Pornceptual is launching its fourth magazine issue FUCK 2020 – a sentiment many of us can relate to – bringing us inclusive pornographic artwork by over 100 contributors from 33 countries and 5 continents.
Without a doubt, the pandemic has had a profound impact on our relationship with intimacy, human touch, and sex this past year. Through the lens of pornography and art, FUCK 2020 explores such topics by providing a platform to artists whose voices are not always heard, especially as the threat of online censorship continues to grow.
“Although turbulent, last year was historic, but sex was not always part of the narrative,” wrote the Pornceptual editorial team. “We can’t let these stories be forgotten, in particular the ones of marginalized sexualities.
It’s the news we have all been waiting for for months now: There is a light at the end of the tunnel for the seemingly endless lockdown of all nightlife and culture venues. As many media outlets reported yesterday, the Senate has announced to start re-opening venues for public events in combination with rapid covid tests. The first venues to be part of the trial are the big stages of Berlin including the Staatsoper, Deutsche Oper, Berliner Ensemble, Volksbühne, Philharmonie, and the Konzerthaus.
But what we are most excited about is that there will also be a trial at Holzmarkt’s Säälchen in collaboration with the Berliner Clubkommission. Hold your horses, it’s not a party, it’s “just” for a concert. But still. This is the first step we have been craving for, and if all goes well it will mean that soon more events can happen and more venues will be able to re-open.
photos: Kseniya Apresyan.
Berlin’s nightlife and music scene are holding their breath. And they have been doing this now for close to a year. What is usually the number one reason for people to come to Berlin from all over the world is now in a strange limbo the city has never seen before. Clubs and bars are closed – or at best turned into Covid test centers – stages are empty and all the people who normally come to these places to dance and celebrate are most likely at home – hopefully not alone.
These are unusual times, we have to completely rethink so many things. But while party kids and concert-goers will just find other ways to spend their time, it’s quite a different story for those people behind the scenes and on the DJ decks and stages of Berlin’s nightlife. They are all facing an uncertain future, many are out of work or have to start completely different careers to make a living, some even had to leave the city going back to their home countries. It’s a tragedy to think that those who build up Berlin’s reputation of having one of the most thriving and influential nightlife and music scenes are left with practically nothing during this pandemic.
The second lockdown is holding on to our sorry asses and it looks like it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. It’s a bleak outlook, I know, but what can you do other than trying to make the best of it, right? Did I just hear you say: “Shut up!”? Well, fair enough.
I think I’m not exaggerating when I say this whole corona era has been a mixed bag. While some of us have our sanity hanging on a thin thread by now, others finally got the time they needed for self-fulfillment. I’ve seen people falling in the abyss of mental unwellness, while others keep on trucking with their lives as if nothing has happened. People’s responses to the pandemic and the lockdown could not be more divisive.
But how are you doing, dear iHeartBerlin reader? We were wondering about this so we sat together with our cherished collaborator Sophia Halamoda with whom we authored the fabulous Like A Berliner book and created a brand new personality quiz to find out what quarantine type you really are. It’s fully illustrated by the lovely Sophia, so make sure to check out all the cute little details in the drawings. We hope they can brighten your day a little.
Whatever your end result of this quiz might be, always remember, we’re all in this together and there will be another, happier day. Whenever that might be…
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.
Wilden Renate’s Overmorrow is an immersive walkthrough art experience created by over 40 artists, from well-known collectives like Bad Bruises and TrashEra to newcomers. The installations, performances, and exhibitions occupy most of the indoor spaces of Wilde Renate, and offer about 1 hour of exploration in dark, morphing spaces.
The audience enters in groups of two, with 5-minute intervals, which is about the time allocated to each room, and makes their way through the 17 interwoven “Positions.” The Positions range from exhibitions of oil paintings through interactive installations to performances, and are loosely tied together by the themes of isolation and future. They often overlap, reflect on each other, and can be seen or heard in advance, which adds to the dreamlike nature of the journey.
photo: Jubal Battisti.
At the end of August, the operas and theaters of Berlin will be able to reopen again after the lockdown. We are really happy about this but it’s not going to be the same with a lot of restrictions on stage and behind the scenes, as well as way fewer seats in the audience room. A lot of the new productions we were looking forward to were scrapped because they either didn’t comply with distance rules or could simply not be rehearsed due to the restrictions.
For a few months now the dancers of Staatsballett Berlin were not able to perform nor practice together. In an earlier stage of the lockdown, we already shared a really wonderful video initiated and edited by Principal Dancer Ksenia Ovsyanick that showed the dancers performing in their homes and gardens during self-isolation. Now, a few months later, the dancers were able to leave their houses and practice again, but still not together like they were used to. Following the big success of the first video, they now released two more videos that we want to share with you here.
photos: Red Rubber Road.
Today we want to share a photo series with you, that is a bit of the opposite of our Finally Together Again series from yesterday that celebrated a physical togetherness and how meaningful it can be in these trying times. What was possible for our team where all members live in Berlin, is not the same for those collaborators, friends, families, lovers that don’t live in the same country during the pandemic. The artist duo AnaHell and Nathalie Dreier where one of those that were separated by the quarantine measures of different countries. We published their Quarantine series at the beginning of the lockdown and it really hit a nerve. That series was actually produced way before in another context, but it perfectly captured the bizarre atmosphere of the early stages of the pandemic measures.
photos: Aja Jacques.
While the pandemic and the lockdown have been pretty devastating for artists and creative professionals economically, they certainly have not been lacking in being an inspiration. In the last weeks, we received quite wonderful submissions from photographers and artists all dealing with the different aspects of the pandemic and how they influence our life, among them the Stay At Home series, the corona comics, and a curious techno song. The latest project we want to introduce you to today is dealing specifically with one of the measures to contain the spread of the virus: social distancing.
Aja Jacques is one of the artists from our Uncensored Berlin exhibition that we hosted back in 2018 and that dealt with censorship of artists through social media platforms. Aja was not only one of our muses acting as a model for several of our photographers, but she also exhibited her own photos. Her new project “At A Distance” is a series of analog nude self-portraits she took with several fellow Berliners in prominent public places – at a safe distance of two meters. We talked with her about the series and about how the quarantine has been for her so far.
With literally every single queer bar, club and venue closed until further notice and all Pride parades and other queer festivals canceled this year, it looks pretty dim on the queer visibility front right now. But all clubs and bars are closed and festival canceled – what difference does it make, you might wonder? Of course, every nightlife and cultural space has its importance – but for the queer community these places and events are not just for fun and socializing, they are important platforms for activism and for the fight for acceptance and equality. There is still a lot of homophobia and transphobia in the world, even here in Berlin. Queer visibility is an important act against those nasty phobias – and for queers to disappear into quarantine behind locked doors and behind anonymous masks is quite the setback.
Musician, stage performer, editor, and Berlin’s only real Diva Kaey has come up with a clever plan on how queer visibility can continue in a creative way in times of Corona. For over a month now, she has taken the time during the quarantine to sew hundreds of colorful facemasks with rainbows, sequins, and Tom of Finland prints for the queer community. This way we can be out and proud every day when we’re complying with the new face mask rules in the city.