Stories and Contemporary Art in Berlin

Tandem Ukraine Academy participant Olena Kasperovych visited Berlin together with Polina Vietrova. In this photo essay, she takes us with her on a tour of art galleries and museum across the city.

ZK/U “Three Stories in Berlin”

“Three Stories in Berlin” is a performance event which took place in ZK/U – Center for Art and Urbanism.

It was an accessible and deep work. Each of the three performers/ speakers were very open. The event started with interactive activities for the visitors which made for a friendly atmosphere, and you could feel the space as yours. Every performer’s talk was about a neighbourhood in Berlin and offered very personal life accounts, all were newcomers to Berlin at some point in their lives. I found it was a perfect combination between narrative, performing art and urban research.

About the project
Urban storytelling and artistic re-mapping.
Hear three Berlin chroniclers recount distinct—yet linked—narratives of life in shared urban spaces. More than just passive listeners, participants will have the opportunity to physically map out what they hear, as well as connect with their own experiences.

Performers: “Angles: Berlin” is a Berlin-based narrative arts project that seeks to build bridges between communities by creatively documenting the many ways life is lived in the city today. Its core project is the Angles collective, which brings together artists, writers, filmmakers, photographers, and other creatives of diverse backgrounds to artistically tell stories about the people and places that make Berlin.

Transmediale and CTM festivals

We were lucky to catch one of the most dynamic festivals on digital contemporary art in Berlin. Concerts, exhibitions, discussions and workshops were all there. My personal choice fell on the visual art, therefore I visited Bethanien Creative Quarter (one of the festival venues) and had a chance to see the wonderful exhibition “Persisting realities”: “At once bound by tradition, yet in pursuit of progress, our society tasks us with the Sisyphean chore of moving ahead while searching for stable positions and meanings. These are the persisting realities we live in.” It was a mixed media exhibition presented in changing rooms, with many objects which were interactive and confusing, as they were intended to be.

The installation that really stuck with me was located at the Neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst: Raster.Labor, an installation project by Raster.Media. “Raster.Labor explores “artistic processes, and how they diverge and develop from the same starting point or set of conditions. Five tables with minimal Eurorack setups and a handful of studio monitors form the basis of the piece. The analogue hardware generates and manipulates control voltages, forming a framework in which the artists can complete, connect, and interact with the modules. As the setup does not contain any sound producing components, participating artists will select sound sources themselves, which could range from minuscule to gargantuan sonic objects. They may choose to mechanically generate sound, or to integrate microphones and amplify sound”.

I am really interested in working more with sound art installations back in Ukraine, it is something that I would like to explore further especially in Kharkiv. It might be the start for international collaborations in its best way.

The Berlinische Galerie: arts needs good friends

The Berlinische Galerie is one of the newest museums in the German capital and collects art from Berlin dating from 1870 to the present day – with both a local and international focus. When I visited, besides its permanent collection the museum presented the exhibition of Julian Charrière AS WE USED TO FLOAT. What attracts me a lot in such institutions is their work and talent for fundraising in terms of sponsorship, tactful, always relevant and weighty. It might not suit my organisation which is smaller and has a different status, yet, there are many things to learn and admire. Not to mention the collection of the museum, which is truly the treasure of modern visual history.

Bundestag and contemporary arts

My expectations about the Bundestag were that it is something solid, obligatory, stately and a “must see”. My impressions exceeded everything I could expect. And not only for the importance of the place but of people working in the Museum part, their dedication, genius architectural decisions and simple but so smart guided tour that makes you feel individual even in such a gigantic space. Another small but open-the-borders-thing was in the very end of our walk there. It is a book about architecture and contemporary artworks in the Bundestag. For me, as a contemporary art curator, and a resident of the city where the city council did not even answer to the invitation to host Manifesta biennial last year, it was very inspiring to see.

Talk to Haus der Wannseekonferenz

Last but not least, an important part of our visit was to Haus der Wannseekonferenz, where Polina, Nata and I later talked, sharing stories from our families, school education and perception of the historical events.