September 11, 2014
Brigid Pasco

AWAC at OKFest: A Festival Within A Festival


The 2014 Open Knowledge Festival has ended, and AWAC is happy to report that our workshops and events were a great success! From political speech karaoke to participatory, crowd-sourced graffiti and hip-hop message building, from creative data analysis and finding art in numbers to brainstorming attention-grabbing pranks for important causes, our events got festival participants moving, talking, singing, painting, laughing, and making connections.


We were impressed by OKFest participants’ willingness to jump right in and take part in our workshops in an in-depth way – it was interesting to see, for example, people taking Peng! Collective’s tactics and running with them to devise their own subversive acts, such as creating a fake campaign glorifying poverty and homelessness in South Africa to draw attention to the issue. Likewise, seeing workshoppers learning how to distill their various complex ideas into a spray tag or song lyric with in the Juliani/Valsero and Spray Uzi sessions was inspiring. Politaoke got people thinking (and laughing) about the premise behind political speech making, and Josh and Ingrid showed that data cannot tell a story on its own – it is the responsibility of the individual to pull out the stories hiding in sets of information.


In addition to our scheduled roster of OKFest events, we facilitated outreach projects within the Berlin arts community, including a collaborative graffiti wall at the Youth Center in Tempelhofer Feld with Kenyan Spray Uzi Crew and the German crew Ghetto Pimps, and a guest appearance of Juliani and Valsero at The SWAG’s weekly hip hop jam night at Badehaus. It was exciting to see our artists forging connections with their peers in Berlin, and the work that came out of this meeting of the minds speaks for itself – check out Bankslave’s contribution to the wall that Spray Uzi and Ghetto Pimps created together:


Many, many special thanks to Sasha Kinney, Jean Brice, Jens Nikolas, Morana Miljanovich, Kaustubh Srikanth, Making All Voices Count, Open Knowledge Foundation,, CLUB Berlin, the SWAG, Ghetto Pimps, Noisy Store, Graffiti Box Shop Berlin, and all our amazing invited artists. None of this would have been possible without their generous support and contributions.

We are proud of our artists and all they were able to accomplish in such a short time. Thanks to them, AWAC’s first major project can officially be declared a success!