16 Amazing Creative Responses to the Pandemic from Berlin

16 Amazing Creative Responses to the Pandemic from Berlin

This year was quite different, wasn’t it? There was a lot of crazy stuff happening, but we can all agree on what the most significant thing was: the pandemic. If you would have told me a year ago that this would happen, I probably would not have believed you. But here we are, 9 months into a global outbreak of an airborne viral disease that has turned the world upside down.

Of course, this pandemic brought us a lot of negative things, but I don’t want to focus on those – you can simply turn on the news for that. I want to focus on the things that were good, specifically on how people responded to the crisis in positive ways. While a lot of us were struggling with our lives, our work, and our mental health, some people gathered their creative energies to come up with great things to brighten the days of everyone else and show some optimistic spirit.

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Discover GlogauAIR’s Virtual Open Studios Online

Discover GlogauAIR’s Virtual Open Studios Online

photo: MiCKi CHOMiCKi. 

This week I went to an art exhibition like no other at GlogauAIR. It was a physical exhibition that won’t open to the public, at least not physically. GlogauAIR is a non-profit art space and residency located in Kreuzberg that offers 13 studios to international artists to live and create for three months at a time. During the coronavirus pandemic, artist residency and exhibition looks very different. Although each of the artists began by creating analog artwork, the exhibition this year is virtual, so all of the pieces had to be translated online. Some chose to simply photograph their work while others completely changed their media to reflect the virtual format. One of the residents is even a “virtual resident” creating art from far away and joining the community of artists through a screen.

I had the pleasure and privilege to be invited to visit the space during their Open Studios Exhibition. I spoke with each of the artists about their artwork and their time in Berlin during the pandemic. Here’s what each of them had to say:

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The Fate of Berlin’s Very Own Mysterious Monolith

The Fate of Berlin’s Very Own Mysterious Monolith

As if this year wasn’t already like a Kubrick film, mysterious monoliths like the one in 2001: Space Odyssey started appearing around the world. And I bet you didn’t know that Berlin had its own.

The first monolith, found in Utah’s Red Rock Country by some biologists surveying bighorn sheep from a helicopter, was placed there sometime in 2016.

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Virtual Gallery New Dawn Explores the Future of Experiencing Art

Virtual Gallery New Dawn Explores the Future of Experiencing Art

Each year, as the temperature drops and the days grow shorter, gloves become increasingly important. Even on my five-minute bike ride to work my knuckles freeze, dry, and crack without the pair I picked up at a flea market in Amsterdam last year (soft suede and obnoxiously leopard print because I can never pass up an opportunity to be as extra as humanly possible). Gloves are functional, beautiful, and provide another layer of the self. They wrap around the human shape but are not constrained by it; I may not be a leopard but with my gloves, my hands are.

If the frigid Berlin weather doesn’t offer enough glove appreciation for you, there is another remedy. NEW DAWN | Tools to Touch in Times Ahead, a virtual-reality gallery experience uses the glove as its focal point. The multi-media display features 33 artists who explore the glove through photography, CGI, animation, graphic design, dance, performance, sound design, and curatorial practices as a “device for enabling holistic experiences in a discursive, material, and visual speculative future.” And to experience it you don’t have to leave the comfort of your screen.

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A Berlin Utopia: An Optimistic Vision of Oberbaumbrücke

A Berlin Utopia: An Optimistic Vision of Oberbaumbrücke

Today we want to share with you a very optimistic and cheerful piece of art that we hope will brighten your day a little as it did ours.

We already shared with you the work of Portuguese artist and architect Bruno Pinto da Cruz a while ago with our feature about his ISOMATIC pieces and in our guide about Portuguese Life in Berlin. He has now followed up with a splendid new Berlin-themed piece of his vivid ISOMATIC series that you need to see.

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The Queer Tattoo Scene of Berlin

The Queer Tattoo Scene of Berlin

Berlin is known as the LGBTQIA+ capital of the world, with its reputation dating 100 years back. The city welcomes all types of people, making it the perfect place for otherwise marginalized groups to feel not only at home but also celebrated and – why not? – normal. Its nightlife is famous for being open to all sorts of experimentation. 

In the 24h+ parties, people from all walks of life express themselves freely and expansively. Everybody can exist, take up space, and move however they feel comfortable.

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No Culture. No Future. – A Film About the Importance of Arts & Culture

No Culture. No Future. – A Film About the Importance of Arts & Culture

A few months ago I published a story about how the lockdown has seemed to have created a new dogma of system relevance that discriminates against arts and culture workers. This was a story very close to my heart and close to what matters to all of us at iHeartBerlin.

While some cultural institutions were able to re-open since then, although under challenging circumstances, the overall situation has not improved for the majority of the scene. Especially in the alternative and underground scenes, it’s still quite dramatic. While publicly funded institutions don’t really have to worry about going under, it’s those independent arts and culture makers that really have to fear for their livelihoods. Rents and bills still need to be paid, but to produce shows and events is still often not possible, and support programs by the government have so many blind spots and leave a lot of people behind or are simply not enough. For many, the situation is really serious. And considering we are only at the beginning of the second (most likely bigger) wave that will bring new challenges and restrictions you don’t even want to begin to imagine how much worse it could get.

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ENTER THE CLUB: A Playful Virtual Reality Experience of Berghain

ENTER THE CLUB: A Playful Virtual Reality Experience of Berghain

illustration: Virginie Kypriotis

Berlin’s nightlife has served as inspiration for many art forms. Multiple illustrators have managed to convey the atmosphere of the wild parties that go on for days, among them Virginie Kypriotis with her fantastic visions of Berghain. The new project ENTER THE CLUB has made her work even more enthralling by turning it into a virtual reality experience.

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5 Highlights of the Berlin Art Week 2020 Not To Miss

5 Highlights of the Berlin Art Week 2020 Not To Miss

SUCCESSION, photo: Samuel Smelty. 

To be perfectly honest, the fact that Berlin Art Week is even happening this year feels like a highlight in itself. Since Berlin Art Week’s first edition in 2012, we’ve already got used to a few early autumn days packed with unique contemporary art events – and we’re so glad this year is no exception, with the Berlin Art Week taking place between 9th and 13th September. Of course, some elements of the festival are very characteristic of 2020, like the entire digital program along with the hygiene precautions and time-slot tickets. But what remains are the inspiring exhibitions – in this article, you’ll find our 6 recommendations.

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A Hidden Place of Unheard Sounds: Experiencing Sound Art at Monom

A Hidden Place of Unheard Sounds: Experiencing Sound Art at Monom

When the entire nightlife pressed the pause button a few months ago, we really had to completely rethink how we experience Berlin. This was especially noticeable to us when we were putting together our event listings. All of a sudden the calendar was empty, then slowly it filled up again with streaming events, and eventually, IRL events returned, but not in the same way as before.

The sound installation “Eleven Songs” that happened at Halle am Berghain a few weeks ago was one of these events that stood out: Through its iconic venue it bridged the longing for a return of the club culture and our craving for a cultural and artistic experience. It was, as to be expected, a huge success.

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