Berlin’s project space scene is constantly changing and shifting. We talk to Benjamin Busch, whose TIER.space just opened recently, and to Loré Lixenberg, who lost her space La Plaque Tournante last year. An interview about the wonder of finding a space, Berlin’s labyrinthine bureaucracy, and refusing to give up.
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The Project Space Festival is also a tour through the city. Curator and journalist Jan Kage takes us on a stroll through Kreuzberg, where the festival contribution of his project space SCHAU FENSTER opens on August 15th. How is it to live in Kunstraum Kreuzberg – and where can discoveries still be made? A day in Kreuzberg.
As in previous years, the participating spaces of the festival have been selected by a jury. But what about those that didn’t make the cut? An interview with April Gertler and Adrian Schiesser about their project space Sonntag, getting calls from the festival director, and the beautiful feeling of still being part of it all, somehow.
You’re in your sixth year with Sonntag. You’ve worked with over 60 artists, travelled internationally, and this year, you are also the recipient of the Project Space Award. Even so, did it still matter to you that you didn’t get selected by the jury for the Project Space Festival?
April: We’ve sort of been part of the festival since the beginning. Actually, Marie-josé Ourtilane, the director, was quite upset that we weren’t participating this year. She called to tell me upfront because she didn’t want us to just read it in an email. But it was okay for us, I guess because it came hot on the heels of winning the award. I think it’s important in general to be recognised by your peers, and we do feel like that is the case. When we told everyone that we had gotten the award, so many people replied and said: “You really deserve this.” That was a great feeling and it’s important to focus on that.
The Project Space Festival is also a tour through the city. Artist Carola Rümper takes us on a stroll through her favourite spots in Marzahn-Hellersdorf, where the festival contribution of her project space mp43 – projekraum für das periphere opens on August 8th. A journey to frozen places, balcony cinemas and sausage editions.
“The Sojus is a defunct cinema, which is situated right on Allee der Kosmonauten. It was commissioned by Erich Honecker and opened in 1981. Since 2007 there have been no screenings here, and the building has been left to rot. Unfortunately, I never made it to the cinema when it was still open. When you stand here and listen to the Russian sounding names like “Sojus” and “Allee der Kosmonauten”, you understand that what lies before you here is the past of the city of Berlin, frozen in time. What a shame that this place, like so many others, will disappear when it will be torn down at the end of 2018. Come and see it before it’s too late.”
The 4th iteration of the festival is bursting at the seams – how to keep track? With this bite-sized Festival Starter Kit of course!
31 summer days, over 80 artists, and countless locations spread throughout the city: a month jam-packed with art! This spring, a jury selected 27 spaces from over 50 applications, which the programme pulls together on the big festival stage of the independent Berlin art scene. Independent: for the festival, it means above all the diverse Berlin art venues existing outside the art market and public institutions, and away from the many commercial galleries or large private collections. The Project Space Festival 2018 is everything in between and beyond, somehow right in the middle – and a pretty good neighbour at that.
This year marks the 4th iteration of the Project Space Festival. In an interview with the PSF Blog, the festival’s director Marie-josé Ourtilane and assistant director Cora Hegewald speak about courage to experiment, journeying to the edges of the city, and the importance of the festival to Berlin’s cultural calendar.
After a break last year, the festival returns this August. What can visitors expect?
Marie-josé Ourtilane: It’s the fourth edition of the festival this year and, as in previous years, the festival can be seen as a journey through the world of Berlin’s project spaces. Visitors can get an idea of how the spaces work and think, and how they interact with the city, as well as learning more about the subjects and projects that they work on – it’s really an overview on the whole breadth of the scene. The participating spaces are mainly united by what they don’t want to be, that is: neither commercial, nor institutional. There’s plenty of courage to experiment aesthetically, and the spaces are a huge impulse for the city’s artistic landscape. That’s what we want to show to audiences.
Guest author: Marlene Ronstedt
The Berlin of the 1990s, with its occupied houses, temporary autonomous zones, and anarchistic playgrounds, bore close similarity to the open internet which emerged at the same time. Back then, the possibilities cyber space offered to geeks and nerds seemed to be infinite. Neither NSA surveillance nor commercialization had yet reached into the digital sphere.
This offline situation constituted – at least in Berlin – the ideal biotope for the art and techno scene to prosper. But it also meant that the city became increasingly interesting to investors and real estate agents, leading eventually to the gentrification of those very places. Read More
Project Space Festival Day 15: Radical Praxes
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. Read More
Guest author: Benjamin T. Busch
I. Center and Periphery
Center and periphery are spatial concepts that, following Henri Lefebvre, resonate in three distinct yet interrelated registers: physical space, represented space, and representational space (1). Considering the periphery, or margin, as a necessary and constituent part of the center, without which the center could not exist, this text will discuss Lefebvre’s “spatial triad” in relation to the project space:
First, in spatial practice, or physical space, the material conditions of society come to the fore. Spatial practice is space that is perceived, constantly undergoing interpretation and transformation by society. Second, representations of space are formalized conceptions of space. Read More
Guest author: Bryndís Björnsdóttir
What if I told you – my (for now) presumed female reader – that currently there is an island in the north fighting for your right to gush fresh hot geothermal water on your bare breasts and airdry them in the midst of a public pool, just like saggy manboobs on any old Thursday?
Were it not my last name revealing the country I was born in (as you may call me “Ms.-the-daughter-of-her-father”), I could trick you in thinking that I am here making a universal claim, rather than a provocation with a hint of cynicism typical to the cold and dark north. Though – as with many tongue-in-cheek utterances – behind this one lies a feeling of urgency: a longing for feminism to find a strategic path for real transformations. Read More