photos: Anna Agliardi
Last night I was honored to be part of an evening of celebration, surprises, glamor and a bit of nostalgia. My favorite off-theater in town, the Sophiensaele, celebrated their 20th anniversary. I can’t believe so many years have passed already since the theater located in a former ballroom near Hackerscher Markt was founded by contemporary dance choreographer Sasha Waltz and the theater makers Jochen Sandig, Jo Fabian and Dirk Cieslak.
The festivities were accompanied by the Berlin premiere of The Greatest Show on Earth by Anna Wagner and Eike Wittrock. This particular show is a celebration of dance and performance art in a circus-like setting. 14 artists show in different ways the challenges facing humans in the 21st century and combine the risks of body art with the spectacle of physical performance.
I was absolutely stunned and surprised by a freaky show between Zombie Apocalypse, Cat Content and Shit-Musical. Every performer had a unique style to communicate with the audience. Some were engaging and entertaining others were disturbing and obscene like the zombie artistics by Vincent Riebeek and Florentine Holzinger. What all had in common was authentic passion for their showpiece. The whole show was supported by the amazing music of the Neo-Dadaist 2-person “thing”-orchestra Les Trucs which certainly ranked as the evening’s favorite between the audience, right after the cat.
Photographer Anna Agliardi took some great impressions of the show, which you can discover with the dates right after the jump.
What the fuck is this thing called capitalism? And why it is actually messing up all our lives instead of making them better? As simple as these questions seem at first, as complex are their answers. To take a look at one aspect that is going completely wrong with capitalism let’s reflect one moment about the Berlin start-up bubble.
Our beloved Berlin is a fertile ground for start-ups of all kinds. Low rents and many smart international people as potential employees are great resources to start your company. With the right investors, you can literally create any kind of business in this town. But as genius some start-up concepts can be, as stupid and absolutely useless to humanity the others are.
With their new theater game Monypolo the collective Prinzip Gonzo is reflecting about all the absurd aspects of hyper-capitalism and über-entrepreneurialism. With 60 other players you create a fictional career and play for success inside an abandoned supermarket at Kudamm. Between luxury boutiques and high street brands you enter a desolate mall to find a giant playground for adults waiting for you to be explored. More about our experience, the dates and some photos of the exciting game after the jump.
It does not take a lot of imagination to think of Berlin as a giant playground. In times of Pokemon Go and other augmented reality games, the street-running movement and immersive theater experiences, everything – and everybody – seems ready to play.
But I don’t think that the origin of Berlin playfulness is based on technology, fitness or even cultural trends. I remember vividly how years ago I met on a subway ride a young dude that outed himself as a philosophy professor. (The combination of young dude and philosophy professor was a surprise at that time. Nowadays I am not as easily surprised ) He told me that he is part of a creative project called invisible playground. In this project, he told me they tried to research and examine how a daily portion of playfulness can affect your overall happiness.
But invisible playground is not the only creative project celebrating the idea of a playful city. The Berlin-based artist duo 44Flavours have already left their footmark in the local creative scene. Experimenting with all kind of art forms, from murals to posters, and painting to sculpture, the two friends Sebastian Bagge and Julio Rölle, have worked together since they were students. Their success formula is a vibrant combination of teamwork and creative chaos. For the #LiveThere exhibition by Airbnb they created an interactive playground where you can tell your personal Berlin story. There you can listen to murmuring teapots, talk to enchanted mirrors and have fun with all kinds of everyday objects transformed into a creative installation. The idea behind this project is to share different stories about Berlin and to emphasize how with a spark of creative inventiveness and playfulness every trip to Berlin can become a one of a kind experience.
Inspired by that idea, I thought of how we could be more active in experiencing our city as a playful place. I started thinking about the rules and I realized that the games you decide to play on your personal urban playground don’t have to follow any rules or even the norms of standard morality. Between lust and pain is the instinct to play. Therefore I dove deeply into my own imagination and created a set of Berlin-specific mind games. Follow my colorful, funny but sometimes also sensual and dark inspirations to transform your everyday life in Berlin into a crazy game-like experience.
My Gallery Weekend started with an artistic installation that actually has nothing to do with the official Gallery Weekend (but has some good chances to become my favorite installation anyways). In celebration of its 20th anniversary, German record label raster-noton presents a ‘white circle’, an acoustic-architectural space designed as an audiovisual installation inside the hall of Berghain. On this occasion four of the label’s musician were invited to develop and contribute an exclusive composition: Alva Noto, Byetone, Frank Bretschneider, and Kangding Ray.
The four pieces are all very different but play with the full spectrum of light and darkness in visuals and sound. I was really impressed by the intense atmosphere this installation created. Suddenly I felt transported to a foreign galaxy where an Egyptian god of techno is ruling the world. Don’t miss to visit this place over the weekend. After the jump I created a couple of animated GIFs to give you an impression of the art piece, but of course without the sound it’s only half the experience.
Can a city have imaginary secret friends? Maybe not every city, but Berlin is different in my opinion. Our dear Berlin gets run over by so many kooky inhabitants – why shouldn’t it have some nice imaginary friends to cope with all the mess going on? At least that was the idea of multimedia artist and photographer AnaHell when she came to our beloved city. In her childhood she invented weird but lovely friends to spend her time with and play. Imaginary creatures with little secret stories to live all kind of adventures with. Fortunately for us, AnaHell did not forget about her childhood fantasy and recreated it with the photo series Secret Friends, a playful narration of this story. Documenting a parallel reality of bent-over humans, which form a new creature that share our world but cannot be seen by us ordinary humans. With the Berlin series of Secret Friends she wants to show different aspects of life in a our city, from the clichés to real people in their homes doing what they normally do.
I am totally in love with the concept and the realization of this playful idea. I guess we should all search once in a while after our imaginary secret friends from our childhood. Maybe they are just sitting next to you in the U-Bahn or waiting in line with you at Berghain. What I want to say is that we should be open for the wonder and for the surprise that can come by reactivating our childhood fantasy. Berlin especially is a place that rewards this kind of openness with a charming magic, you won’t find anywhere else. More Secret Friends by AnaHell after the jump.
photos: Anna Agliardi
Going out to a museum filled with old paintings does not sound like the typical Friday night activity we use to have here in Berlin. Not so last weekend though, where a massive amount of young (more or less) hip people went to the Gemäldegalerie to a very unusual event. At Meeting Botticelli, the event for the Botticelli exhibition featuring the grand artist of Italian renaissance, the normal rules of going to an old museum were upside-down. Instead of tiptoeing quietly through the magnificent halls the event wanted to explore a different side of creative interaction with art.
Guides who brought you through the exhibition with eyepatches, speakers who asked you and others about your emotion to the artwork and performances which which would rather fit to Sisyphos where only a few of many interesting ideas of this unique event. To finish in glory there was a small party in the foyer of the museum after the exhibition closed. Visitors and performers had quite some fun dancing together to “I am your Venus – I am your Fire” . I hope that those kind of art presentations will happen more often in Berlin. The city has an enormous cultural richness that young people need to discover through new methods. The next event of that series will take place at Hamburger Bahnhof in Summer. Until then you can enjoy the photos that our photographer Anna Agliardi created for us or take your chance to visit the exhibition about Botticelli until the end of this week.
Semra Sevin, Berlin Reflection Glienicker Brücke, 2011
The search for a belonging, a definition of home is a constant topic in a globalized world. Berlin is a melting pot where people from all over the world cross each other, meet each other and – in the best case – love each other. The lifelong question of identity is a matter even amplified when different cultural backgrounds come into the mix of emotions. The distance that emerges over time to one’s ‘original homeland’ (which is maybe just a question of definition) is a space in which sometimes romanticized, sometimes critical perspectives reach the surface.
The beauty of it all is a frequent subject in art.
“From Here To Me” is a project and an exhibition where eight artists from Balkan states exhibit their work in which the aesthetics of Berlin as a bond with their personal homeland are displayed and merged into one. The contributing artists are not only from the Balkan states but also from Greece and from Turkey. They all succeed in creating a strong insight to their inner feelings through the outer arts.
When at your office, do you ever wonder why there is just no stylish stationery? Do you wish there would be some nice art in your home, that is eco-friendly and beautiful to look at at the same time? Are you a friend of unusual accessories? Well, we’ve got just the right spot for you!
Papier Tigre has come to town and it’s bringing all the paper products you could possibly wish for. Founded in the city of love and now coming to the city of… well, everything, their newly opened up store right in the Mitte of Berlin has paper art that is très chic.
From amazing wrapping paper and beautiful notebooks to a stylish set of playing cards – the paper tigers leave no wish unfulfilled, that involves the easily disposable material in some kind of way. Even jewellry is to be found. The adorable, hand-embroidered brooches by Macon & Lesquoy for example are an amazing addition to their overall selection of products. Also to be noted is the lovely cafe that’s part of the store that let’s you have a sip of coffee and French chocolate while shopping for presents. You should definitely stop by their store and get some impressions of their designs right after the jump.
We love to travel with a cultural agenda. Visiting Venice for the Art Biennale or Milan for Design Week was so inspiring and we love to look back at the photos we collected there. Art and design events are a wonderful bridge to get to know a new city and I always try to visit creative spaces, galleries or museums when I travel to a new city to get in contact with the creative local scene.
In the beginning of October I had the chance to discover a new town in my repertoire of creative hotspots: Liege. The third biggest city in Belgium (after Brussels which is known for politics and Antwerp which is known for fashion) is the so called “Latin” city of the country. They had a big wave of South European migration in the 60s that made the city quite connected with Italy. While visiting the Reciprocity Design Triennale I could almost physically feel this connection because I was always surrounded by Italians. This year’s edition had a main focus on design with a social impact. Bringing designers and citizens together in the process of public service innovation was one of the most focused topics in the exhibitions we saw. This was really inspiring for me as somebody who works with Berlin, because I love to learn more about how creative ideas can be a positive factor in the social development of a city.
What impressed me the most about the Reciprocity were the stunning locations they choose for their different exhibitions. From an old school theater with murals from the 20s, a church turned into a museum and a monumental swimming pool which is now a space for public events. Our friend and Blogfabrik colleague Eylül Aslan joined us for this trip. Discover her unique photographic impressions and some more insights and pictures from Liege after the jump.
Presenting art in abandoned Buildings ist not that new of a concept in Berlin. I remember the first art exhibitions I went to were actually happening all over some really cool artist houses and ateliers in Mitte like Tacheles. Last Sunday I visited the exhibition The Vacancy where 33 rooms of an old hotel were creatively filled with art objects of 33 different artists. Now that the district turned into the Upper East Side of Berlin it actually felt a bit wrong to go inside a house that was totally dismantled to experience some art exhibition. At home I thought about the experience and concluded that instead of constantly complaining we should reconsider the idea of art spaces as “Zwischennutzung” (inbetween use) as a valuable concept of urban development. Because if we let artists become the explorer and venturer of new or abandoned places, maybe the commercial use that will follow and which is unfortunately not stoppable might be less horrible. I know that a lot of people would love the city to stay forever at it is. But this kind of hippie-conservatism is not something that will contribute new ideas for Berlin. Still I hope the whole Vacancy exhibition is not something to make the real estate more valuable. But I am curious to hear your thoughts in the comments. After the jump you find the adresss, opening times and most importantly a wonderful selection of pictures from the exhibition taken by our photographer Anna Agliardi.