder. Instead, “shopfront” spaces facing the shadowy concrete promenades of this area and its neighbor, Marzahn, are of late often occupied by community-oriented studios and art spaces, as is the case for mp43.
Carola Rümper and Marnie Müller, the “two-stroke engine” behind mp43, gave their one-day event the unassuming title Topflappen (oven cloth) for the simple reason that this is an object everyone and anybody can identify with. Certainly, those PSF regulars who made it out to the far end of the U5 that hot Monday afternoon were met by another public from the very center of Hellersdorf.
Regardless of our differences, everybody has had a home of sorts, and everybody knows nostalgia. Babel was a participatory project by Sandra Schmidt consisting of an installation and collection of stories around small, hand-made paper houses produced by exhibition visitors themselves – adults, children, and everybody in-between. It was surely the artist’s aesthetic decision that the houses were strictly to be made without a floor – the resulting hanging display formed pleasing shadows on the walls of the space. At the same time, I could not help thinking that, in a contemporary do-it-yourself world, fabricating one’s own provisional infrastructure is often a lonely business.

mp43_02kleinerSandra Schmidt, Babel, participatory work, 2016
Photo: Why Alix

Outside, in the sun, a game for exhibition visitors designed by Kirsten Wechslberger thematized questions surrounding age, sexual orientation, skin color, health and other issues touching on marginalization. My participation was limited to an animated conversation about tattoos and whether it is possible to feel marginalized when wearing a T-shirt printed with the image of a naked woman in a suggestive pose. The question, I felt, was not so relevant to the wearer of said T-shirt, a softly-spoken man with Down’s Syndrome. For a moment, I envied the white-haired citizen who kept watch on us from the safety of her balcony umbrella above.

Project Space Festival Day 9: Galerie BRD
Moabit’s Stromstraße runs along a construction site, its fencing draped with wine-red banners announcing a new shopping-mall and “studios in heritage-listed buildings designed for artists and creatives”. Shortly before Stromstraße turns off to the next shopping mall and runs in the form of an elevated bridge to Westhafen, the Berlin project space Å+ can be found. Temporarily taken over by Galerie BRD, an initiative invited to Berlin for the Project Space Festival, Å+ hosted second co-operation between two parties who negotiate whether and how they might use one another: Cosmin Covacju and Jasmina Ferouca, both from a Leipzig-based Sinti and Roma community, and Uwe Greiner, who runs a trade in scrap metals with Covacju and accompanies him in his dealings with German authorities. In return, Greiner was the recipient of a letter of recommendation, written by Ferouca, which grants him the hospitality of the Roma community. In every element of this exhibition, cost was weighed up against use – even the scrap metal was carefully sorted and arranged by Covacju and Greiner according to type. The handwritten price and weight of each collection of metal beside each collection was a reminder that the elements of the exhibition had nothing to do with art. They were stored in the project space, to be collected and sold on at a later date. Covacju and Greiner themselves are nowhere to be seen – it wouldn’t have been worth it.

Galerie_BRD_Foto_Why_AlixGalerie BRD with Cosmin Covacju, Jasmina Ferouca & Uwe Greiner, Zwei verhandeln, ob und wie sie einander nützen können, installation view, 2016
Photo: Why Alix

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WHATAWEEK ONE: 1. – 7. 8.2016

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Project Space Festival Day 1: Apartment Project
Channeling the uncertainly caused by an increasingly unclear political era, seven Turkish artists (Borga Kantürk, Evrim Kavcar, Gökce Süvari, Gümüs Özdes, Merve Ünsal, Sevgi Ortac and Apartment Project organizer Selda Asal) lived and worked together for one full month. The artists exhibited fragments of their shared artistic practice and conversation in the exhibition WHO KNOWS WHERE WE ARE at Apartment Project.
A series of drawings arising from this process were printed and presented on a table, one from each artist, showing the group repositioning themselves in various formations of being-together: drafts for a Fanzine. A lecture-performance by Merve Ünsal questioned the role of the artist as image-maker in a world already cluttered by an economy of violent and banal images. A small, hanging talisman by Evrim Kavcar pulled together hidden scraps of paper and other material gathered from the group over the month. Equally dense, the windows of the exhibition space were made opaque and turned into a surface for the projection of a film from Selda Asal, entitled writing in the air. Passers-by were arrested by fleeting impressions of members of the group silently tracing illegible letters in the air.
Being surrounded by fog means not being able to clearly see – but in fog, it is also possible to hide and, from this position, to seek out means of translating one’s understanding of things. In November, 2016 and May, 2017 the artists will again come together in order to continue their artistic practice.

"WHO KNOWS WHERE WE ARE" im Projektraum "Apartment Project" von Aykan Safoglu, Borga Kantürk, Evrim Kavcar, Gökce Süvari, Gümüs Özdes, Merve Ünsal, Selda Asal, Sevgi Ortac. Apartment Project, Hertzbergstrasse 13, 12055 Berlin Neukölln. Asal, writing in the air, video projected onto window, looped, duration: 7min, 2016
Photo: Ozge Topcu

Project Space Festival Day 2: Tacho
The state of exception was approached in a different way at Tacho, where missing icons (Andrea Knoblauch und Ute Vorkoerper) raised a new flag for Europe, accompanied by the ironic strains of a recording of the European Anthem – Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ode to Joy – set this time in a nostalgic minor key and played by a xylophone.
The site, a children’s traffic circuit in the center of Kreuzberg, shares this nostalgic aura. Tacho works with the site by curating a series of public inverventions. Because the public infrastructure of the site was built for children, everything is slightly too small – from the miniature streetsigns to the traffic lights and small bikes scattered about. On the day of the performance, entitled Europe. A visit to the enclosure, the visitors themselves, as well as the beer, the artists and the flag itself appeared too large, too awkward: misfits for this strange place. A little like the projected imaginary of Europe, here, it was also not clear whether an imagined ideal shapes the reality of things or vice-versa…

Europa. Besuch im GehegeKomposition aus VerkehrsŸbungsplatz, Bildobjekt und SoundProjekt von missing iconsDer VerkehrsŸbungsplatz Oase ist eine aus der Zeit gefallene, unwirkliche, in Teilen verkleinerte und um sich selbst kreisende Welt, die durch einen Zaun vom umgebenden Stadtraum abgetrennt ist. Die Oase wird durch die Aufstellung einer dekonstruierten Europafahne des KŸnstlerinneduo missing icons und dem Abspielen ihrer manipulierten, minimalisierten Version der Europa-Hymne zu einer begehbaren, surrealen Allegorie fŸr Europa.Europa. Besuch im GehegeDATUM2. August 2016UHRZEIT19:00ORTTACHO KreuzbergOase VerkehrsgartenAm Wassertorplatz 110999 Berlinmissing icons, Europa. Besuch im Gehege, Komposition aus VerkehrsŸbungsplatz, Bildobjekt und Soundprojekt, 2016
Photo: Joanna Kosowska

Project Space Festival Day 3: insitu
Is it possible to meditate without letting go of critical or political thought? Or more precisely, how might it be possible to embody thought? Two performative contributions – a meditation led by Deborah Ligorio and a sound intervention by Franziska Lantz – accompanied the opening of the exhibition Soon Enough at insitu on Wednesday. Curated by Matilde Cerruti Quara und Sorana Serban, the exhibition contained traces of the borders between the technological and the organic, between the living and the dead. Read More