Artists Without a Cause

Autumn changes bring new performance seasons, colorful leaves, chilly winds, and many chances to engage with the ever-expansive program of art and activism events in Berlin. Along with festivals, screenings, performances, and workshops, the first Anticolonial Month in Berlin begins on October 5th! The initiative aims to strengthen anticolonial solidarity through learning, understanding, and action. It includes a program of events across the city and many ways to get involved. Here is an AWAC-compiled list of events to keep you busy this October.

Berlin Bleibt! Happening at HAU Hebbel am Ufer until October 5th Photo by Dorothea Tuch, –https://www.hebbel-am-ufer.de/berlin-bleibt/

Berlin Bleibt! (Berlin Stays!) City, Art, Future
October 1st – October 5th
HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Kreuzberg
HAU opens its new season with Berlin Bleibt! a festival to connect and foreground anti-gentrification and community building movements in Berlin. Artworks, discussions, and concerts featured in the ten-day festival focus on de-privatization of housing, (post)migrant urban life, and the preservation of cultural spaces in the city while promoting urban politics towards the common good. Catch the last five days of the Festival from October 1-5 at varying locations including a former post office which has become a project space for urban action. Some events to check out include:

Mpower Girls Film Club Film Screening and Talk
Tuesday, October 1st, 18:00
Former Post Office, Hallesches Ufer 60
Short films from young women filmmakers explore urban life and housing. The films offer unconventional documentary perspectives and aesthetics and attempt to answer “How is space appropriated? What makes a house a home and what makes a city liveable? How dense is Berlin and how thin can a wall be?” Tickets are available at the box office

Werkstatt zur Enteignung und Vergesellschaftung des Wohnens
Saturday, October 5th, 19:00
Former Post Office, Hallesches Ufer 60 Nine city and renters initiatives from Berlin will join in this talk and workshop to discuss the future of communal housing ownership in the context of a recent initiative signed by 77,000 to de-privatize large real estate companies. The initiatives plan to gather stories of organization and resistance and exchange ideas for the future of self-organization in the city. This event is free and presented in german. 

Fighting to Survive: Black and Indigenous Liberation Struggles Talk
Tuesday, October 8th, 19:30 -22:30
Be’kech, Exerzierstraße 14 Wedding
As part of Anticolonial Month in Berlin, activists and scholars Melody H, Gabriel Silva, Ahmed Isam, and Edna Bonhomme will speak about historical and contemporary resistance in BIPOC communities. The panel will continue, exploring intersectional approaches to colonial abolition in both local and international contexts, asking “what does freedom look like?” How do we strengthen anticolonial networks and strategies against the rise of fascism? This talk is free and open to the public, however a donation is suggested for the speakers.

Anticolonial March 2019: October 12th at 15:00 at Hermannplatz in Berlin image via Antikoloniale Berlin

Anticolonial March 2019
Saturday, October 12th, 15:00 – 18:00
Hermannplatz, Neukölln
As part of the first Anticolonial Month in Berlin, Anticolonial Berlin and many partnering organizations will gather at Hermannplatz and protest against the neo-colonialist capitalist system. The march also reclaims October 12th, a day often celebrated as Columbus Day, and a day that marks the “discovery of America” and “the founding stone of a big lie that lives on until today in forms of white supremacy, eurocentrism and ignorance.” This march is open to everyone and is a space to make your voice heard and stand in solidarity.
There is also a banner making workshop on Friday, October 11th, 18:00 – 22:00 at Siegfriedstraße 12 in Neukölln. Be sure to message the organizers beforehand if you plan on going.

How to Give Power to Climate Exiles? Public Talk
Saturday, October 12th, 15:30-18:30
Z/KU, Siemensstraße 27, Moabit
This talk features scientist Sujatha Byravan and writer Harsha Walia in conversation as they explore what should be done to support and empower climate exiles from political and humanitarian perspectives. The discussion is moderated by activist and researcher Njeri Kamau of International Women Space. The event is free and open to the public.

Everybody Can Be Everybody Can Not Be Performance Premiere
Saturday, October 19th, 20:00
Ballhaus Naunynstraße, Naunynstraße 27, Kreuzberg
Choreographer and dancer Jao Moon presents a new piece with a team of performers all about pretending. From the performance description: “Pretending is the gesture of the game of late capitalism, the gesture of survival, a gesture in the center of postcolonial engagement.” Moon’s performance examines queerness, “exoticization, appropriation, visibility and mimicry in postcolonial Berlin.” Tickets are available at the box office or online, for later performance dates.

A still from Anucha Boonyawatan’s The Blue Hour image via theBerlin International Film Festival

A Queer Gaze on Thailand and Spirituality through the Cinema of Anucha Boonyawatan
Sunday, October 20th, 13:00
Aquarium Am Südblock, Skalitzer Straße 6, Kreuzberg
This panel discussion brings together director Anucha Boonyawatan in conversation with two other experts to discuss her portrayals of queer life in Thailand through her films Malila: The Farewell Flower and The Blue Hour. The panel will use the films as a basis for discussing queerness and spirituality in contemporary Thailand. This event is free and open to the public.

Cat Response – A Physical Response to Catcalling
Friday, October 25th, 17:30 – 19:30
Frauenkreise, Chornier Straße 10, Prenzlauer Berg
Cat Response is a physical movement platform designed from the experiences of women* who have experienced verbal street harassment. It is a way to express emotions and reclaim power. This workshop will consider intersecting aspects of identities and will explore strategies and experiences while taking unconscious biases into consideration. The workshop is taught by movement artist Diana Shepard and is open to anyone. It is donation-based, but register beforehand at djshepherd94@gmail.com.

We’re bringing back the Black Girl* Magic Film Series and we’re looking for short film and video submissions by Black womxn* FTLI filmmakers for a screening during Black History Month in Berlin, Germany. Our third installment of the series is being presented in collaboration with White Guilt Clean Up and Frauenkreise Berlin, where it will take place. The resilience and power of creativity in the face of discrimination, injustice, and everyday violence is truly magical. We are excited to celebrate Blackness beyond mainstream tropes and through the lenses of Black womxn* once again with new filmmakers and and new stories.

What we’re looking for:

Short films and videos by Black womxn* FLTI of any genre and exploring any theme. Bonus for films with themes of creativity, power, resilience, and joy of Black Girl* Magic. We’re looking to fill about 90 minutes of runtime.

All filmmakers are invited to join in the discussion! Berlin-based? You’re welcome to join us at the screening. Not in town? No worries, we would love to have you call in online.

How to submit:

  • Send an email to hello@artistswac.chaoslab.in with the subject Film Submission: Black Girl Magic
  • Include your film as a downloadable link or link to online viewable in the body of the email.
  • If you’re sending something over Wetransfer, please include the link in the body of the email, don’t just sent it via Wetransfer’s system. It often isn’t obvious who it is from!
  • Include a film description and artist biography, maximum of 500 words each, in the body of the email.
  • Let us know if you would like to join the discussion at the screening, either in person or calling in.

We’re accepting submissions until January 15th, 2020 and the screening will take place during Black History Month in February.

The program will be finalized by February and all submitters will be notified then.

Selected artists will be compensated. 

Here in Berlin, August signifies the arrival of a vacation. But even when kicking back from arduous work, the city is never quiet! There’s a disproportionate amount of celebrations on this month’s calendar, but what can we say, there’s quite a lot to celebrate! We’ve rounded up the usual screenings and lectures of interest, but in this vacation month, we encourage you to cut loose while supporting BIPOC + Queer artistry. Here’s an AWAC guide to the rest of this month. Dancing and singing? All encouraged. Join us!

Politaoke’s going on tour. Want to join?

3rd Interrupted = Cyfem and Queer DAYTIME PROGRAM
Saturday, August 10th 11:00
Aquarium am Südblock, Skalitzer Straße 6, Kreuzberg
Presented by Creamcake, this is the third installment of “<Interrupted = “Cyfem and Queer>”, an experimental symposium dedicated to opening up the conversation surrounding digital space. It seeks to establish itself as “a place for reflection and action at the intersection of media, technology, gender and sexuality, the event aims to formulate strategies for queering the blurred line between science, music and art.” The daytime program features interdisciplinary approaches to cyberfeminism, presented through workshops, lectures, and participatory performances. Check out the full program and presenter bios right here!

NIGHTTIME PROGRAM
Saturday, August 10th, 23:59
OHM, Köpernicker Straße 70, Kreuzberg The day melts into night at OHM where the dance floor is a stage for learning, speculating, getting delightfully lost and found again. Tickets will be available at the door.

House of Living Colors Anniversary celebration
Saturday, August 17th 22:00
Kantine am Berghain, am Wriezener Bahnhof, Friedrichshain
Join Berlin’s first BIPOC drag house in celebrating one year of intergalactic artistry The evening’s program will feature avant-garde drag performances, a screening and discussion of the House of Living Colors documentary by Katrina Singleton, and an all night dance party to ring in many more years of opportunities for BIPOC performers to explore their artistry. This event is open to everyone and tickets will be sold at the door only.

ISUSU Pan African  Festival
Friday, August 17th 19:30 – August 24th
Be’kech, Exerzierstraße 14, Wedding
ISUSU is a new festival that aims to bring together people of the African diaspora to celebrate themselves while shedding light on an intersectional, sustainable, and Queer Africa. The festival kicks off at Be’kech with Black to the Future: a celebration of Afrofuturism in music, art, fashion, food, and more. The festival continues throughout the following week with panels, film screenings, community meals, and more opportunities to dance. This event and others are free and open to everyone but donations are strongly encouraged, as all proceeds will go to artists and speakers.

Tanz im August: On the Sofa
Bibliothek im August,
Hallesches Ufer 32, Kreuzberg
On the Sofa is a series of events presented by the sprawling Tanz im August festival. Bringing together artists and other experts, On the Sofa presents discussions of issues in conjunction to the festival program. Happening all month long, the program features history and current events in the context of contemporary dance. These events are free and open to everyone. We’re including some particularly interesting topics below:

#MeToo To Be Continued
Friday, August 16th 19:00
Chiaverini & Robyn Doty (Whistle While You Work) joins Ilse Ghekiere (Engagement Arts) with Brenda Dixon-Gottschild as a moderator.

Questions of Cultural Appropriation in Contemporary Creation
Saturday, August 17th 18:30
Latifa Laâbissi in conversation with Grada Kilomba, moderated by Sandra NoethI

Politaoke is going ON TOUR!
So, these events are outside of Berlin, but very much worth checking out if you’re around. Your favourite non-partisan political speech karaoke bar hits the road beginning on August 23rd. Destination? Sachsen! Join Politaoke for a special batch of shows focusing on the upcoming state elections in Sachsen. They’re featuring speeches from politicians on the ballot – the good, the bad, and the laughably mundane in addition to a colourful international repertoire. Just come to a show, select a speech, and take the mic when your name is called. It’s just like Karaoke but easier since you don’t have to sing, though you are more than welcome to! The tour route and program are still being finalized, so be sure to keep tabs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the website to see where they end up!

Friday, August 23rd – Press conference, Neumark, Sachsen
Wednesday, August 28th – Second Attempt e. V., Görlitz
Friday, August 30th – Lokomov, Chemnitz
Sunday, September 1st – GEH8, Dresden

WHITEY ON THE MOON

Dear Künstlerhaus Bethanien,

Are you serious?

You’re about to open a group exhibition that features 22 artists, an exhibition that you describe as being peopled by ‘German and international artists,’ an exhibition that is curated by your director, Christoph Tannert. For those who want to know more, you’ve made the curatorial framing of the exhibition available via your website and elsewhere:

https://www.bethanien.de/en/exhibitions/milchstrassenverkehrsordnung/
https://www.facebook.com/events/309405916610011/

Your press release starts by offering a friendly fist bump to the South African megalomaniac Elon Musk [who those of us who read the news know as the entrepreneur behind companies that manufacture luxury cars and space vehicles, Elon Musk who presides over production lines that are contaminated by racist discrimination (https://tinyurl.com/yyzaoe4z), Elon Musk who casually dismisses those trying to save lives as paedophiles (when they get in the way of his tireless self-promotion / https://tinyurl.com/yxjzowvt), Elon Musk who (perhaps not incidentally), happens to be the 40th wealthiest person on the planet earth]. The vision of this very Elon Musk is credited, in your press release, as the primary inspiration for your upcoming exhibition:

Why in particular are you crediting Elon Musk, dear Christoph Tannert, as curator of this exhibition? Here, we must quote your press release directly, because we are simply too flabbergasted to artfully paraphrase the rather musky concept of your exhibition:

“The theme of the exhibition is linked to the hope, recently expressed by Elon Musk, that we are currently at the beginning of a new chapter in the history of mankind […]. The idea of [Musk’s] experiments is as follows: The colonisation [sic] of space, the moon, Mars and possibly other planets, promises an advanced utopia for Homo sapiens.”

Let’s parse the above for a moment, if you don’t mind, dear Christoph Tannert:

So, you’re saying that this exhibition aligns itself with the vision of a South African billionaire who wishes to colonise as much territory as possible for the sake of immense personal and corporate enrichment? Don’t we know that plot from somewhere? Haven’t we seen that movie before? (If only it were science fiction.) Moreover, Christoph Tannert, you want us to swallow this particular vision as an ‘advanced utopia’? Hang on just a second….

But then, at the speed of light, you shift your curatorial claims in an entirely different direction, dear Christoph Tannert, as your press release gathers pace. You want us to know that your exhibition is also inspired by “afrofuturistic science fiction concepts of the 1970s, as initiated by the American free jazz activist group Sun Ra and his Arkestra.” Here, you go to quite some lengths to demonstrate the degree to which Afrofuturist visions inform your exhibition, explaining to us that Sun Ra’s legendary ‘Space is the Place,’ “can be interpreted as his artistic response to the revolutionary socialist strategies of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (founded in 1966), with which Sun Ra, under the conditions of the growing tensions between black and white in the USA, had entered into a persistent controversy rejecting violence with regard to the question of possible future perspectives of people who, because of their dark skin colour, were not represented, excluded and suppressed.”

Holy Asteroids! That’s quite some heady material to be pushing into the foreground of your curatorial statement, dear Christoph Tannert, in the wake of your celebratory platforming of Elon Musk just a short paragraph earlier! That is quite some connecting of the dots!

As interested occupants of planet earth (and keen supporters of contemporary art), we can only wonder which artists you might deem to be up to the challenge that your press release outlines? Which 22 artists have you selected to negotiate the slippery slope between Elon Musk and Sun Ra? Which 22 artists could capably and competently reflect on what it means to dream of colonising the universe (à la entrepreneurial oligarchic capital) AND simultaneously manage to compellingly take on the great and visionary legacy not only of Sun Ra and his Arkestra, but also of Afrofuturism in general?

According to the curator of your exhibition, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, the best artist crew for this mission is:

18 white men
3 white women
1 artist of colour (Song Ming Ang)

Whoa, Christoph Tannert! Despite the fact that you want us to view this curatorial endeavour as ‘international’ in scope, it would appear that not a single black artist could be meaningfully accommodated within your group show of 22 artists, an exhibition that (do forgive our repetition here) seeks to pay homage (via Sun Ra) to a movement (the Black Panthers) that sought “to reject violence with regard to the question of possible future perspectives of people who, because of their dark skin colour, were not represented, excluded and suppressed.”

In light of the content of your press release, Christoph Tannert, we can only congratulate you heartily on managing to successfully man your mission to outer space with a list of artists that deftly marginalises all artists other than white men. Succeeding in avoiding the inclusion of even a single woman of colour in an exhibition of this scale requires particularly advanced curatorial skills in this day and age! Indeed, we must be fair in acknowledging that almost completely avoiding artists who happen to identify as anything other than white men, takes deep and focused effort in the increasingly diverse ecosystem that is contemporary Berlin: Chapeau, dear Christoph Tannert, on your unwavering commitment to white muskulinity!

That said… far be it from us to rush to judgment, dear Christoph Tannert…. You surely have good reasons for choosing to endorse and perpetuate the effective exclusion of artists of colour and artists who are not male-identified from your exhibition: Perhaps you want to emphasise the fact that interplanetary colonial missions are best conducted by white men? We must admit that, at least historically speaking, this assumption resonates as accurate.

On a related note, dear Christoph Tannert, we appreciate that you’ve titled your exhibition ‘Milchstraßenverkehrsordnung: Space is the Place.’ We certainly recognise the nod to Stanislaw Lem in your choice of title (right before the citation of Sun Ra). In light of how you’ve constructed and framed this exhibition, however, we can’t help but wonder whether the exhibition might not have benefitted from precisely the medicine that its title prescribes. To put it politely, an effort to regulate the privilege that is trafficked via milky white highways is precisely what your exhibition seems to be lacking.

We really do hate to point it out, dear Christoph Tannert [we wouldn’t want you to think that we’re Killjoys or Spaßbremse—we honestly do like to dance and dream too, even though many of us, somewhat inconveniently, are not white men], but we honestly couldn’t help noticing that, parallel to your exhibition, you’ve succeeded in putting together a programme of events that—other than star DJ, Juan Atkins—features a line-up of nothing but white men. Bonus points here, for utter consistency! If we were feeling ungenerous, we might be tempted to say, “WHAT THE FUCK,” dear Christoph Tannert, because all of this just can’t be true in 2019 (let alone in an exhibition that claims to dream of utopian futures)—but rather, we’d like to suggest a late addition to your soundtrack for the exhibition….

It’s not that we want to interfere with your curatorial vision, dear Christoph Tannert… We can imagine that you were preoccupied with questions of ‘quality’ as you worked out the list of artists for your intergalactic endeavour, and we do understand that ‘quality’ can be blinding. But would it be terribly presumptuous to ask you to squeeze just one extra voice into your curatorial framework? It seems to us that Gil Scott-Heron would be the perfect narrator for the mission that you are about to launch:

+

WHITEY ON THE MOON

A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face and arms began to swell.
(and Whitey’s on the moon)

I can’t pay no doctor bill.
(but Whitey’s on the moon)
Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still.
(while Whitey’s on the moon)

The man jus’ upped my rent las’ night.
(’cause Whitey’s on the moon)
No hot water, no toilets, no lights.
(but Whitey’s on the moon)

I wonder why he’s uppi’ me?
(’cause Whitey’s on the moon?)
I was already payin’ ‘im fifty a week.
(with Whitey on the moon)

Taxes takin’ my whole damn check,
Junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck,
The price of food is goin’ up,
An’ as if all that shit wasn’t enough

A rat done bit my sister Nell.
(with Whitey on the moon)
Her face an’ arm began to swell.
(but Whitey’s on the moon)

Was all that money I made las’ year
(for Whitey on the moon?)
How come there ain’t no money here?
(Hm! Whitey’s on the moon)
Y’know I jus’ ’bout had my fill
(of Whitey on the moon)
I think I’ll sen’ these doctor bills,
Airmail special
(to Whitey on the moon)

GIL SCOTT-HERON, 1970

+

We care about Künstlerhaus Bethanien, dear Christoph Tannert. It is a gem of the Berlin contemporary art community, one that has been responsible for giving an endless list of artists unforgettable experiences and opportunities in Berlin. Please receive this open letter as a gesture of our solidarity. We very much want the Künstlerhaus Bethanien to remain relevant as an institution. We’re sorry to say that exhibitions that are built as this one is, just don’t convince us anymore. The thing is, running a public institution these days means having to rethink some of those old curatorial habits. We, your public—for some reason—feel an increasing need to see ourselves represented in and by our public institutions, in our diversity. As painful a transformation as this might imply, we feel that it is only fair to let you know that we’re finding it increasingly difficult to continue supporting (or maintaining an active interest in) institutions that insist on disproportionately platforming and offering visibility to the same small demographic.

If you’re serious about imagining ‘advanced utopias,’ dear Christoph Tannert, may we suggest that you start by reflecting on the realities of the planet that we currently inhabit? We invite you to consider broadening your earthly horizons before expanding your vision to the universe at large.

Yours sincerely,
SOAP DU JOUR
28 July 2019, Planet Earth

Artists Without A Cause stands in solidarity with this message.

Diana Arce and Simon Schultz are stoked to bring Politaoke to Sachsen! photo by Ricky Major.

We are thrilled to announce that Politaoke is going on tour next month! Your favorite purveyor of nonpartisan political karaoke is coming to Sachsen, Germany for the state elections from August 23rd until September 2nd thanks to a generous grant from Neue Heimat on the road. This is also the first tour where Diana Arce and Simon Schultz (Politaoke Hamburg) will join forces on stage.

Bring us to your town & send us your favorite speeches!

Politaoke is looking for locations in East Sachsen including Bautzen, Görlitz, Leipzig, and Dresden to bring our show! We are still looking for show locations in east Sachsen! Are you a venue owner? do you want to see Politaoke in your city? Know of some cool places? Let us know!

In the spirit of never-ending political shenanigans, Politaoke is always looking for speeches. If there is a particularly spicy bit of rhetoric that you’re just dying to have included in a show, especially from candidates in the upcoming Sachsen state elections, submit it right here.

Attention Artists/Graphic Designers!

We are so excited about Politaoke’s upcoming tour in Sachsen that we want to commemorate it with an brand new logo. We have some ideas in mind, but we are in need of your artistic expertise! Politaoke is looking for artists/graphic designers to help us design a tour logo to be used on promotional materials. We are looking for designers to start ASAP since the tour is rapidly approaching at the end of August.

We are looking for artists/graphic designers well versed in logo design who can do the following:  

  • FAST turn around. Do you have time in the next week?
  • Create an eye-catching logo for Politaoke’s Sachsen tour. We will communicate with you about our specific ideas for this.
  • Export designs in multiple formats for use on varying materials like shirts, flyers, and social media posts.

What Politaoke can offer you:

  • A small symbolic honorary for the logo design (200 EURO)
  • Some Politaoke swag. Who doesn’t like buttons and t-shirts?
  • Celebratory drinks with the Politaoke team in Berlin or on the road in Sachsen if we happen to cross paths.

Send us a link or small portfolio or ideas to hello@artistswac.chaoslab.in

Stay Updated!

We’ll be posting with the hashtag #dresden2025 while on this tour. Keep an eye out here and on the Politaoke site for updates and follow AWAC and Politaoke on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

We’ve also got a newsletter dedicated to all things Politaoke, sign up today!
YouForOffice #MeineRede

A still from Patches of Snow In July by Lana Z. Kaplan, one of the films to be screened this evening.

Hey Berlin! Join Artists Without A Cause tonight beginning at 7:30 PM at Böttgerstraße 16 in Wedding for Consciousness of Changing Climate! We’re screening a collection of short films about climate change and human relationships with this issue. Curated by AWAC intern Ricky Major, this screening aims to explore, familiarize, and bring awareness to the manifold impacts of climate change on the environments around us. Along with this, AWAC and featured artists hope to showcase how art is a powerful vehicle to educate about how climate change is affecting humans and other ecological functions. 

We are screening an eclectic collection of films including :
Oro Blanco – Gisela Carbajal Rodríguez
Techno Inferno – Farhanaz Rupaidha
Panorama Panik Botanik –Vera Sebert
Totem –Alex MacKenzie
Patches of Snow in July –Lana Z. Caplan
Questions for a Dinosaur –Rachel Garber Cole

Also, we’re excited to announce that filmmaker Lana Z. Kaplan will Skype in for a Q&A session during the screening tonight. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!


Still from the film Oro Blanco by Gisela Carbajal Rodríguez to be screen on Tuesday

The Artists Without a Cause team invites you to join us for our film screening Consciousness of Changing Climate! Join us on Tuesday, July 16th at Böttgerstraße 16 at 7:30 PM! We’re screening a collection of short films about climate change and human relationships with this issue. This screening aims to explore, familiarize, and bring awareness to the environments around us. Along with this, AWAC and featured artists hope to show both abstract and direct examples of how climate change is affecting humans and other ecological functions.

Ricky Major, the AWAC intern, has spent the past weeks sorting and curating films to show for the screening as well as arranging possible discussions with artists or other organizations.

We’re excited to present a lineup of films including:

Gisela Carbajal Rodríguez – Oro Blanco
Harsh winds, vast salt lakes and dryness shape the mountains of north west Argentina. The high plains of the Salinas Grandes hides one of the biggest lithium reserves in the world. In order to extract it, the last sweet water of the desert is being pumped into vast reserves by international companies. The battery industry`s resource hunger threatens the shepherds and the traditional salt production of the indigenous Kolla and Atacama. In quiet poetic images “Oro Blanco” depicts the lives and fears of people who have to fight for their territory and way of living.

Gisela Carbajal Rodríguez was born in Aguascalientes, Mexico. She lived and studied there; earning a BA in audiovisual arts and theater at University “La Concordia” in Aguascalientes in 2010. She is based in Munich since continuing studies there in 2012 with scholarships to Israel in 2015 and South Africa in 2016. Oro Blanco is her fifth short film.

Farhanaz Rupaidha – Techno Inferno
Earth is fading with the extinction of nature. The wind blows the dead of the real beauty. Only the garbage lefts. The mountain of garbage from our excessive lust of foods, vehicles, hybrid conveniences and freedoms of communication. We hurt the land of nature by extracting fuel then give back to it as a waste. We respect our gifts of beauty only through our electronic devices. We snap the scenery, record the sound and manipulate it into something that only depends on our selfish will. Beyond that matter, we eventually changed to be the mother of inferno to our own place of living.

Farhanaz Rupaidha is a media artist graduated from the Visual Art Education Department of the State University of Jakarta who is living and working in Indonesia. He works mainly with video installation and algorithmic/generative art through video channel amalgamations and combinations between the interactivity of moving image and sounds by exploring social concerns. See more of his work atfarhanazrupaidha.github.io/ 

Vera Sebert – Panorama Panik Botanik
In awareness of transfiguring the visual impulse, this experimental film inspires to make the unseen accessible by means of other sensory perceptions.

Vera Sebert was born in 1987 and studied fine arts from 2007- 2015 at the University of Fine Arts Braunschweig and Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. In 2017, She is currently a Subnet Artist-in-Residence in Salzburg, Austria. Her art works in border areas between visual media, language, film and computer programs. verasebert.com

Alex MacKenzie – Totem
It’s late in the day and we’ve waited too long. Man vs nature in a battle to the finish. Black and white print stock takes on a sickly hue, disrupted and solarized using hand-applied film bleach; chemical spills rupture emulsion. Filmed primarily at the Chevron Refinery located on the fragile shores leading to Indian Arm near Vancouver. [A part of the Iris Film Collective End of the World Film Commission where members were given a limited amount of Orwo black and white print stock to create a themed film. Funded by the BC Arts Council.

Alex MacKenzie is a Vancouver-based media artist working primarily with 16mm analog film equipment and hand processed imagery. He creates works of expanded cinema, light projection installation, and projector performance. His work has been screened globally and he has served as an artist-in-residence, interviewer, and editor for numerous global organisations and publications. More about him and his work can be found at alexmackenzie.ca

Lana Z. Caplan – Patches of Snow in July
Mythology and religious fanaticism, climate deniers and environmental profiteers, natural disasters and the end of radio, all reflected in the mirror of a morphing landscape, poised for new devastation.

Notions of utopia and the present day relationship of history to particular geographies inspire California-based filmmaker and photographer Lana Z Caplan. Much of her work explores the implications of social landscape on the physical landscape. Caplan earned her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art and is currently an Assistant Professor at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. lanazcaplan.com

Rachel Garber Cole – Questions for a Dinosaur
It seems to me that during this early transition into a new, more destabilized climate, it is difficult for many of us to talk productively about, or process, the interior experience of an unseasonably warm day. And so I’m asking questions: What does it feel to witness our climate change around us? What are we afraid of? How can we begin to build psychological resilience as the weather gets stranger and scarier? And how can we build a public vocabulary for talking about these changes?

Rachel Garber Cole is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist who works primarily in video and performance. Rachel’s background is in theater, and her current practice is deeply influenced by musical and text-based traditions. Check out more of her work surrounding climate change, and her other projects at rachelgarbercole.com

Keep your eyes on the Facebook event page to learn more about the selected films and for the finalized event program. Mark your calendars! We hope to see you there!

June was Black Lives Matter Month in Berlin, but it’s not over quite yet! Join AWAC, White Guilt Clean Up, and other partnering organisations for the Black Lives Matter protest March on Friday, July 5th. Want to lend a hand? Help make the dream work and volunteer! Under the invigorating summer sun and during the mild nights, there’s never a shortage of things to do in Berlin. Here’s an AWAC guide to some notable events on the calendar this month.

flyer via http://www.blacklivesmatterberlin.de/black-lives-matter-protest-2019/

Black Lives Matter Berlin protest march
Friday, July 5th 17:00 – 22:00
U- Bahnhof M*straße/Zietenplatz. Mitte
The Black Lives Matter protest march takes place for its fourth year! This demonstration will shed light on the effects of anti-Black racism experienced by people at a state and individual level today in Germany and all over the world. In the words of the organizers: “The Black Lives Matter Demo stands for lasting change in our society and against the silence of racism. Silence, too, is violence.” The march begins at 17:00 with a series of speakers who will highlight the historical and present realities of racism and intersectional discrimination. The march continues from M*straße and finally gather at Spreewaldplatz where there will be live music, poetry, and other speeches

CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS!
Want to get involved? The Black Lives Matter Demo is still looking for reliable helpers (Security, Awareness Team, Shouter, Donation Collectors/Merch distributers) for the protest on July 5th. Please contact the organizational team at: kontakt@blacklivesmatterberlin.de and let them know what you are available for, which languages you speak and your phone number. Please note: Positions as Awareness-Team members, Shouters and Donation Collectors are exclusively for Black people.

Book launch: Das ist meine Geschichte
Saturday, July 13th 18:00
Aquarium bei Südblock, Skalitzer Straße 6. Kreuzberg
Presented by Kollektiv POLYLOG, Join the authors for a concert, reading, and exhibition to celebrate the launch of their new book, Das ist meine Geschichte (this is my story). The book focuses on the perspectives and realities of women who have fled to Germany in recent years. What are the realties of refugees and women while navigating life in a new country? With this book, the authors demand control over the representations of their life realities in public space. This event is donation-based and will be held in German, Farsi, and Turkish. 

Audream – Lesung für Kinder
Saturday, July 6th 15:00 – 19:00
Villa Freundschaft, Wiesenstraße 44. Wedding
Audream, a mobile antiracist library, is hosting an afternoon of reading and story-sharing for children. Story time will feature books where Black children, and children who are often read as non-german or non-white take the leading roles. There will be snacks, games, and even an art project to make and paint the main characters of the stories. This event is open to everyone, but Audream requests that you register at info@audream.org so they can gauge the scale of the event. 

Film Screening and discussion: Consciousness of a Changing Climate
Tuesday, July 16th, 19:00 -21:00
Böttgerstraße 16. Wedding
AWAC extends an invitation to the first instalment of a new film screening series focused on climate change and human responses to the issue. Curated by AWAC intern Ricky Major, This screening aims to explore, familiarize, and bring awareness to the environments around us. We’ll be showcasing a diverse catalogue of short films ranging from abstraction to documentary features, exhibiting the complexities of the issue and the urgency it commands in our collective consciousness. We’re still in the process of selecting the final program for the evening, so keep an eye on the Facebook event for updates about films and artists to be included in the showcase. 

Facebook banner for CuTiE.BIPoC Festival via https://www.facebook.com/events/183179445910824/

CuTie.BIPoC Festival
July 19th – 21st
Manege, Rütlistraße 1-3, Neukölln
CuTie.BIPoC festival is a three-day festival by and for Queer, Trans, Inter, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. It aims to empower communities of Queer People of Color in Europe and beyond through meeting, sharing resources, and holding space to engage with pertinent issues,  For three days, there will be workshops, screenings, performances, discussions, and plenty of space for eating, hanging out, and partying too! 

Note: the organizers of the festival ask for participants to sign up via a form on their website’s event page. It can be found here.

Black Queer Youth Space
July 20th, 18:00 -21:00
Each One Teach One (EOTO e.V.) Togostraße 76. Wedding
On the third saturday of every second month, EOTO hosts a space open to Black LGBTQIA+ youth! This event is free. `

The facade of the Haus der Statistik complex near Alexanderplatz exists in aesthetic flux. Intrepid people often enter the permeable, decade-abandoned structures, sometimes leaving behind impressively scaled and rapidly vanishing messages. Some, like the now iconic “STOP WARS” have a seemingly indelible place in the mutable tempo of Berlin. Now, a new message crowns the facade with intentions to stay for the foreseeable future. ALLESANDERSPLATZ, a play on words  involving “alles anders” (german meaning everything different) and the nearby transit hub, appeared last month to signify progress on an ongoing collective redevelopment project I recently covered.

Allesandersplatz, June 2019. Image courtesy of STATISTA, http://allesandersplatz.berlin

Next Steps

With this idea of “alles anders” now looming over the space, I still have to wonder whether this undertaking will in fact, deliver something radically different than the current norm in Berlin of gentrification-driven inaccessibility. The newest press release from Initiative Haus der Statistik, has given me hopeful pause. On the 7th of June, the cooperative group steering the project, signed a continuation of collaboration and financing for the ongoing process. This group calls itself the Koop5 and consists of the Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen (city office for urban development and housing), Bezirksamt Berlin-Mitte (Berlin-Mitte city hall),  WBM Wohnungsbaugesellschaft Berlin-Mitte mbH (affordable housing services for Berlin-Mitte),  BIM Berliner Immobilienmanagement GmbH (contractors for restoration and new construction), and  ZUsammenKUNFT Berlin eG (collaborative working group of artists, activists, civic organizations).

Continued collaboration between the city government, affordable housing providers, and ZUsammenKUNFT who represent the initiators of the entire project suggests that the needs of the surrounding community will be taken into account in further planning. The current plans, which are available on the website, serve to counter displacement of artists and lower income renters who experience pressing consequences of gentrification. Initial demands for affordable studio spaces and apartments are now integrated into a mixture of adaptive reuse and new construction.

The press release also announced progress on construction and the opening of an exhibition. This exhibition presents the project’s story from its beginning as a one-off protest in 2015 to the present full-fledged movement. According to the initiative, it “explains how the development of the empty building complex was oriented towards the common good. The exhibition focuses on the diverse formats of participation and the numerous impulses that found their way into the integrated workshop process from September 2018 to February 2019.” With that in mind, this exhibition also focuses on the project’s rapidly crystallizing future. I will certainly visit this exhibition and you should too if you are based in Berlin or visiting.

Exhibition at Haus der Statistik – check it out!
Open from 8, June to 21, July from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM
Karl-Marx-Allee 1

The misuse of land by fossil fuel companies is an increasingly alarming problem all over the world. Fossil fuel companies lay pipelines that destroy fragile habitats and create toxic environmental hazards from leaks and breaches. But many activists and artists have risen up against the construction of more pipelines. There have been many marches and protests against these developments, such as the Dakota Access protest. Although these interventions are sometimes effective in delaying or cancelling construction, other artists and activists are taking different approaches.

White Picket Fencing

Landowner and artist Peter von Teisenhausen has been successful in keeping proposed pipeline construction away from his land through artistic interventions with a few legal loopholes.

Peter’s white picket fence. Photo via Stephen Keefe

Peter lives on a ranch in Alberta, Canada that happened to fall right in the path of a proposed pipeline development in 1996. After companies kept sending him offers to obtain consent for construction on his land, he thought of a clever way to discourage them. Peter built a white picket fence on his property and claimed it as an art installation to obtain copyright of his land. With this, companies could no longer “threaten him with arbitration”, forcing them to pursue expensive redevelopment around his property. Peter also charged companies $500 per hour if they desired to meet with him. If they’re making money from the pipelines, why not charge them to meet with him? 

Blued Trees Symphony

“Three Sisters,” detail from completed “Blued Trees” overture, Peekskill, NY (photo by Aviva Rahmani, 2015)

Ecological artist and activist Aviva Rahmandi’s project Blued Tree Symphony opposes the projected development of the Algonquin pipeline on a piece of lush public land in Peekskill, New York. In order to gain copyright on the land, she and a group of New York activists needed to install some piece of art to begin the process. This inspired the idea to go out and create a musical score by painting the trees along the path of the proposed pipeline. Each painted tree represents a note and the entirety of the score interrupts the path of heavy machinery.

I recently reached out to Rahmandi about the project. We discussed inspiration, the status of the project now, and some projections for the future.

Ricky: How was Blued Trees Symphony created/how was the idea formed? Did you draw inspiration from other projects to form Blued Trees?

Rahmandi: The initial inspiration was the work of Peter von Teisenhausen, who copyrighted his entire ranch to save it but that was never tested in the courts) The form of the project took place in my mind when I studied the maps of the Constitution pipeline which would have crossed Northern NY State, and imagined the corridors as musical lines.

Ricky: Was the Blued Trees Symphony project successful at halting the placement of the AIM pipelines in New York? How did the company react to this project?

Rahmandi: The pipelines corp which initiated the one alongside the Indian Creek nuclear facility sent me a dark money (Judith Mayer’s book on topic) letter in response to our cease & desist notice and then went ahead with destruction before I could raise enough money for an injunction. Elsewhere, it is my understanding that we contributed to slowing them down. But under this administration, all best are off until and if we can vote them out of office. Spectra took over the Peekskill pipeline and that is the same company that destroyed Standing Rock and in which T. [Trump] is heavily invested.

Rahmandi’s approach wasn’t entirely effective at the halting of the Algonquin pipeline. However, I still see this approach to copyrighting land as effective. As Rahmani stated, others who participated in the Blued Trees project in varying locations were at the least successful in slowing the companies down. With this, there is much more room to grow and learn from previous mistakes, which fossil fuel companies don’t seem to do. 

One aspect of these projects I worry about is the aggression perpetuated by fossil fuel industries. When motivated so deeply by money, companies will do whatever possible to make the most by spending the least amount possible. Destruction of land and the overall environment always seems to follow. If projects such as Peter’s or Rahmandi’s keep occurring, I worry that industries will find keep finding ways around the copyright ownership to suit their needs.

Large fossil fuels corporations seem to only be growing and growing with power. Although renewable energy could be beneficial for all people and the environment, fossil fuel companies and those who benefit from non-renewable energy continue to pour investments into environmentally destructive techniques. The increase of renewable energy corporations would open up more job opportunities to the public, far more than those offered by fossil fuel industries. Not only will people benefit from the switch to renewable energy, but so will the general environment. But if we want to see an increase in ecosystem and species health, the switch will need to happen sooner than later!

Photo by Ricky Major

Artists Without A Cause is looking for short film and video submissions for a film screening in mid-July to bring accessible information and awareness to the issue of climate change.

Climate change is an alarming issue that is shoving negative effects on animals and the environment. As such a multifaceted problem often intertwined with money and political power, it’s hard to see how humans will be able to make the shift towards an eco-friendly lifestyle. But something needs to change. Ecosystems are constantly threatened by human impact. Not only will animals and habitats face the implications of global warming, but humans as well.

This is where you come in! We are looking for short films and video submissions that bring awareness to this crucial topic. We’re interested in short films focusing on environmentalism, climate change, and the effects of humans on the environment.

This event is being curated by me, current AWAC intern Ricky Major, with support of the rest of the team. Being a student involved in environmental studies, I want to use my remaining weeks in Berlin to arrange an event that relates to my studies, interests, and current pressing topics.

How to submit:

Send your film (download link preferred or vimeo/youtube link) in an email with a short description and artist bio to hello@artistswac.chaoslab.in with the subject Climate Change Film Submission. 

We’re accepting submissions until July 5th and the screening will take place soon after (around mid-July).

The program will be finalized by July 7th/8th and all submitters will be notified then. If you are a selected filmmaker and wish to join us in discussion at the screening, you are welcome to attend or conference in if you aren’t in Berlin!

Accepted screening submissions will receive a small compensation.

A still from Communion (2018) by Patience Nitumwesiga to be screened on Thursday.

Artists Without A Cause and White Guilt Clean Up invite you to celebrate Black Lives Matter Month in Berlin with a little bit of magic! 

Join us at 19:00 on Thursday, June 6th at Frauenkreise Berlin for BLACK GIRL* Magic: A Film Series. We’re screening several short films and videos from and about Black womxn* FLTI and their experiences. We’re pleased to present a vibrant program of short films and videos including:

The Water Will Carry Us Home: a film and stop motion animation about tragedy and healing by painter, puppeteer, filmmaker, and all around polymath Gabrielle Tesfaye
Negra Soy: a poetic celebration of Blackness and resilience from free artist AnouchK and Alexia/Lautaro
Communion: the story of a young woman stepping into her past to look for healing and well-being to forge a way into the future by writer, director, and founder of Shagika Tales, Patience Nitumwesiga.
Daydream by Marguerite Harris

A couple of the filmmakers will join us for a discussion of their work as well. Keep an eye on the Facebook event for a finalized program and mark your calendar!

June is Black Lives Matter Month in Berlin! Hosted by Black Lives Matter Berlin and partner organizations, this month promotes lasting change in our society against racism and celebrates + uplifts Blackness. In true Berlin style, an abundance of events are happening all month long and all over the city. Here is a little guide from AWAC for ways to celebrate and show solidarity. Please be aware that some events are only open to Black people/POCs. This is specified in each event listing. If you are an ally, you can show solidarity through attending events open to everyone, supporting Black/POC owned businesses, and donating to the organizations that make these events possible. Get ready to mark your calendar!

https://www.facebook.com/BLMberlin/

BLACK GOLD Soul Sister Strut and BBQ
Saturday, June 1st, 13:00 – 20:00
Strut begins at Lustgarten, BBQ at 14:30 in Volkspark Friedrichshain
Soul Sisters Berlin began Soul Sister Strut as a gathering for Black womxn to assert their presence in public space by walking together in bold and empowering styles. Soul Sisters states: “Why we walk: We walk for all those who’ve walked before us. We walk as a declaration of self-care. We walk for love, joy, friendship and empowerment.” The strut continues this year with the theme of BLACK GOLD, so get crafty, go all out, and be prepared to shine in tomorrow’s afternoon sun. The strut is open to all Black people and the BBQ in Volkspark Friedrichshain is open to allies as well. 

White Guilt Clean Up Reading Group
Sunday, June 2nd, 16:00 – 18:00
Hopscotch Reading Room, Kurfurstenstr. 14, Kreuzberg
The new book club by White Guilt Clean Up is beginning its first book, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor! The group will discuss the introductory chapter of the book at this meeting. Don’t have a book and interested in joining? send a message to media.hopscotch@gmail.com for a PDF of the intro. While you are at it, you can order the book in either german or english from that address and support Black/POC owned businesses, specifically the host Siddhartha Lokanandi. Amazon doesn’t need your money! This event is open to everyone. 

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation lecture with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Wednesday, June 5th, 18:30 – 21:00
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, Mitte
Have you joined the book club and can’t wait until the end of the month to learn more? Regardless, this event should not be missed! Author and professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor will join Loren Balhorn and Katharina Pühl of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung to discuss questions of racial equality in the United States, the state of US politics, and answer questions from in and beyond her book. This event is in english with german translation and is open to everyone.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor by Don Usner via https://www.hkw.de/en/programm/projekte/veranstaltung/p_154995.php

BLACK GIRL* Magic: A Film Series Vol. II
Thursday, June 6th, 19:00 – 22:00
Frauenkreise, Choriner Straße 10, Prenzlauer Berg
The film series hosted by White Guilt Clean Up and Diana Arce presents a screening and discussion of short films created by Black womxn* FLTI and their experiences. The resilience and power of creativity in the face of discrimination, injustice and everyday violence is truly magical. So come and see works created by womxn* that celebrate Blackness beyond mainstream tropes and learn how empowering Black Girl Magic can be. This event is open to everyone. 

Audream Empowerment Evening
Thursday, June 6th, 18:00 – 20:00
xart splitta, Hasenheide 73, Neukölln
Audream mobile antiracist library and xart splitta are collaborating for an evening of sharing poetry and ideas around the topic of empowerment while centering Black/POC voices. What does empowerment mean to us? How do we empower others? The first half of this event is open for everyone and the second half of the event is open to BlPOC only.

Digital Security Workshop for marginalized folx
Saturday, June 6th, 12:00 – 16:00
The.Word.Berlin, Willmanndamm 4, Schöneberg
This workshop teaches how to safeguard electronic communications from hackers and government surveillance. Learn about encryption and preventing tracking while browsing from a computer or smartphone. This workshop is free but donations are welcomed. Registration is open for up to 15 people and is prioritized for Black people, but POC are welcome to ask for spots. Register via kontakt@blacklivesmatterberlin.de

Black Lives Matter Berlin Month – Kick-Off
Monday, June 10th, 17:00 – 20:00
The.Word.Berlin Willmanndamm 4, 10827 Schoneberg
Black Lives Matter Berlin is planning an evening to celebrate a full month of events. Planning is still in the works, but keep this on your radar and check out the Facebook event page.

The party is getting started at EOTO via https://www.facebook.com/events/425712001544218/

AFROLUTION 2019 Literaturfestival – Pan-Africanism Revis[it]ed
Thursday, June 13th – Sunday, June 16th
EOTO e.V. Togostraße 76, Wedding
This four-day conference intertwines arts, academy, and activism to examine Pan-Africanism, a crucial movement in the history of decolonization. “Pan-Africanism can be described as a transnational intellectual, political and cultural movement that emphasises the solidarity, bonds, shared experiences and intertwined history(s) between people of African descent worldwide. The wordplay on »REVIS[IT]ED« – as a historical review and future-oriented revision.” There are also related events happening around the city, so the official program is useful to have at hand. The event is free, but some workshops have small fees. This event is open to everyone. 

Afro_Feministische Zukunftsperspektiven conference
Saturday, June 15th, 10:00 – 19:00
Aquarium am Südblock, Skalitzer Straße 6, Kreuzberg
AfricAvenir International is hosting a conference about Afro-Feminist perspectives on educational and development policies in response to global inequity. Speakers from all over the world, including Diana Arce of AWAC and White Guilt Clean Up will present their research in a full and fascinating day at Aquarium. This event is in english with german translation also offered. This event is also free and open to everyone. 

Liederkreis (Song Cycles) concert
Sunday, June 23rd, 18:00 – 21:00
Studio Knutson, Ahornstraße 6, Steglitz
Opera singer Jeremy Osborne will perform works by Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann. This is an exciting chance to support a Black artist working in the field of classical music. It’s also a chance to get dressed up for an evening of beautiful art and entertainment. Tickets are 10 euros apiece and will be available for purchase at the door. This event is open to everyone. 

Liederkreis via http://www.blacklivesmatterberlin.de/event/liederkreis/

BIPOC Picknick
Sunday, June 30th, 16:00 – 19:00
Görlizer Park, Kreuzberg
Die Falken Berlin and IN*VISION invite POC for an afternoon of empowerment, love, community care, and delicious food. Bring a blanket and some snacks and hang out with friends or get to know some new ones. It is recommended to RSVP on the Facebook event page. This event is open to POC only.

Black Lives Matter Berlin – Protest March 2019
Friday, July 5th, 17:00 – 22:00
M*straße, Mitte
Save the date for this year’s protest march! Since June is so packed with events throughout Berlin, Black Lives Matter month continues into July. More details will be announced soon, so keep an eye on the event page for updates. This event is open to everyone. 

“DIE KUNST BLEIBT FREI” photo by Ricky Major

This past Sunday in Berlin, I took to the streets with hundreds of other people in support of artistic freedom in Europe. Marches also took place in several other EU cities on the same day. Die Vielen had a heavy hand in the creation of this event alongside of many other organizations and communities which can be viewed on the Facebook event page. The march, Für Ein Europa der Vielen!, began at Rosa-Luxemburg Platz in front of the Volksbühne Berlin. Before the actual march, there were a variety of music artists and speakers expressing their styles and thoughts. The programming was in German, but I was able to understand what the march represented with my growing German skills and some additional research.

Art is at the center of the political and social development of a society. Without it, there is no progression! People will stick to tradition, even if it means oppression of a certain group of people.

Artistic freedom in European countries and those in the EU such as Turkey, Russia, and Poland is becoming increasingly threatened. Many artists are facing suppression by extreme right-wing politicians and government officials. With artistic freedom becoming increasingly endangered, artists are forced to emigrate to other countries or cities and face persecution in their home countries. Although this hasn’t reached Germany yet, it shows what may be in store for the future.

Für ein Europa der Vielen! brings awareness to the exploitation of minority artists who are targeted by governments and non-state actors. People are striving for a “solidary Europe that does not increasingly seal itself off”. Instead, they are in support of a Europe that welcomes those who wish to live here and express their thoughts through art. Not only were people marching in support of an entirely free Europe, but they were also welcoming artists who no longer feel safe or free within their home country.

I was curious to learn more about the conditions of censorship addressed at the march. The artistic freedom organization, FREEMUSE, releases an annual report that assesses the current state of artistic freedom in several countries. Their 2019 report states that 19 artists were imprisoned and 10 were detained under the pretense of counter-terrorism worldwide. Several EU countries use counter-terrorism legislation to violate artistic freedom of expression. Their research found that nine countries used these methods of anti-terrorism and anti-extremism legislation against artists. If artists are unable to express their thoughts and beliefs through art, this issue will only progress.

Für Ein Europa der Vielen! was an attempt to raise awareness and capture the attention of mainstream society. There were several trucks with DJs, as well as a countless number of people dressed in bright and loud outfits. One thing that stood out to me was the metallic silver and gold flags and signs people carried with them. Due to their material, they attracted significant amounts of light and made an interesting noise when the wind blew through them. All of this caused a lot of attraction to the march. People on the sidewalks and in cars all turned their heads as the huge mass of people came marching down the street.

I personally thought this march was quite exciting and empowering for artistic freedom. However, I had some background information of the topic at hand during the march. It seemed that some of those on the sidelines of the march gave a look of confusion as the group passed. Even though it caught their attention, it can be difficult to gather what is being portrayed through handmade banners and signs. People handed out flyers at the beginning in Rosa-Luxemburg, but I didn’t notice flyers being distributed throughout the march. This could have been helpful in informing non-participants.

Overall, marches and/or protests can be an interesting and active approach to getting voices heard. Fur Ein Europa der Vielen! was definitely an exciting and informative event. It got me more curious about the topic and brought me into doing more research. I view that as a successful outcome.

May is Queer History Month in Berlin. Even though we’re already halfway through the month, there are still SO many events to check out! Queer History Month is an educational initiative to remember and celebrate the individuals and events that have shaped queer history and queer liberation in Berlin and around the world. It’s also a time to explore the overabundance of events that Berlin always has to offer! Here is an AWAC guide to the next couple of weeks. 

Two Festivals

Image via Facebook, Noon Festival

Noon Festival: Queer History Month x Ramadan
May 15th to May 30th
be’kech, Exerzierstraße 14. Wedding

As the first of its kind in Germany, Noon festival centers and celebrates queer, of color, and muslim identities. Starting tomorrow, be’kech in Wedding will host two weeks of performances, panel discussions, screenings, get-togethers, and parties to promote better representation and awareness. This festival is free and open to everyone, but donations are encouraged. All proceeds will go to Masjid Al-Rabia’s Black and Pink Crescent, the only program in the world that provides spiritual advocacy and direct support to incarcerated, detained, and institutionalized queer and trans muslims. 

There are so many exciting events to attend! We’ll drop a few right here. Be sure to take a look at each event listed on the main page to learn more about dates and times. 

Vogue Berlin – screenings and talk:
Thursday, May 16th, 19:30- 22:00
This evening features a screening of behind-the-scenes footage of Berlin Is Burning and a discussion with members of Berlin’s Voguing/Ballroom community.

Kiez Iftar:
Friday, May 17th, 19:30 – 22:00
an event with delicious food, lively conversation and beautiful music. This event is held in German and can be partially translated into English

Intersectionality In Queer Spaces – talk:
Tuesday, May 21st, 19:30 – 23:30
Artists and activists in Berlin’s queer nightlife scene will discuss the importance of intersectionality in queer spaces? What has already been achieved and what remains to be achieved?

Queerstories – community networking evening:
Saturday, May 25th, 19:30 – 23:00
a relaxed evening of conversation and tea at be’kech. 

KuirFest Berlin: Queer Feminist Rebels
May 23rd – June 7th
bi’bak, Prinzenallee 59. Wedding

With this year’s theme of “Queer Feminist Rebels,” KuirFest Berlin presents a series of films, talks, performances, and workshops that engage with alternative modes of filmmaking and queer representations. In reaction to the lifting of a ban on LGBTI+ events in Ankara in April of this year, organizers of the Pembe Hayat Kuirfest – Pink Life Queer Fest and bi’bak have put together a program of events in Berlin focusing on transgressing boundaries and transnational solidarity. 

Have a look at the program right here! Discussions with filmmakers and other special guests accompany each screening. All screenings are also free.

The KuirFest opening party features a fantastic lineup of queer performers and DJs from Turkey that will have you laughing and dancing through the night! 10 euros.
Thursday, May 23rd, 21:30 – 6:00
SO36, Orianienstraße 190. Kreuzberg
Pick up tickets here or at the door.


Screenings, Panels, Concerts:

A still from Queercore: How to Punk a revolution. Image via https://homemcr.org/film/queercore-how-to-punk-a-revolution/

Screening of Queercore: How To Punk a Revolution
Wednesday, May 15th, 19:00 – 22:00
Schwules Museum, Lützowstraße 73. Schöneberg
A screening of the documentary film about queer punk identity and resistance in the American underground. Entry is 4 euros, and the event is wildly popular on Facebook as of now, so arrive early to secure a spot!

Black Queer Youth Space:
Saturday, May 20th 18:00 – 21:00
Each One Teach One (EOTO e.V.) Togostraße 76. Wedding
On the third Saturday of every second month, Each One Teach One (EOTO e.V.) hosts a space open to black LGBTQIA+ youth! This is the first meeting of many to come. Free event.

Natasha A. Kelly, image via https://www.hebbel-am-ufer.de/service/presse/kelly-schwarzer-feminismus/

Book launch with Natasha A. Kelly 
Monday, May 20th, 20:00 – 23:00
HAU1, Stresemannstraße 29. Kreuzberg
Writer, curator, and filmmaker Natasha A. Kelly will present from her new volume “Schwarzer Feminismus” (Black Feminism,) a collection of new writing accompanied by essays from influential Black womxn of the 19th and 20th centuries.  

NOTE: This event is free, but reservations should be made by May 17th to tickets@hebbel-am-ufer.de. Over 1.7k are interested on Facebook, so arrive early if you would like a comfortable seat.

Screening of Audre Lorde – The Berlin Years:
Monday, May 20th, 20:00 – 22:00
Lichtblick Kino, Kastanianallee 77. Prenzlauer Berg
This documentary follows the visionary poet, author, and activist Audre Lorde through her life in Germany from 1984 – 1992 and her work with the Afro-German movement. Filmmakers Dagmar Schultz and Ika Hügel-Marshall will join for a discussion. 7 euros.

Audre Lorde in Berlin. Image via http://www.lichtblick-kino.org/film/dokumentarfilm/Audre_Lorde

Sound of Feminism:
Wednesday, May 22nd, Thursday, May 23rd, 20:00 – 21:00
Ballhaus Naunynstraße, Naunynstraße 27. Kreuzberg
A musical and performance project exploring empowerment, solidarity, and intersectionality. Part jam session and part dialogue, a group of young post-migrant, queer and BPoC womxn are preparing a night of listening and dancing the house down. Free event.

Queer History Month closing event
Friday, May 24th, 18:00 – 20:00
Aquarium Am Südblock, Skalitzer Straße 6, Kreuzberg
Alles Queer macht der Mai! The official program for Queer History Month wraps up with an evening of talks and performances at Aquarium. Activists and historians are coming together to create visibility and sharestories about their lives and activism from PoC, trans, lesbian, and GDR perspectives. Free. This event is held in German. 

Change is underway in and around an abandoned architectural icon near Alexanderplatz in Berlin. 

The disheveled facades of the Haus der Statistik contrasts with the glowing hustle and bustle of a busy traffic intersection and transit hub. However, a concentrated effort between artists, activists, urban planners, architects, politicians, and cultural organizations will repurpose the complex as “spaces for art, culture, social affairs, affordable housing, and a new town hall for the city center.”

From Offices to Intervention

The Haus der Statistik opened its doors in 1970, originally housing the statistics and planning offices for the East German government. It remained in use by the unified government until 2008 when deteriorating building conditions required the premises to be vacated. Since then, the 50000 square meter complex has sat empty, losing most of its glass windows and acquiring various artistic interventions, namely “STOP WARS” emblazoned in red across the top levels of its eleven-storey facade. In 2015, the complex attracted the attention of investors seeking to purchase and and later demolish it to make room for new development. Meanwhile, artists and activists were paying attention and planning a means of disruption to keep the complex an auspicious space rather than ruins marked for demolition.

On September 16th, 2015, members of the Alliance of Endangered Studio Buildings (AbBA) unfurled a banner over one of the most visible buildings declaring, “A center for art, culture and social projects will be created here.” At that point, AbBA members tendered more of a symbolic gesture than a concrete plan. But their refutation of under-regulated growth and gentrification invited the public to seize control of an otherwise precarious future. The banner kept fluttering in the minds of similarly aligned individuals and organisations long after its single-day appearance. Fuelled by tremendous momentum from artists, grassroots activists, and the Berlin city government, AbBA formed Initiative Haus der Statistik, shortly after their demonstration. The mission of the young organization is to create models of sustainable and democratic urban development in Berlin with the Haus der Statistik as a lab and soon-to-be usable space.

Meeting needs?

Organizing around the initiative continued into 2016 with a series of meetings open to the public. Lennart Siebert, an AbBA member spoke to the Huffington Post last year regarding the early goals of the initiative.  “Part of the concept was: How do we bring all the things being demanded in the city together, and form something in a way where they all create a synergy with each other?” Participants drafted a proposal that included affordable studio spaces, public housing, refugee housing, multi-use spaces, commercial spaces for small local businesses, and a new city hall for the borough of Mitte. Despite the expectations for a monotonous and drawn out process between financial offices of the city and state, the city of Berlin was granted permission to purchase the Haus der Statistik complex in 2017. The sale closed and the project lifted from the drawing board.

I have been following the Haus der Statistik project since sometime early last year. An eye-catcher on my old commute is now a site of alternative civic planning. I find myself chewing on uncomfortable questions like many others in Berlin when I research so-called alternative models in a rapidly gentrifying environment like Berlin. To what extent can projects like Haus der Statistik implement a sustainable future for Berlin residents? Moreover, what has happen to tackle soaring rents, high rates of tenant displacement, and other consequences of gentrification in Berlin? Will organizations of power and capital permit for these changes to happen at all? Rents increased by 46% between 2009 and 2015 and property prices rose by more than 20% in 2017. Artists are also pushed out of formerly affordable workspaces. It is estimated that 8000 artists are in search of affordable work spaces in Berlin. The stories I hear about sudden studio contract terminations and entire buildings sold without warning seem to correspond with the statistics on rent madness routinely making international news. I am interested in what alternatives exist to this trajectory and what kind of work needs to be done to create sustainable living spaces for everybody in Berlin. Will Haus der Statistik offer some wisdom?

The Initiative Today

Initiative Haus der Statistik places the needs of its future residents and current participants at the heart of the planning process. Through a collaborative planning meetings with the Center for Art and Urbanistics – ZK/U, from September of last year until February, anyone interested in providing input could join in at series of planning meetings hosted in a converted bike shop (Werkstatt Haus der Statistik) adjacent to the complex. 

In late February, the initiative announced a comprehensive building plan with ideas combined from the meetings and design from the Teleinternetcafe and Treibhaus, a joint initiative of architects and urban planners involved in the project. This new development creates:

around 66,000 square meters of new construction, 

three courtyards for communal use and meeting,

Residential development with two 15- and 12-storey high-rise buildings,

A 16-storey office tower on Otto-Braun-Straße for the new city hall Mitte,

three “experimental houses” for changing uses, 

Roof gardens and communal terraces

Models of the planned renovations and new construction presented by the planning and architecture collective Teleinternetcafe and Treibhaus Image credit Initiative Haus der Statistikhttps://hausderstatistik.org/2019/02/08/modellfotos-der-entwuerfe/

I look forward to following the next steps of the project, but I’m also apprehensive about the validity of what it promises for those who could benefit the most from the space. While Initiative Haus der Statistik centers the needs of its participants, I have to wonder what was missed and whose voices went unheard in the planning processes so far. Will the initiative take this into account in the future? Although a lack of affordable creative spaces represent one part of a sweeping problem in Berlin, will the new models for shared urban space explored in this project be applicable in other cases across the city? Well, Berlin residents are certainly not waiting until it’s too late to find out!

Currently on display at STATE Studio is a group exhibition, HYDROSPHÄREN, involving a variety of artworks centralized around the differing concepts of water. STATE Studio is a fairly new space that welcomes artists to explore the connections of science, society and art. Participating artists include Gabriele Neugebauer, Stefan Wischnewski, Nathan Kensinger, Christian “Mio” Loclair, and others which can be viewed on the STATE Studio Website.

As a student involved in both environmental studies alongside of photography, it was interesting to see an exhibition that included both areas of science and art as one. Most exhibitions or gallery openings I have attended in the past have never touched upon issues such as water resources or general environmental issues, despite how crucial the discussion of these topics is. I found it very refreshing to see artists aiming to bring awareness to topics such as these for once.

Overall, most of the works are successful in relaying the message of water as a non-renewable resource as well as overall water consumption. On the other hand, some weren’t quite as successful, such as Narciss (2018) created by Christian “Mio” Loclair. There was a wide variety of mediums being used by the artists such as video, installation and virtual reality, each touching upon their own concept related to water or general awareness. Personally, particular pieces are more drawing than others. Specifically work by Nathan Kensinger and Christian “Mio” Loclair.

Nathan Kensinger, Managed Retreat (2018), http://nathankensinger.com/managed-retreat/

A short documentary created by Nathan Kensinger is one work that particularly resonates. In Managed Retreat (2018), Kensinger focuses on three New York City neighborhoods that faced severe effects from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. According to the artist, these neighborhoods dealt with constant flooding as well as rising sea levels ever since Sandy. In this, the state of New York bought the neighborhoods and reverted it to its natural state. Throughout the film, Kensinger shows the dismantling of houses and other buildings as well as general decay from natural disaster. He does this by simply cutting from scene to scene with no dialogue, allowing viewers to become witnesses to this process of nature being restored.

Kensinger’s goal for the film is to show nature slowly returning to areas that were once human inhibited, thus “challenging us to rethink our impact on nature” (STATE Studio, 2019). Pulling from my prior experience in studying environmental science, climate change is also causing sea levels to rise drastically, meaning many coastline cities or towns will be underwater within the next few decades. With this, I was able to understand the importance of what was happening within the film and think about my role within environmental issues. What I worry about is that if someone doesn’t have some minor knowledge in environmental issues currently happening, a viewer may not be able to catch the issue being portrayed within the film. However, Kensinger was able to capture the act of demolition and rehabilitation in a way that will still startle viewers in one way or another.

Pulling from my prior experience in studying environmental science, I am aware climate change is also causing sea levels to rise drastically, meaning many coastline cities or towns will be underwater within the next few decades. With this, I was able to understand the importance of what was happening within the film and think about my place within environmental issues. What I worry about is that if someone doesn’t believe in climate change or simply doesn’t understand environmental issues, they may not be able to catch the issues being portrayed within the film. Managed Retreat (2018) is a film that is mainly accessible to those who already believe or understand issues of climate change. What would happen if a denier watched this film?

Christian “Mio” Loclair, Narciss (2018)

Narciss (2018), an installation created by Christian “Mio” Loclair, is another resonating piece from the exhibition. Much of Loclair’s work deals with the concept of human identity. With his piece Narciss (2018), he aims to create a representation of “…the minimum configuration required to execute algorithms of self-exploration” (STATE Studio, 2019). Loclair worked with both Artificial Intelligence as well as Machine Learning for this installation, just like work shown within his studio Waltz Binaire. With this particular piece, it is able to become aware of its physical presence and be able to relay its thoughts through the front screen for viewers to read.

Although this piece is very drawing, it doesn’t fit in with the theme of water that is present in other works in the exhibition. One way I could possibly see it relating to the rest exhibition is connecting its play on lack of self awareness humans tend to have with exploitation. With lack of awareness, exploitation of resources becomes quite easy and unrecognized, thus creating negative environmental situations like depleting fresh water resources. Although this piece doesn’t directly refer to water, possibly making it unfit for this exhibition, I believe it is still an important topic to touch upon. Realization of your own environmental footprint and willingness to change negative daily habits can only come along with adequate self-awareness. Again, I worry this connection is difficult to grasp for those who don’t fully understand the severity of climate change. Even with my understanding of the topic, it is a still very broad connection I am forming in my head.

Overall, I do recommend checking this exhibition out before it is taken down on June 30th, 2019. Although some of the works don’t seem to quite tie into the theme of water in my eyes, many of them do bring forward key concepts and issues related to water availability and general environmental implications created by human disturbances.

The Black Girl* Magic film series is looking for short film and video submissions by Black womxn* FTLI filmmakers for a screening on June 8th presented by Artists Without A Cause and White Guilt Clean Up and hosted by Frauenkreise Berlin, The resilience and power of creativity in the face of discrimination, injustice, and everyday violence is truly magical. We’re building an evening to celebrate Blackness beyond mainstream tropes and through the lenses of Black womxn*.

What we’re looking for:

Short films and videos by Black womxn* FLTI of any genre exploring themes of creativity, power, resilience, and joy of Black Girl* Magic. We’re looking to fill about 90 minutes of runtime.

For Berlin-Based filmmakers: If you are interested in attending the screening in person and presenting or participating in a discussion about your film, then let us know. We want to create a platform for your voice and your presence would be greatly appreciated. Filmmakers from out of town are welcome to Skype in.

How to submit:

Send your film submissions attached in an email with a short description and artist bio to hello@artistswac.chaoslab.in with the subject Film Submission.  

We’re accepting submissions until May 20th and the screening will take place on June 8th. 

The program will be finalised by May 27th and all submitters will be notified then.

Selected artists will be compensated. 

A monthly selection of art and activism-related events from around EU and the rest of the world. We are also seeking events and programs that are less Anglo-focused. If you would like us to consider featuring something on our blog, please email us at hello@artistswac.chaoslab.in.

 

BERLIN AND EU

 

Evidentiary Realism – A group show curated by Paolo Cirio

NOME, Glogauer Str. 17, Berlin – December 1, 2017

 

Sexual violence in military conflicts – then as now

Wissmannstraße 32, Berlin – December 2, 2017

 

© Bras de Fer Production et Distribution

Screening of the Documentary “Ouvrir La Voix” by Amandine Gay

Hackesche Höfe Kino, Berlin – December 5, 2017

 

Voix juives décoloniales

CICP 21ter Street Voltaire, Paris – December 5, 2017

 

500 years – film and conversation

ACUDkino, Berlin – December 11, 2017

 

Gal-dem – Creating Spaces for Women of Colour Online

Ifa Galerie, Berlin – December 14, 2017

 

Art and Activism, Resilience Techniques in Times of Crisis

Leident University, The Netherlands – December 13-15, 2017

 

AROUND THE WORLD

 

There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack

Autograph ABP, London – December 8, 2017

 

The Working Woman of Color Conference x 8 Ball Community

21 Howard St, New York – December 9-10, 2017

 

Human Rights Day Rally: Bring the Refugees Here

State Library of Victoria, Melbourne – December 10, 2017

 

Diaspora Radicalx: Intergenerational Trauma & Collective Healing
Green Worker Cooperatives, New York – December 10, 2017

 

Women and Liberation Struggles: Palestine and the Global South, Rethinking Revolutionary Histories and Futures

Birzeit University, Palestine – December 11-13, 2017

 

Abolition in Practice: Beyond the Culture of Complaint

SOAS University of London, London – December 14, 2017

 

Demo #ShutDownMortonHall

Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre, Lincoln – January 20, 2018

 

Black Quantum Futurism: Moor Mother and Rasheedah Phillips

The SUBSTATION, Melbourne – January 26, 2017

 

 

A monthly selection of art and activism-related events from around EU and the rest of the world. We are also seeking events and programs that are less Anglo-focused. If you would like us to consider featuring something on our blog, please email us at hello@artistswac.chaoslab.in.

 

BERLIN AND EU

 

Women’s Bodies as Battlefield – Filmmonat über die “Trostfrauen”

Unter den Linden 6, Berlin – November 1-29, 2017

 

© Clarita PB

Republik Repair

Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Berlin – November 6, 2017

 

Archives As Activism: Sankofa Brd / Sankofa GDR

Ballhaus Naunynstrasse, Berlin – November 9, 2017

 

Festival Visions d’exil

Palais de la Porte Dorée, Paris – November 10, 2017

 

Creole Musikfilm-Fest goes Afrofusion

Werkstatt Der Kulturen, Berlin – November 11, 2017

 

We Make Waves Festival + Conference

Villa Elisabeth & Acud, Berlin – November 9-12, 2017

 

Buchmesse Queeres Verlegen #3

Südblock, Berlin – November 18, 2017

 

Les Afro-Belges décolonisent les musées royaux

Pianofabriek Citylab, Brussels – November 18, 2017

 

Art and Activism, Resilience Techniques in Times of Crisis

Leident University, The Netherlands – December 13-15, 2017

 

AROUND THE WORLD

 

Marcha: Justicia por Santiago

Plaza de Mayo, Argentina – November 1, 2017

 

Is Dissent Necessary?

India International Centre, New Dehli – November 4, 2017

 

National Demo: Justice Now – Make it right for Palestine

Grosvenor Square, London – November 4, 2017

 

The Museum Before the Museum: A talk by Lara Khaldi

Harvard Graduate School of Design, Cambridge – November 6, 2017

 

Role of Universities in Responding to the Refugee Crisis

The American University of Beirut, Lebanon – November 6-7, 2017

 

The Hidden History of Africa Before the Slave Trade

St Ann’s Library, London – November 9, 2017

 

Hidden Histories – Black Day, Sun Rises, Blood Runs

Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, Melbourne – November 11, 2017

 

Open Call: Participation in Qalandiya International

Palestine – November 15, 2017

 

Remembering Akai Gurley

Brooklyn, New York – November 20, 2017

 

Rethinking Pacifism for Revolution, Security, and Politics

University of Otago, New Zealand – November 22-24, 2017

 

London Migration Film Festival 2017

London, November 30-December 5, 2017

 

Women and Liberation Struggles: Palestine and the Global South, Rethinking Revolutionary Histories and Futures

Birzeit University, Palestine – December 11-13, 2017

 

Black Quantum Futurism: Moor Mother and Rasheedah Phillips

The SUBSTATION, Melbourne – January 26, 2017