künstlerischer Projekträume
und -initiativen
Ashley started out as a self-funded project. This allowed presenting art in a self-determined way, especially by working artists not part of the commercial art market but also those flying under the radar of larger public institutions. Of course, this model also brought up the question of sustainability. In the last few years, with rising rents and spaces closing down, this question has become more and more pressing for everyone on the free scene. Winning the project space prize in 2018 was a pivotal moment for Ashley, particularly because beyond recognizing the work done by independently-run spaces, the prize money could be spread over several years to keep our program running. However, a prize also follows the logic of exceptionality which puts a lot of pressure on project spaces to ‘perform’. Hence, the structural funding program by the Senate significantly changed the conditions of our work because by ­confronting us with the administrative work inherent in public funding, we evolved our own internal structure to accommodate longer-term planning while still maintaining the flexibility needed to track the subtle changes in the art communities around us. Before this program, going from project to project rather than planning two years ahead, it was difficult to apply for project funding due to the fact that application deadlines are often one year in advance and therefore difficult to meet if you are not a publicly-funded institution or commercial project with the resources to plan several months or even a year ahead. So this program does help a lot to allow project spaces to stake a claim on public art funding. At the same time, with the structural funding approved on a two-year basis, it remains unclear how this mode of operating will last a few years, or even one year into the future.Die Gründung des Netzwerks hat unsere Arbeit verändert: Es gibt eine Website, einen Kalender und eine E-Mail-Liste, die die Zusammenarbeit und den Austausch von Informationen erleichtern. Es ist von größter Bedeutung, einen Gesprächspartner zu haben, der in unserem Namen sprechen kann, der den Dialog mit den Politiker*innen aufrechterhält, der den zukünftigen Bedarf an Förderung und Räumen plant sowie neue Projektraummacher*innen und -initiativen begrüßt. Das ­Ideal wäre, die richtige Balance zwischen Flexibilität und Autorität zu finden, die Vielfalt, die Ziele und die Bedürfnisse aller zu respektieren und auf die Idee zu verzichten, starre und standardisierte Verhaltensregeln zu diktieren, auch wenn sie demokratisch beschlossen werden.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.