Auszeichnung
künstlerischer Projekträume
und -initiativen

Art Laboratory Berlin e. V.

2006
Prinzenallee
34
Berlin
13359

Erich Berger & Mari Keto, Inheritance, 2019, Foto: Tim Deussen

Špela Petrič, Phytoteratology, 2020, Foto: Tim Deussen

The commercialization of the contemporary art scene in the last decade has created alienation and dissociation from the audience. The social filters at the established exhibition spaces, the sterilization of methods of presentation, and over-professionalism have created an image and perception of inaccessibility. In that respect, project spaces and art initiatives that resist these dynamics and strive for keeping direct social contact maintain the political potential of artistic practice. We don’t promote the conventional star system in selecting the artists we are collaborating with; we don’t pursue a hierarchical method by employing an omnipotent curator; we value the critical content and formal experimentalism of the artworks rather than the conditions of their presentation, and we don’t sell any artworks in our space; we don’t invest our energy in commercial speculation. We put an emphasis on the collective and on the social. We keep contact with our immediate neighborhood (in Neukölln), and we prioritize the knowledge about and the cultural accumulation of a particular geography. Hence, we engage in a counter-position against the dominant dynamics that have shaped the field of the contemporary art scene in the last decade. The pandemic condition has also been a drastic element that forced actors in the field to reconsider methods of presentation and social contact.For many decades Berlin has developed a lively, diverse, and independent way of producing culture and counteracting government decisions, based on, local, generous, and enthusiastic, but also worried, social communities that exchanged resources and ideas ­within a larger political debate. The city became a “natural” shelter and ­fertile environment for dissidents, artists, political refugees, and immigrants with any background also due to the need to overcome a traumatic past full of human generated atrocities that are still present in people memories and behaviour.The art scene, spaces, artists, and initiators in the past ten years (being a continuum of what has gone before) in a nutshell, can be seen to have changed from individual authorships to more collective ones. They act in opposition to the anonymized corporate structures, in particular the giant housing conglomerates (these destructive collective edifices that have the same legal rights as a sentient individual human being) that threaten to dissemble the unique fabric of the city of Berlin that provided a fertile ground in which these initiatives could rise, connect, and thrive. So the project room scene provides a positive counter-weight to these destructive development processes as a living, breathing, collaborative, and inclusive network. I hope that this fabulous project room network does not drown in the indifference of mainstream political thinking in the city of Berlin.