It’s hard to look back on the last ten years and not get distracted by Co-Vid and the massive interruption that has caused in all aspects of life. But generally, Berlin is getting more expensive, no news there: There are less store fronts perhaps to rent for a project space than there used to be. Facebook is no longer used as an announcement tool. Do young people still flock to Berlin?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.The word “project space” is almost misleading to me. Projects do not have to take place in spaces. Radio shows, Instagram takeovers, and outdoor screenings are also projects. To focus on the aspect of space itself is to take a narrow view of what could – and is – happening in Berlin at the moment.
The ideal project space would come with a budget for production and overhead costs. Ideally, also the curators ought to get paid.