künstlerischer Projekträume
und -initiativen
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 Network is a fundamental organization in the artistic landscape of Berlin. Without the Network, many of the support structures that have been built in recent years simply would not exist. Unionizing has always been problematic in a sector like the art sphere where the construction of the worker has been historically based on the idea of the author, and therefore the ego. In order to achieve change, cooperative models like the Network are a must. The challenge is how to create belonging from difference.The city has become more expensive overall and therefore there is less free space – there are less “Freiräume”. Our definition has not changed as a project space. The concept of an ideal space is completely dependent on what the organizers/artists/curators are interested in doing. In our opinion, there isn’t ONE type of space that is ideal which is actually what is so wonderful about project spaces in general – they are diverse, and completely different. It seems that because of the lack of spaces and the increased rents, more project spaces have turned towards commercial models. But since funding has become more commonplace in the scene, meaning it’s more common to pay artists who are involved in shows, performances, readings, events, etc. at project spaces, this has put more pressure on spaces in general to have to secure financing. We would argue that since funding has become more readily available, the structures have begun to change. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword. It’s wonderful to receive funding and be able to support artists, and as a result, the scene has become much more professional. But at the same time, it is harder in some ways to do projects more spontaneously and in an improvised fashion. This, as a result, has changed the (power) dynamics between the artists and the project space organizers, as very often the organizers are NOT funded but the artists participating in the projects are. This creates a rather awkward dynamic and as organizers ourselves, it’s frustrating for us to not be paid for our efforts and contributions to the “Freie Szene”.