Article by Alena Sokhan in Berlin; Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014
In the industrial zone by Tempelhofer Park, a converted former malt brewing factory called the Malzfabrik serves as the hive of The Forgotten Pioneer Movement, which produces an assemblage of talks, lectures, events, workshops, and exhibitions. The Forgotten Pioneer Movement evokes a fictional collective of people that grew up during the collapse of the Soviet Union and considers the implications of a generation that experienced firsthand the confusing instability and the productive formlessness of the social and political fabric.
Set #A of The Forgotten Pioneer Movement began on Oct. 2nd with a strong, well choreographed performance by bankleer on the Spreetreppen behind the Paul-Löbe-Haus. Set #A is one of the three subcategories of the exhibition, a series of performances and events that open spaces of historical discontinuity and explore means of expression for the new and unanticipated. Bankleer staged a slap-stick comedy and political encounter using grossly oversized, monumentalized, mobile fragments of important political and economic figures – the President of the European Central Bank, Marion Draghi, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – along with a stereotypical archetype of the rebel reduced to a pair of hands and a loudspeaker. As meaningful as they were amusing, the statuesque figures embodied and performed the logic of democratic market economy with disembodied voices singing, shouting, proclaiming, pleading and arguing on the banks of the Spree. The next performances of this series will be held in late October and throughout November in various parts of the city.
All the events in The Forgotten Pioneer Movement have a different structure and involve the attendants in various ways, through post-lecture discussion or direct participation. For instance, ‘Vinagi Gotov! Always Ready!’ was a workshop held by Snejana Krasteva and Peter Tzanev, in which participants followed instructions to draw certain forms on a photograph. The results were then used as models for an inquiry into impulses and fears around an encounter with a photographic image. The workshop was thoughtful and fluid, with the conversation between participants quickly becoming creative, informal, and easy.
In another workshop, ‘Soviet Kitchen Table Workshop’, participants were taught to prepare and present an East European feast, following a tradition that survived the political transformations. This workshop explored how food and hospitality suspends the distinction between private and public, using domestic labour to build a communal space of sharing.
The performances of this series have a particular tone that is both serious and playful, engaging the creative with the political and the economic with the expressive in masterfully staged works. The next workshop will be held on Oct. 25 at 4pm, with a performance by Kasia Fudakowski, who shows a sharp sense of humour with the title, ‘Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but Real Estate Always Appreciates’. The performance will present an encounter between real estate speculators and a determined gang of children, in a remote corner of Südkreuz.