It always feels quite special when an institution catches the zeitgeist of a moment. Project spaces have a lot more freedom in this sense, and they can truly, sincerely, reflect a moment or a movement as it is happening. They are essential to a critically active arts scene. Perhaps the orientation of project spaces has been forced to shift towards something more self-sustainable – but that might not be a bad thing.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.Funding and access to funding is a key element in sustaining project spaces. There are many funding tools that project spaces can use to cover the costs of labor, materials, and rent. But the options are competitive and usually involve a lot of effort and paperwork. In our opinion, there needs to be a change in the funding system that includes simplifying the application process and shortening the waiting time between submission and announcement of the result. Only like this can the project space keep the momentum and focus on artistic and curatorial projects.