by Olivia Ladanyi // May 25, 2023
Berlin’s Project Space Festival is returning for the seventh time with its month-long program, providing a comprehensive insight into the city’s artistic and community-led project spaces. Setting out with the claim that “the only legitimate institution is a community of spaces,” Project Space Festival 2023 will present 30 projects and events across the 30 days of June. Each project space has 24 hours to realise an event, presenting an ever-shifting program. Participating spaces include BETON, Changing Room, Cultural Workers Studio, GUTS, Scherben, Soft Power, Spoiler, Super Bien! and Xanadu, among others.
According to the grassroots organisation, Berlin is a city of many “non-institutional” project spaces that enable new models of action through their curatorial work. By declaring a decentralised community of spaces, the festival aims to shift perspective away from the viewing of cultural spaces as isolated entities. As well as creating visibility for the programming of Berlin’s project spaces, Project Space Festival is committed to the fair distribution of resources within the visual arts.
Kick-starting the festival on June 1st is the Cultural Workers’ Studio, presenting an accommodation, work and exhibition space managed by cultural workers from Ukraine. The self-organised project, titled ‘How to be a Studio,’ protects the integrity and privacy of the group and offers a platform for exchange. On day three, TROPEZ will present their project at the Humboldthain swimming pool. The collective has operated out of the outdoor pool kiosk since 2017. During the first week of the festival, the Scherben project space will present Onur Gökmen’s first solo exhibition alongside a film program at a special location on Leipziger Straße. Against the backdrop of the area’s regeneration and recent events in Turkey, Gökmen was invited to develop a site-specific installation, exploring the sustainable future of residential urban space. The Soft Power art space, housed in the former Sarotti factory in Berlin-Tempelhof (allocated as part of the Berlin workspace program) presents projects that deal with colonialism, community and history. On day 10, Soft Power’s ‘Plural Perspectives’ will reveal contemporary dynamics and multiple perspectives on physical structures, which, similar to the Sarotti factory, carry symbolic meaning in the city.
On day 20, Cittipunkt—a project space founded in 2022 with the help of the Berlin workspace program—is organising a screening of two films that deal with the theme of refusal in relation to work and productivity, critically reflecting on the working conditions in our society. Also in the festival’s third week, students from Berlin universities will collaborate with the Kleine Humboldt Galerie to realise projects in historical locations, mostly hidden from the public, inside and outside the Humboldt University. Artist Selin Davasse will show a site-specific performance in the historic teaching building for veterinary medicine, the Tieranatomisches Theater. In her performance, Davasse will translate her research from various disciplines into text, performance and sound, interweaving theory, history and fiction into a feminist narrative. Project space Scharaun, located in the 1930s Siemens workers’ housing complex designed by architect Hans Scharoun, gives visitors the rare opportunity to see one of Scharoun’s housing estates in its original condition. On day 24, Studio Stadt will respond to this context by interweaving sound and artistic practices in relation to the industrialisation, automation and digitisation of the modern world.
The fourth and final week of the festival will include two events by project spaces that focus on video art and the moving image. Artistic-curatorial collective anorak, together with Berlin-based artist Cammisa Buerhaus, will develop the performance and screening ‘If You Please,’ which deals with the transgressive potential of queer desire in the context of current identity-political debates. Project Space Festival 2023 will wrap up with Xanadu’s continuation of the Micro Cinema Festival, which was showcased during last year’s program. This event hones in on artistic initiatives that work with moving images, offering this community within the project space scene its own platform.
With a new event taking place each day in unconventional spaces, from swimming pool kiosks to former factories and car dealerships, this year’s Project Space Festival promises to push the usual boundaries of art viewing into new territory.
Project Space Festival
Festival: June 1–30, 2023