Journal der Künste 15 (EN)

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Bernd J. Wieczorek

Raed Yassin

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Johannes Odenthal P. 3  PANDEMIC AND SOCIETY

THE BLACK WARD Maurice Weiss P. 7

Siegfried Zielinski

THE HOLLOW SPACE Jeanine Meerapfel


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Kathrin Röggla P. 14



Sibylle Hoiman



Andres Veiel in conversation with Johannes Odenthal

Candice Breitz

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UNTITLED Sebastian Wells



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Matthias Sauerbruch


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Werner Heegewaldt


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Christine Hentschel

Kathrin Röggla

Anneka Metzger


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Gabriele Radecke


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Njoki Ngumi and Jim Chuchu P. 28 KUNSTWELTEN



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Katalin Madácsi-Laube

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In recent months, it has become increasingly difficult to affirm series of events, the Academy is taking its 325th anniversary as the fundamental importance of art and culture for social and polit- an opportunity to reappraise its own role as a memory store. For ical life. But without the three functions of the arts – democracy, how and what a society remembers has become critical at a time enlightenment, and healing – there will be no future, says ­K ATHRIN when self-conceptions are being renegotiated and mechanisms of ­ ÖGGLA in her reflections on the current situation. JEANINE inclusion and exclusion are being questioned, as LINA BRION puts R ­M EERAPFE L, President of the Akademie der Künste, stresses that it in her introduction to the second theme of this issue. MATTHIAS art, culture, and education must become the priority of all political ­S AUERBRUCH addresses these topics with reflections on the programmes seeking to lead us out of society’s pandemic mode. preservation of historical monuments; JULIA GERLACH introduces Unfortunately, this is anything but self-evident. However, a s­ ociety the protagonists of the festival “Memories in Music”; NJOKI NGUMI that has no public spaces for social and intellectual learning will and JIM CHUCHU , curators of the conference “Unexpected have no future as a democracy. ­Lessons”, question the interpretive sovereignty of the Global In memorable black-and-white images, the photographer North in connection with the restitution of cultural assets. In her MAURICE WEISS lent powerful expression to the exceptional sit- Carte Blanche, the visual artist CANDICE BREITZ recalls the great uation in hospitals right at the beginning of the pandemic at the storyteller Scheherazade and stages a monumental memoriam to end of March 2020, while SEBASTIAN WELLS documented the the disappearing world of VHS tapes, which will be shown for the anti-lockdown demonstrations at the Brandenburg Gate in autumn first time in its totality in the exhibition “Arbeit am Gedächtnis – 2020. In her research on the anti-lockdown protests, the criminol- Transforming Archives”. ogist CHRISTINE HENTSCHEL describes the full extent of the hisThis year, the architect Werner Düttmann, to whom the Acadtorical confusion, culminating above all in irresponsible and dan- emy owes not only its unique building on Hanseatenweg, would gerous attempts to equate present measures with such crimes have celebrated his 100th birthday. The former Academy President against humanity as slavery and the Shoah. is commemorated by a rediscovered, self-compiled pictorial hisThe role that cultural institutions and art can play is the tory of his buildings in Berlin. To mark the 150th anniversary of subject of ANDRES VEIEL’S conversation about his film Ökozid, in Heinrich Mann’s birth, the archive is dedicating a large-scale digwhich he criticises the catastrophic mistakes made by leading eco- itisation project to the globally scattered literary estates of the nomic nations like Germany in the present from the vantage point exiled author, who, like many others, was forced to leave the Akadof the year 2034. This is an attempt to communicate scientific emie der Künste under National Socialism. WERNER HEEGEWALDT research findings to the public through artistic narratives and thus introduces the project of digital calendar pages referring to lend them weight. Cultural institutions will play a decisive role here 325 years of Academy history. And archivist KATALIN MADÁCSI-­ going forward – as platforms for exchange and the communica- LAUBE recalls the importance of European dialogue, taking the extion of knowledge to society. This is precisely the idea that media ample of the great Hungarian authors Péter Nádas, Péter Esterházy, archaeologist SIEGFRIED ZIELINSKI takes up in his essay on the Imre Kertész, and György Konrád, who wrote Academy history. museum of the future. In the spirit of Ernst Bloch, he is concerned We are putting all of our efforts into current and future exhiwith “forward dreaming”. In this context, cultural institutions and bitions and events and will maintain them – be they digital, hybrid, archives will become the “surprise generators” of the future. or analogue in space – as platforms for exchange and critical debate. The Akademie der Künste’s 2021 thematic programme entitled “Arbeit am Gedächtnis / Transforming Archives” responds to these Johannes Odenthal challenges. In a large exhibition of commissioned work and in a Programme director of the Akademie der Künste







Jeanine Meerapfel

A hollow space has been created by the offhand use of the word Systemrelevanz (system relevance – used in German in reference to essential services): We have to ask ourselves, what system are we talking about? A system designed to send stock prices skyrocketing on Wall Street during a pandemic? A system that makes Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, or Elon Musk progressively richer? Or a system that is there for the people? At the moment, only doctors, nurses, supermarket cashiers, and bus drivers are essential – at least if we are talking about the systems of a society that is merely surviving – which is no small thing… (I have great respect for the work that is being done in these areas, and I consider it unfair that these professions, in the truest sense of the word, have had to work excessively for months to ensure our survival.) …but survival alone is not enough. Brecht was not wrong when he said: “Food comes first and then morality.” But what is a life based on the first alone? Unfortunately, this term Systemrelevanz is ambiguous and misleading. During the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has had a steep, albeit dubious, career. But how resilient can a term from the financial sector be – a term that initially referred to the structural significance of indi­ vidual major banks – when it is applied to macrosocial processes? During the pandemic shutdown in spring 2020, the federal and state governments were quick to define which areas of society are systemrelevant (essential). A list dated 30 March 2020 can be found on the website of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. Art and cultural institutions are not listed. The dilemma is understandable: The rapid spread of the virus had to be stopped. But at what cost? What is the price?


In one fell swoop, entire areas of society were hierarchised according to this criterion, subsequently leading to a competition for ­recognition. If systemrelevant means that work can continue and one can keep participating in social life, then the groups excluded from it also wanted to claim this label for themselves – the call for attention has also become increasingly louder on the art and cultural scenes. The independent art scene was one of the main victims of restrictions in the spring, and again in autumn/winter. The already precarious working conditions within these spheres got worse, and, from one day to the next, freelance artists of all ­genres could no longer work. They – and therefore us too, the members of the Akademie der Künste – demanded to be seen and respected, not just in the form of financial support, but also in the form of public opportunities to perform. The use of the term Systemrelevanz is highly unsuitable here. Because the inverse conclusion gives rise to a latent suspicion that there are social areas that are irrelevant to our society. And in this regard, the term is a disaster. It led to society being separated – once again. At the end of October, Christoph Markschies, President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences (BBAW), spoke to legal scholar Christoph Möllers and me during the first discussion organised by the BBAW about what services are essential during the ­crisis. At the outset, he asked whether Systemrelevanz was not the misnomer of the year; the term Gutmenschen (do-gooders) spontaneously came to my mind, which also enjoyed a highly problematic and widespread popularity a few years ago. Sure, the world will not stop turning if we do not see pictures in situ for a few weeks, do not experience music, performances, or films together. But in the long run, lacking the public discourse at these events, lacking collective aesthetic experiences, opportunities to participate in cultural events will damage our living society and our democratic coexistence. More is required for social life to function: Solidarity, empathy, and community must be practised. There are still plenty of films and books to expand one’s horizons at home. But what if new films stop being produced? When will we notice what we are missing? “Can the performing arts even be forgotten in long-term lockdown?” a member of the Academy asked with concern during the General Assembly. In François Truffaut’s dystopian science fiction film Fahrenheit 451 (1966, based on Ray Bradbury’s novel of the same name), people begin to memorise books to save them from disappearing. But what if we can no longer memorise or remember the arts, the plays, the concerts, because they were never performed in the first place? Should we get by with just the past? And how can we reflect current experiences as we work from home, alone? On the opening evening of the European Alliance of Academies in early October, A. L. Kennedy sent us an image from her home office of how we might one day step out of our houses and meet up again. In her poem, she also speaks of Brexit, of painful separation, of what we all have to relearn:


“One morning in my country we will leave our homes On that morning we will be unmasked and in safe air. That first day, those first days We will rush. I think we will rush We will hug even strangers We will hold hands We will stand body to body Breath to breath With whoever we have left. We understand the lives of others best by touching them. The lack of this has made a hollow space in us…” It is a difficult balancing act to discern the extent to which, and in what areas, social contact should be limited in order to contain coronavirus. And it is clear that, despite best intentions, injustices will continue to be unavoidable. And yet, I have the hope that we can do better in the future. One thing must be noted: In times of an increasingly polarised society, art and culture are essential to our social cohesion. They must therefore play a key role in all strategic and structural considerations, just like education. It is necessary to preserve the diversity of a society in order to overcome crises and resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner. Over the past year, concepts for outstanding hygiene measures have been developed at great effort by the various cultural institutions – museums, theatres, concert halls, and cinemas, among other places. This should be taken into consideration when weighing up future pandemic countermeasures. Because of this closure, the abandonment of artistic exchange, this inability to experience art together, social and cultural damage is being caused to an extent that is almost impossible to predict. We need the arts, they are the memory of humanity, the present and future in which we live together. We have to overcome this “hollow space”, this void that has arisen around us and in the midst of us. We will have to fill in all that we are missing while our cultural institutions are closed, with “food for the soul”, with poems, with musical evenings, with theatre performances, readings, cinema experiences… with all that we are lacking today. And soon, we will also be able to throw our arms around each other again…

JEANINE MEERAPFEL, a filmmaker, is president of the Akademie der Künste.



Kathrin Röggla

How do you organise transporting a nurse who has coronavirus back to Poland? She has to free up her room for a healthy nurse, otherwise the bedridden elderly lady in the early stages of dementia, for whom there is no room at the nursing home, will have nobody to take care of her. No one knows whether the elderly lady herself has coronavirus. There is no testing where she lives. No doctor would come into her house. Who can take care of her? This question concerns me as I try to explain art to the dead hare. I am having even less success than Joseph Beuys in his 1965 performance, How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare. It doesn’t work because one has nothing to do with the other. So many things that are adjacent to each other have nothing to do with each other right now. Single parents who have no idea how they will ever get their kids away from screens again, kids who are going more and more bananas. Along with unemployed people who have no idea how they are going to pay the rent, self-employed micro-entrepreneurs who are left waiting for aid that was promised but has not materialised. The actual payout never comes. Bureaucracy that makes you helpless, along with so-called zombie entrepreneurs, who make their living from precisely that. Queuing and being put endlessly on hold, a lack of appointments, not just for vaccinations but also for elective surgery, psychotherapy slots. Along with reports of overcrowded hospitals and mutations and tens of thousands of new graves in Brazil. And I, I am explaining art to the dead hare. No. I am just sitting here. Post-Beuys, so to speak, and the hare is quite dead, lost amidst the news of all this excess mortality, and no gold dust in sight. And I am no longer explaining art to him but rather the lack of art. In December, I noted down, “What are we in fact talking about here? Art has three essential functions: democracy,

enlightenment, healing. It safeguards the vision, it safeguards the argument, it safeguards the healing.” No, nonsense, I corrected myself even back then: it does not safeguard. But I was already in full flow, wanting to explain that without art we would be in serious trouble, socially, societally, and as a democracy. I don’t usually talk about “art”, because it must at least be plural, I say to myself today, but I had suddenly lost the plural in the urgency of my own mission, as can quickly happen. My mission, which was to enter the sensitive debate about “essential services” and to continue using the worn-out words of the lobbyists, because I had to represent the cause of the arts. Loud and clear. We should, in fact, rebel against museums being closed when shopping malls are open. We should raise awareness of the malaise of theatres and independent groups. That was in early December. Since then, several weeks have passed. Now, in January, we are “somewhere else”, and every day I dream of – well – mass scenes. Actually being in a public space. Crowded medical practices, crowds at amusement parks, on the street, in transit spaces. It is never the cinema, never the theatre, not even the exhibition space, perhaps because these dreams are never about attentiveness, never about that joint perception, or the shared process of hearing and seeing – not the place of possibilities which, as we know, can appear anywhere. And therefore not about the space of public debate, which we access differently through art. Because explosive societal questions cannot be addressed in the digital space alone, which at the moment is characterised more by live time sequences, by a furore of topicality that excludes real present-day existence, in which the future is not merely an extension of the current state. Form is memory, as we know; artistic creation can accordingly be described as a storage process, as the storage of a fragile and yet very powerful substance, which I would like to cautiously describe using the term “examination”. The physicality of aesthetic processes creates a living memory that soaks up experience and translates it into the present. Making it possible to learn to coexist, to incorporate other perspectives, to endure them. Without this, we would no longer have a substantive dialogue that is capable of continuing – you see, I am back to the hare again. The arts are never just in the now but are always a connecting organ between times, I say, only to interrupt myself suddenly: it is about life and death. I suddenly explain to the poor animal why art must be suspended: life is the only argument at this point. There is hardly room for anything else. From this perspective, how can we still protest and demand re-openings? A collapse can also be seen in other areas. We just have to stop for a while, that is what we need to do right now, I continue to explain. Meanwhile I am whispering, have become hoarse. One does not speak about life and death at full volume, at least as long as it can be avoided. But what I actually wanted to do was to raise my voice. For real support for artists, their institutions and associations, their spaces and their reception. They say that is all happening already, but is that really true? We received so many messages at the Academy over the last year that told a different story, from the situation of trainees (e.g. dancers) to older artists, who, n­ eedless to say, do not stop working at 67, are no longer eligible for most


funding, and are usually without sufficient pension provisions. Not to mention the grants that never come. How many cinemas and theatres will survive? Is it really just the “big guns”? And what about the clubs and small, niche locations? It is not easy to show how they are essential, as is required by the political structure. The lack of theatre, dance, cinema, performance, exhibitions, installations, concert halls, and clubs does not constitute a single empty space in society, although this is often how it is presented. It is like smouldering fires in a mine, where there is a fire underground that can no longer be controlled and suddenly appears in completely different places, which cannot be anticipated or fully extinguished. And sometimes it can also become a conflagration. It’s also not a luxury problem. And that brings us to a crucial point. Why is it seen as such? Is art the context that most clearly shows how this society is falling apart? Why do we no longer trust artistic forms of expression to create the conversation they are supposed to create, the argument? Is art no longer the utopian force we all need to orient ourselves, the surprise that things can be done differently? The forms will have to change, that much is clear, and with them the arts. And this is really not about the digitalisation of the arts, their expression in a manner that is supposedly able to survive the pandemic, but about their societal imagination. We don’t know at present where we are going to end up. This future cannot be prepared for as we, at least the global North, thought, that is, by expecting the future to be an extension of the present. And that is a painful realisation. It is an exercise in presentness that really does expect the worst, or in other words, has been given an answer. Whether from the future or the past is uncertain, and perhaps not really that important. However, we must not let the hare go. It is a long time since he kept still. The question is how to keep him close to us. Right now, we can only practise what we are going to do, we have only the small conversations, the limited gestures, calling from a distance, if we have time and strength for any of this. Perhaps actions of solidarity across an expanded field of the arts would be a step forward. Then we might be there when the hare suddenly listens.

KATHRIN RÖGGLA, a writer (prose, radio plays, theatre plays). She has been a member of the Literature Section of the Akademie der Künste since 2012 and vice president of the Academy since 2015.


The black ward: “At the end of March 2020, the reporter Jonathan Stock and I were commissioned by the magazine Der Spiegel to cover the setting-up of a Covid-19 ward at the Ernst von Bergmann Clinic in Potsdam. We knew as little about the virus and its modes of transmission as the staff at the clinic, but we still had the pictures from Northern Italy from December with the many deaths in our minds. We sensed the uncertainty and the worry: How do we protect our families and ourselves from the virus? It was like flying blind into an unknown world, and neither the medical staff nor we had any idea how big the first surge would be – how much the virus would change our lives. A year has passed, and the pictures have lost nothing of their topicality.”

MAURICE WEISS has been a member of OSTKREUZ since 1995 and lives in Berlin. In addition to commissions for German and international publications (Spiegel, Le Monde, Liberation, L’Espresso, etc.), his work focuses on political and social issues, including the political upheavals in the North African Mediterranean region. Since 2011, he has been a guest lecturer at the Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts, focusing on the responsibility of photographers for their pictures and the significance of photography as an aid to recollection. His most recent work at the Akademie der Künste was the series “Si jamais ils reviennent” on the legacies of the Second World War in Europe.


Problems are always looked at selectively. Right now, all eyes are on the pandemic, and then it will be climate protection, and at some point, mass extinction.

“WE   HAVE TO RETHINK SCARCITY” Andres Veiel in conversation with Johannes Odenthal

JOHANNES ODENTHAL  In your 2020 film Ökozid, narrated from the vantage point of the year 2034, you hold the Federal Republic of Germany to account before the International Court of Justice for the catastrophic ­consequences of the failed climate policy of the present. The television film has received not only a great deal of acclaim, but also massive amounts of criticism in the media. ANDRES VEIEL  The key issue is dealing with constant denial. If I sum up the response to Ökozid – and the negative reactions in particular – they are all driven by one basic idea: the accusation of alarmism. It’s claimed that fear has never helped anyone, and fear paralyses, making it the core of a narrative is counterproductive, and so on. And then, building on this: We’re already doing a lot, and we’ll certainly do a lot more, we’re moving in the right direction, so why then paint such a scenario in which we are taken to court? A lawsuit is no use to anyone. JO  Such a court case does not change anything about the real causes of the climate crisis. AV  True, but it is an attempt to establish climate justice. And given the scale of the disaster we are facing, legal recourse may well be an initial response to our failed policies. The worst-case scenarios of the UN’s annual climate reports have been surpassed year after year. We are in the midst of a process that we lost control of long ago. We’re still clinging to the hope that global warming can be stabilised at 1.5 to 2 °C in line with the Paris accord. This is an illusion, because we’ve already


reached 1.2 °C, in five years we will be at 1.5 °C, and then there will be a chain reaction that will make it impossible for us to stick to the 2 °C anyway. For me, however, fear can also be a stimulus. In certain circumstances, fear can prompt action that wouldn’t otherwise be taken. There is always both, the paralysis but also the urge to act. We’ve been sufficiently aware of the impending disaster for forty years now. Every day that too little is done means being under even greater pressure and having to take increasingly drastic action with greater effort in the scarce time between now and 2050. The room for manoeuvre in 2034 will already be much smaller than it is today. That is what Ökozid is about. JO  The scale of the crisis is terrifying – no one wants to think about it. AV  Right. It is still assumed that with a different form of mobility and green growth, we will become climate­neutral and all our problems will be solved. But green growth remains an illusion in an economic system that defines “less” as “recession”, catapulting us into crisis mode. Attempts to gloss over this contradiction, one that’s practically irresolvable, are also a form of denial. JO  So it’s a question of a search to find a different form to endow life with meaning? AV  Yes, a dematerialised one. And that can only be done in a participatory way; perhaps we would have to talk about a different conception of democracy. I believe that we also need inspiration from art here; this may even

be art’s great opportunity, because it can serve as a form of fluid thinking between science and politics. I see Ökozid as a kind of litmus test in the current debate. The film shows a lot of this complex where denial is being upheld by about half of the major media. They’re still concerned with defending a system of meaning that continues to insist on a status quo of privilege built on the principle of “more, faster, and better”. JO  This is what’s described by Bruno Latour, that elite minorities still believe they will not be struck by the disaster, that they can save themselves. But we’re in fact talking about global destruction. There will be no way out of the systematic destruction of living conditions on this planet unless we change our course now. The international action in the film – which takes place in Berlin, where the International Court of Justice has been relocated – is brought by the countries massively affected by the consequences of destruction in 2034. The effects still are not felt in Europe to the same extent as in the tropics, for example. Here, the world is still more or less intact. AV  Yes, apart from the fires, droughts, and rising unemployment. Some of that is becoming noticeable in ­Germany. On this point, the lawyer says, “In some places it’s cattle that die and in others it’s people.” JO  The claimants introduce the global dimension. In their countries, the environment, the people, and the animals are seriously affected, even to the point of complete destruction. Current national German policy is

sharply criticised from the future planning point of view for all its dependence on lobbyism and for its irresponsibility towards the global community. Only by playing out the case against Germany does the scale of denial become visible. There has been no fundamental change of policy, simply because the region hasn’t experienced the brunt of the natural disasters. AV  I’d even go a step further. Forests are already burning in Ökozid. They are already aware of the way things are going. In Uckermark, forests are in a really bad way; in the Grunewald Forest in Berlin, a large proportion of the trees are already diseased. But the argument of the deniers is that, even if we are affected – and we are – we have to help our farmers first, our forest owners. We have to save our car industry, which is now suddenly suffering because it has lost ground, especially to China. Germany first! With perfectly comprehensible arguments. We may really have to save Daimler in ten years’ time, this “sick man” in Stuttgart Untertürkheim, because the company will be heading for insolvency. The reasons for this lie in the management mistakes of the last twenty years. Action is taken in the short term, geared towards the quarterly reports for investors. They want high dividends, profits have to be made here and now, and no one spares a thought for what will happen in ten years’ time. Hence, the stubborn commitment to SUVs and the luxury automotive sector at Daimler, the S-Class. We could have done with regulatory guidelines twenty years ago to encourage other forms of propulsion beyond the internal combustion engine: to bid farewell to the dinosaurs of the industry, to vehicles that are too big, too heavy, too noisy, and too high in emissions. Instead, the stock market is being fired up. But the money doesn’t go where it’s needed, namely into research, education, and health care. And in diagnostics, it is so disappointing to see that, in Germany too, policies fail to pursue any mediumor long-term goals, contrary to all the pronouncements of the government. This applies to the SPD just as much as to the CDU. The car is driven into the wall with our eyes wide open. JO  The urgency of this problem led you to agree to a tele­vision format on the ARD public broadcasting ­channel – a prime time slot at 8.15 p.m. – with an audience of three million viewers. I’d like to remind us of your Beuys film, which is also based on documentary research and is concerned with the utopian power of art. In the film you explain how Beuys brings the utopian, social dimension into the world through art, but which is thwarted at the decisive moments by the structures of the universities and ministries of culture – or in the political sphere by the Greens. Antje Vollmer instead of Joseph Beuys. Now you turn to the future so that we can look back at the mistakes of the present. And Angela Merkel sits in the witness box, having sacrificed her knowledge of the natural sciences to the exigencies of power politics. You choose the format of a courtroom drama that allows your extensive research on the subject to culminate in a chamber play with highly acclaimed actors. AV  Being on ARD at 8.15 p.m. obviously has a major bearing on the format. In 2011, we had forty-three days to shoot the feature film If Not Us, Who?, but this time it was nineteen days for a feature-length film. And then I had to decide whether to take it all the same, or leave it. I saw it as an opportunity to step out of the niche of the well-meaning. When I make a documentary, it’s often


shown in twenty art house cinemas, including here at the Academy. But in my discussions with the audience, I’m effectively preaching to the converted. The challenge was to fill a prime time slot with a complex issue, to explain to viewers expecting Wednesday-night film entertainment how emissions trading works and how much ­lobbyists

In some places it’s cattle that die and in others it’s people.

help to shape the laws introduced, and in some cases even co-write them – and how this has systematically watered down climate protection. We tell it in such a way that the emotionality of the factual becomes the real source of tension. And we have uncovered systemic failure. It is not just the Chancellor, the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Economics, or this Secretary of State. It is a false or ill-considered respect for commercial interests, which always comes with the threat of Germany or Europe losing its competitive edge and its chunk of the market. Nobody wants to be responsible for the great spectre of recession, of shrinkage. China is overtaking us, we are no longer competitive, it is claimed, and then they backpedal, undermining, blocking, or torpedoing the EU’s guidelines with tricks or fraud or whatever. We saw this as a chance to communicate the subject not in an eight-minute news special, but in an enactment before an international court of justice. We also wanted to get a second message across (and here I come back to Beuys): a democracy needs the people to support it, bring it to life, and monitor it critically. What is needed is a policy that acts responsibly within the law and within the constraints that objectively arise. And if people choose a policy that doesn’t address these failures, then there needs to be at least a third line of defence, and that is international courts. Beuys once uttered the wonderful line: “When a thought is in the world, it is there, and it also has an effect.” In this sense, our aim was to formulate the idea of the legal consequences of politically failing the world community. Meanwhile, court cases similar to the one in Ökozid are being prepared. Reality has caught up with us, and Germany won’t have to wait until 2034 to have just such a case brought. And this illustrates the role of art; when it thinks ahead and it playfully conjures something up and anticipates it in a narrative, then it also has the potential to be effective. JO  What kind of narrative would convey a different value system? It evidently isn’t enough to scientifically demonstrate the dangers – we’re all fully informed. AV  Last summer, Macron called for ecocide to be enshrined in the constitution as a criminal offence. In doing so, he’s going a step further, because this would affect anyone who allows or even condones the destruction of the planet. This would mean that not only a board member of a company responsible for an environmental crime could be charged, but also any politician who allows such a thing to happen. But we didn’t go into that, as we

wanted to highlight the systemic aspect. In the end, it is too easy to personalise blame. After all, we all fly, we all drive cars, we all want to travel, and we all enlarge the carbon footprint. Problems are always looked at selectively. Right now, all eyes are on the pandemic, and then it will be climate protection, and at some point, mass extinction. It is not commonly appreciated that all three crises should be considered together and their causes understood. Nature must be seen as a legal subject and must be given the right to take legal action. JO  We’re currently living, of course, under Covid-19, or as Schlingensief would put it, in a “church of fear”. This fear is the defining reason for the complete paralysis of the system, although the economy still has to be kept running, of course. But the point is – as you said – you have to consider such a pandemic in conjunction with natural disasters and the climate crisis. In other words, with human encroachment on the earth’s natural resources. Instead, everything is moving towards getting the pandemic under control by immunising the population and then returning to what existed before, instead of using the emergency situation to rigorously engineer social change. AV  But change requires a rethinking and an abandoning of “more, faster, and better”. There is a lot of fear attached to this, since it means making do with less not just for a certain period, but in the long-term as well. At the moment, we realise that we don’t have to fly at all, we can also move within a smaller radius, we can even meet up with friends in this way, and so on. But it does

For me, fear can also be a stimulus.

mean fundamentally rethinking our attitude to resources, our attitude to material security, and to economics thrives on the concept of constant growth, or otherwise, collapse. This is a religion preached continually by 70, 80, 90 per cent of politicians – and I include the Greens in this. Yet each burst of growth to date has been followed by a rebound. Where there is growth and efficiency, the growth eats up the gains in efficiency, because we produce more, because the cars become heavier, because they become bigger, because everyone wants to set themselves apart from the somewhat smaller vehicle by treating themselves to a bigger one, and then a second and third home. We all know this system no longer works. Then there is the matter of distribution. Who loses and who gains? There are many good reasons to stick to the status quo, even though everyone knows that the shadows behind us are catching up. And everyone stares ahead and says, “There’s light after all: If we replace our engines and expand public transport, we’ve almost made it.” Then we’ll double the wind turbines and get the hydrogen from the desert and we’ll have achieved our goal: be climate neutral and get the rest out with CO2 extractors. And this lie, this self-deception, is part of the denial, including on the part of the Greens. That is the biggest


challenge, because we have arrived at the real question of meaning, and that has something to do with the fundamentals of human existence: How do we create meaning for ourselves when we can no longer distract ourselves with “more, faster, and better”? Humanity is then thrown back on itself and needs another form of solidarity, another form of collective agency. And that brings us to the question of democracy. We have to rethink scarcity. Not in the sense of too little, but in terms of how we can sensibly share the little that is available. Interestingly, this is what is happening with the vaccines. We have a shortage, and those who are most in need and most at risk get the vaccination first. This shows that the state is able to manage scarcity, establish a set of rules, and achieve a certain form of justice. The fact that a nationalist justice makes a mockery of the continent of Africa – which will only receive the vaccinations in 2023 or 2024 via a fund – is another issue. But managing scarcity is a model. If it is obvious that energy is no longer available on the same scale and that I am only entitled to a certain carbon quota, then I have to decide whether to use it up with a holiday or treat myself to a car. We have to get used to the fact that, if we want to achieve anything in protecting the climate, it won’t work without limitation, rationing, and allocation. However, this does not mean an eco-dictatorship, but rather voluntarism; everyone has to decide what he or she is willing to do without, and thus produce less and make do with less. JO  The question is what role art and culture can play in such processes or scenarios. By this I mean the art and cultural institutions, that is, the theatres, cinemas, museums, and not least the Akademie der Künste. How can institutions accept greater responsibility for the future here? AV  I have always regarded the Academy as a laboratory. The subject is a challenge for the Academy, as it is for any other institution. Laboratory means that there are spaces here where a different form of knowledge production is possible: a combination of artistic scenarios and artistic narrative forms, together with lively debate with the sciences. Taking this into the political sphere could be a central task of the Academy. In the pandemic, we witness science struggling with trial and error. But there is extreme mistrust, so it’s about penetrating this knowledge, critically questioning it, and developing artistic formats and narratives from it that are reinforced, expanded, and nourished in this way. The whole thing would have to run as a process via forms of participation through which knowledge is jointly generated and collectively contributes to this narrative. Or conversely, the narrative could be fed back via debates and evolve further: a process of osmotic interchange. For me, the Academy is a place where something like this is possible, where such collaborations are conceivable. It also has a very definite remit for this.

ANDRES VEIEL, author and director, has been a member of the Akademie der Künste, Film and Media Arts Section, since 2007. JOHANNES ODENTHAL is the programme director of the Akademie der Künste.


18.11.2020: According to police, around seven thousand people demonstrated against the new Infection Protection Act at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. As many of the participants disregarded the Covid-19 regulations, the police used water cannons to break up the gathering. (Source: “The pictures are pretty low-key – instead of direct confrontation, I wanted to show people’s bodily states. ‘Images of violence’ can be instrumentalised in any direction in the current context and further crank up the mechanisms of polarisation.”

SEBASTIAN WELLS, born in 1996, lives and works in Berlin and has been a member of the OSTKREUZ photographic agency since 2019. His work has been exhibited at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, the Museum für Photographie in Braunschweig, and at the 50th showing of Les Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles, among others. He has won the Leica Oskar Barnack Award and the FOLA Photobook Award and twice won the award for the German Sports Photo of the Year, the most prestigious commendation in this field.





SLAVE WEARS MASK “Sklave trägt Maske” is the slogan I read on a home-made sign attached to a lamp post on Straße des 17. Juni in Berlin. Behind the sign, people have made themselves comfortable on camping chairs, sitting and picnicking. Thousands of opponents of the corona restrictions file past, displaying their messages: “Spahnferkel” (blending the name of Minister of Health Jens Spahn with Spanferkel, roasted suckling pig), “Coronalüge” (“corona lie”), “Hände weg von unseren Kindern” (“Hands off our children”), “1933 = 2020”, and, again and again, Gandhi, Trump, and QAnon. There is an atmosphere of carnival in Berlin on 29 August 2020, at the midway point between two pandemic waves. From the stage set up at the central roundabout known as großer Stern, the moderator’s voice booms out into the crowd: “We’re writing history!” As the most prominent speaker at the rally, Robert F. Kennedy Jr gives a speech in which he recalls the legendary Berlin speech given by his uncle John F. Kennedy. “Today, Berlin once again forms the front line against global totalitarianism,”1 he calls out, before continuing: “Our governments have used the quarantine to establish the digital currency.” And that, he declares, is the “beginning of slavery,


because if they control our bank account, they can control our behaviour.” Similarly, a participant at a Hamburg corona rally explains to me that they want to “microchip” us and turn us into “human robot slaves”, and that many of us will die.2 What are we to make of the slavery comparison evident at these demonstrations and on the social media accounts of opponents of the corona restrictions? How is it possible that slavery, of all things, which is so closely associated with the dehumanisation of Black people, is being used by mostly white demonstrators to create scenarios of total control? And what does this careless use of the slavery metaphor tell us about the tense relationship between the anti-lockdown movement and the Black Lives Matter movement? First of all, it is remarkable that the bundle of enslavement metaphors being used in the corona protests functions differently from the comparisons to National Socialism that are also widespread at these protests. While the slavery references are more abstract, the association with the Nazi regime is tied to particular individuals, symbols, and institutions: the Star of David badge (now with the inscription “unvaccinated”), the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele (depicted beside the virologist Christian Drosten), Sophie Scholl as an identification figure, the current Infection Protection Act interpreted as the Enabling Act of 1933, and the corona vaccination priority lists construed as a new euthanasia programme. The repertoire of the Nazi comparison leads to the categorisation of victims and culprits, and functions as self-victimisation and self-aggrandisement at the same time.3 The slavery metaphor, on the other hand, fits into the corona protestors’ diffuse apocalyptic projections, in which the final battles between the “forces of light and the forces of darkness” will be fought. The latter are only vaguely identified: large corporations, representatives of a “deep state”, or the World Economic Forum with its plan for a “great reset”. In this context, “enslavement” and “slavery” become a depository for the notion of a government and corporate desire for control, to which we are becoming subject at a faster pace since the corona crisis. One of the people I talked to at a demonstration in May 2020 eyed me with disbelief: “Don’t you get it? […] a new world order is being established, and we don’t realise it: We’re slipping into total slavery!”

This is a cruel comparison, which ignores what chattel slavery was: the centuries-long transatlantic trade of some twelve million people, for the most part by whites, people who were abducted from Africa, crammed onto ships, forced to work on plantations, raped and murdered, and who, if they fell out of favour, were publicly hanged and mutilated. Generations of Black people were born into slavery and passed their status as slaves on to their children. “Enslaved people were not recognized as human beings but as property that could be mortgaged, traded, bought, sold, used as collateral, given as a gift and disposed of violently,” as Nikole Hannah-Jones writes in The 1619 Project.7 The legacy of this system is particularly evident during the pandemic: Descendants of enslaved people and other historically exploited groups are more likely to become ill with Covid-19, and are dying from the disease at a much higher rate than whites, because they continue to be socially disadvantaged and therefore more vulnerable. Despite this, surveys in the United States show a reluctance among African Americans to get vaccinated, which is rooted in a deep sense of mistrust, stemming from a long history of cruel experiments carried out on their bodies. In the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, for example, African American men were told for decades that they were receiving treatment, while in reality the only aim was to study the progression of the disease in their bodies.8 Black men report that when they wear a mask they are perceived as more dangerous in public, and that they therefore see themselves as more susceptible to racial profiling by police.9 The slavery metaphor deprives Black people of this history and with it the recognition of the legacy this suffering has imprinted on modern life – without in any way advocating for the interests of marginalised people. It supports the assertion that white Germans, with all their privileges, could become the object of a global plan to enslave them. At the same time, the slavery comparison suggests that “we” could avert this attempt at enslavement through bold action, if “we” resist the harassment and do not allow ourselves to be intimidated.


In early summer, after the enthusiastic and angry demonstrations against racism and police brutality in the US but also worldwide, including in German cities, I asked the few Black people I encountered at the corona protests about Black Lives Matter. They were dismissive. “Why only Blacks?” a person of colour and sympathiser with the QAnon movement asked me. “No, everyone matters”: All Lives Matter! In an interview, a white woman explains her position: “Categorising or somehow judging people by skin colour, that’s, well, that’s an old way of seeing humanity, and […] does that even still exist? I... Well, I’m not denying it. It’s just that, recently, I haven’t been confronted with it very much, I have to say. On the contrary, actually, I’ve been meeting these people who talk about the human family. Here, those topics don’t even exist as an issue anymore.”

In North Rhine-Westphalia, a flyer from the group “Ärzte für Aufklärung” (“Doctors for Enlightenment”) appeared in mailboxes in the autumn of 2020. It featured the portrait of Anastacia, an enslaved woman,4 with a kind of metal cage around her mouth, fastened onto her head.5 The caption next to the image reads, “Did you know that in colonial Brazil, masks were used on slaves as a form of torture?” Continuing to read, we learn that the “Máscara de Flandres” was a punishment ritual that prevented slaves from eating. Only the “owner” was able to open the Máscara. The title of the flyer sums up the message: “Only slaves wear masks!” A doctor is quoted as describing the wearing of masks as a “symbol of subjugation or self-punishment”.6




Among some segments of the movement opposing the corona measures, racism is depicted as an outdated ideology that has largely died out – at least among those for whom racism is “no longer an issue”. It should be All Lives Matter! Using the All Lives Matter slogan achieves two objectives: First, it plays down the Black Lives Matter agenda or raises suspicions toward the movement. My interviewee explains that she believes “the situation over there, with that guy George Floyd [...] was totally faked. That they really made a video so that the movement would […] take to the streets again […] to cause unrest […] and whip up people against [Trump].” And besides, Floyd came from the “red-light scene”, and there are all kinds of “strange stories circulating about him”. There are also videos of violence perpetrated in the other direction, by Black policemen against white citizens.10 Second, the All Lives Matter slogan transfers the right to use the slavery comparison to “everyone”. Slavery, by this logic, ceases to be a fundamentally Black experience of dehumanisation. Because “we” too have potentially all been lied to and sold. Along with this comes the suggestion that “we” are better than actual slaves, because we are able to resist – all we have to do is be courageous enough. Staking out a claim in the victimisation zone also makes it easier to avoid looking around us, to where refugees are starving at the borders of Europe, to where there are new forms of exploitation of poorly paid foreigners in our own homes, or inhumane working conditions in German slaughterhouses, and to where the effects of climate change are having a particularly harsh impact on formerly colonised regions of the world. Many of those with whom I spoke during the demonstrations in Hamburg had never taken part in a demonstration before. With the pandemic, they are undergoing a politicisation that revolves around control or subjugation. Inequality, injustice, or environmental destruction, on the other hand, are hardly worth a concern. In this sense, playing with the slavery metaphor is also part of a nervous struggle to land on the right side – the side of those successfully defending their freedom and sovereignty, not of those being humiliated. Conversely, the negative scenario of slavery leads to the fantasy of the “invulnerable body” and a “society of the invulnerable”,11 which ignores the realities of the history of colonisation. It is always the others who are vulnerable (even if they are of no particular interest). By contrast, other protest movements that took to the streets last year – albeit with less public participation – explicitly addressed such vulnerability: in the dramatic occupation of old forests due to be destroyed to make way for autobahn construction, in the human chains formed to protest the inhumane conditions in the refugee camps at the borders of Europe, in the protests against police brutality or against the tightening of abortion laws in our neighbouring country of Poland. Unlike the corona protests, these protest movements are not driven by the looming threat of a future curtailment of freedoms, but by present-day destruction, violence, and injustice. Eva von Redecker calls these movements an “uprising of the living against the destruction of life”12 and a “revolution for life”. The corona protesters want the old freedom back, but that freedom was never enough for those rising against the destruction of life.


Many thanks to Nina Perkowski, Susann Reichenbach as well as Christian and Antonia Reisser for carefully reading earlier versions of this text and to Friederike Hansen for her research assistance. 1 At the time, however, John F. Kennedy Jr was not talking about totalitarianism, but about communism. See the video posted by the group Querdenken 711 – Stuttgart, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. | Demo 29 August 2020 | Berlin, YouTube (6 Sept. 2020), watch?v=GHBzjfS3PdU 2 The observations and interview fragments that form the basis of this text are based on several months of field research conducted at rallies in Hamburg since May 2020, and at the large demonstrations in Berlin. 3 Helene Thaa, “Corona-Skepsis als Rebellion der Individu­ alist*innen”, Soziologiemagazin: Soziologieblog (16 Sept. 2020), 4 Although there are no official records that identify Anastacia by name or detail the story of her torture, in today’s Brazil she is venerated as a saint. See Natasha Sheldon, The Girl in the Iron Mask: The Legend of the Slave Girl, St. Escrava Anastacia, girl-iron-mask-legend-st-escrava-anastacia/ 5 Peter Arnegger, “‘Nur Sklaven tragen Masken!’ – umstrittener Handzettel in den Briefkästen,” Neue Rottweiler Zeitung (7 Nov. 2020), nur-sklaven-tragen-masken-umstrittener-handzettel­in-den-briefkaesten/291517 6 In the United States, two women were photographed with posters bearing the slogan “Muzzles are for dogs and slaves, I am a free human being.” For the outrage on Twitter, see 1262510184129314816 7 Nikole Hannah-Jones, “Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true”, The New York Times Magazine (14 Aug. 2019), interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/black-historyamerican-democracy.html 8 Isaac Chotiner, “How Racism Is Shaping the Coronavirus Pandemic”, The New Yorker (7 May 2020), https://www.­s hapingthe-coronavirus-pandemic 9 Derrick Bryson Taylor, “For Black Men, Fear That Masks Will Invite Racial Profiling”, The New York Times (14 Apr. 2020), us/coronavirus-masks-racism-african-americans.html 10 On the logic behind the argumentation of “Defence Mechanisms of Happyland” see Tupoka Ogette, exit RACISM. rassismuskritisch denken lernen (Münster: UNRAST-Verlag, 2020). 11 Adriana Zaharijević, “Becoming a Master of an Island Again: On the Desire to be Bodiless”, Redescriptions: Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory 23/2 (Dec. 2020), pp. 1–13, rds.322, pp. 9, 11. 12 Eva von Redecker, Revolution für das Leben. Philosophie der neuen Protestformen (Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer, 2020), p. 10.

CHRISTINE HENTSCHEL is Professor of Criminology: Security and Resilience at the Social Sciences Department of Hamburg University. Her research revolves around emerging authoritarian and collapsological rationalities, new security regimes in urban spaces, and the affective and narrative dynamics of protest in the face of the climate crisis and the coronavirus pandemic.










In the spirit of the series “Im Gespräch bleiben” (“Keep talking”), on 15 December 2020, our first digital members’ club meeting took place in a new format that may prove to be pioneering, not least because it offers long-term possibilities. In a smaller group than usual, we met online via Zoom to discuss the effects of all artistic expressions, productions, and teaching shifting to digital formats because of the pandemic. In attendance were Almut Grüntuch­Ernst, Nele Hertling, Ulrich Khuon, Ulrike Lorenz, Marcel Odenbach, Daniel Ott, Ulrich Peltzer, Monika Rinck, Matthias Sauerbruch, Andres Veiel, and our president, Jeanine Meerapfel. Joining us with their statements were our Russian fellow Ada Mukhina from the Performing Arts Section and Cylixe, our Basel fellow of the JUNGE AKADEMIE Visual Arts Section. Siegfried Zielinski provided us with the basis for the discussion. From here, we considered the digital reshaping and refinement of all forms of expression: Whether ­web-based exhibitions were our future without a museum-going public; whether theatre performances detached from the space are to be welcomed; how artistic education via Zoom reaches its limits; how dance falls by the wayside; and what the economy of friendship means for artistic creation during the pandemic. Acknowledging how Villem Flusser’s 30-year-old notion that “to be connected to the world, I have to stay at home” has gained new relevance and how the line between public and private has been eroded in the process, ultimately, we asked ourselves how we might preserve or find new heterotopias and the kairos moment. In the following, I highlight and condense some of the main points discussed during the meeting with my transcription and notes as reference, taking the order of the time signatures of a Zoom conference as part of the challenge. Media archaeologist Siegfried Zielinski is currently talking about the nature of intelligent machines: Everything is, at the core, mechanical, thus, only those areas of life that can be formalised can be fulfilled or substituted. Everything in between is going to dissolve. Only the “for” or “against” remain, the digital generates a purely binary experience of reality. Currently trapped in an environment of unconditionally networked communication, we experience the painful loss of heterotopias regards space, and the loss of the poetry of kairos, both of which are essential for art. The present, understood as experiencing an opportune moment, is vanishing in the digital-time structure – being that everything is already either cast into the past or to the future. He ends his statement by saying that each of us, as we find ourselves in autonomous situations (of this we can be sure), working and debating in technically networked situations, must learn to exist online and “to be” offline. Andres Veiel responds to this aspect of kairos. In the course of producing his last film (Ökozid ) over the last year, he observed “a thick asphalt layer of the binary” under which he sensed a massive force that demanded presence and real space. With the preparations for filming conducted digitally, he described the days of filming last summer after the easing of restrictions as a euphoric experience: The forces and energies of the ensemble, the longing for the moment, for contact, made the shoot one of the most beautiful production experiences for him. The joy of being part of


it united everyone – from the lighting to the catering personnel – everyone. His current method in lockdown is to meet in pairs on purposeful walks, making strides to break through this layer of asphalt. Jeanine Meerapfel takes up the idea of friendship, and as she assumes that the machine only reflects what comes from the person operating it, only reflecting what we actually are, she assumes that it can only strengthen the friendships that already exist. Siegfried Zielinski agrees with this, and explains his concept of friendship in the tradition of Derrida and Bataille. For Zielinski, the very pointlessness of it is what underlies his concept of friendship. This in turn prompts critical comment from Ulrich Khuon and Ulrike Lorenz: Why does Siegfried contrast friendship with the concept of economics? Visual artist Cylixe disagrees too. She has recently made friends in what was initially an anonymous association for a solidarity-based campaign to provide aid during the coronavirus pandemic. The actions of the association, which can only be managed digitally, have strengthened shared interests and allowed new connections to be formed, which she certainly perceives as friendly. She also finds the purely mechanical conception of the digital problematic based on her artistic experience with artificial intelligence. In machine learning, the AI provides suggestions it believes she would like, but that is not the case; this aspect of AI operating very close to the limit of inaccuracy is what Cylixe finds exciting. Siegfried Zielinski agrees with this, but prefers to talk about artificial extelligences rather than AI. The interference of what he calls “beyond the program” creates this inaccuracy pointed out by Cylixe. In her statement, theatre director Ada Mukhina – who had already reported her realisation that things only became exciting in the theatrical field when digital tools were employed performatively – saw a new concept of theatre being created in which not only the real theatrical space is simulated. She sees her experience with online laboratories as positive. Thus, in Russia, one can get around Moscow-centrism by using this form of organisation and network both regionally and internationally. For example, in 2020, she worked online with international fellows from the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, without ever having met them in real life. With regard to the friendship economy, she mentions the care economy. Here, too, the ­Covid-19 pandemic showed that social media could establish new virtual contacts that led to aid, mutual support, and strong relationships, as Cylixe’s example also demonstrated. In the meantime, Andres Veiel asked how Ulrich Khuon was doing – he imagined him in a ghost theatre, which Khuon would deny. Khoun in turn refers to the questions, which come up several times, regarding the nature of Zoom meetings: What can they do, what can’t they do, what does this change? Whereas Veiel avoids the casual meetings and informal chats during the Zoom meeting breaks, especially as the focus of the Zoom conversation on efficiency creates a problematic lack of casualness, lyricist and essayist Monika Rinck proposes a digital backstage area after events. The director of the Academy’s Performing Arts Section, Nele


Hertling, mentions how she’s certainly rediscovered casualness in the Zoom encounters with international colleagues: seeing the changed perception – the views into participants’ living rooms and the spoken asides – as positive and invigorating, encouraging friendly cooperation. Primarily, Ulrich Khuon has come to report on his experience at the Deutsche Theater in Berlin and to attend in his role as president of the Stage Association. He describes how he and his team have developed methods in the last six months to navigate out of the first lockdown, how in dealing with the digital they ultimately ended up in that hybrid world, and how they seek to get back to analogue reality. He has experienced this year as an excess of practice and a lack of time for theoretical reflection, a stumbling in wherever. And now: they are rehearsing again without performing in this theatre with its 300 employees, all of whom of course want to know how they are to go on. It was not only for this reason that he held staff meetings every few days, which he describes – even if it sounds paradoxical – as the most realistic and charged moment, a condensed togetherness in which, even though everything was being wound down, the idea of getting things up and running again could be maintained. Khuon uses the last meeting of the Academy Section as an example to introduce a different perspective on the digital meetings, whereby he experienced how undecided one remained, especially in the case of contentious issues. Just because one does not communicate in a standoffish manner in the medium, the danger of feeling misunderstood is still quite a risk; things ­cannot be taken back either, as in a physical meeting. Nele Hertling takes up the concerns of the undecided issues: would it be possible to follow-up meetings in chronological sequence to counter these and assuage the feeling of something unintended remaining? The follow-up would then be the opportunity offered by the digital encounter – which is something that I certainly plan to pick up again. Jeanine Meerapfel tries to summarise the very different phenomena of these encounters and reverts to the question of silent communication between viewers, referring to the short notes she wrote to the individual participants taking part in the chat – a small experiment in the two-pronged nature of this form of communication – but only one participant responded. I noted the lack of resonance in the space, the adjustment, repositioning, agreement, casualness, the incidental, everything that has to be organised around the meeting. I pointed out that it is difficult to organise an open space for discussion in both the larger and smaller artistic contexts. Ulrike Lorenz later puts it succinctly based on her experience with the Stiftung Klassik foun­dation in Weimar: “It goes well as long as you are exchanging information on the basis of having a relatively good knowledge of your partners. If there really is a dispute about something new that has not been practised yet, which seems to be anxiety-inducing and needs to be explained – where one has to argue for a little longer with each other – it is very difficult to rescue this in digital form.” The experience of digital première celebrations, the separate levels of alcohol intake, and the office Christmas parties with delivery of meals-for-one, is described as highly emotional, bizarre,

and quite positive. The shift to the digital world creates quite a nice atmosphere in the private spaces of those invited, even if it is still unclear whether this novelty is sustainable. Matthias Sauerbruch, the head of the Architecture Section, reports on the situation of the “urbainable” exhibition due to the shutdown. It was filmed and put on the Internet, a symposium took place digitally, a “DIY discussion event with very interesting people worked very well”. Like Andres Veiel, Sauerbruch experienced the changed public demographic, another aspect, quite positively. Very different ranges emerge and the increase in audience is enormous, especially if you are linked to the larger platforms (such as ARD). However, Veiel adds, the mud-slinging increases alongside. Visual artist Marcel Odenbach is also surprised by the wide-ranging attention his exhibition at the Kaiser Wilhelm Museum in Krefeld received in the press and on the Internet. After it was set up and put on the Internet, the exhibition never actually opened. For him, therefore, it seems to have been “ticked off”, which he finds frustrating, because he never had the opportunity to engage in direct dialogue with the public; people “pounced on it without having seen it”. ­Matthias Sauerbruch had already spoken about the transformation of the museum into a film set. “You could imagine just filming the performance and then removing it again. That no one was coming anymore.” A vision of the future? Ulrich Khuon points out that he had a similar experience when live streaming the production of The Magic Mountain by the Deutsches Theater. There was a lot of resonance; 10,000 people saw it, but only as a live stream, as close to the event as possible, never preserved. Something that Monika Rinck cannot fully understand, because “rituals are very difficult to transfer”. She would have preferred to give her Frankfurt poetry reading last November as an animation. She herself found the experience on the Internet to be an eerie and rather impenetrable phenomenon. Nele Hertling, on the other hand, recognises the opportunity streaming provides to lower thresholds and see a different audience to the usual attendees at theatre productions. Did the head of the Literature Section, Ulrich Peltzer, really say how stressful he found Zoom? Yes, especially in the area of art education at the universities. An effort also witnessed by Ulrich Khuon, who describes it as a “rollercoaster ride”. It is the lack of reciprocity that Cylixe finds difficult when teaching, “You sometimes feel more like a radio presenter on Zoom.” And sometimes you’re unlucky and the connection is bad… Ulrich Peltzer noted that he usually notices who is still following during in-person seminars, his attention wanders around the room and he can react to it immediately, but now? Nele Hertling made clear how dance lives from touch and encounter and cannot be taught to a satisfactory level digitally: “When you look into it, it is catastrophic and heartbreaking.” Then suddenly I hear Ulrike Lorenz say: “Why can’t the digital space be a heterotopia too?” She immediately answers this herself: “Let’s examine the resources we are protecting, preserving them, so that they can provide information on questions of existence today, let’s do it in an open space, let’s bring in non-academic perspectives – how would that work? When discussing this, it would


be better to sit at the table together, and I really ask myself and agree with Siegfried Zielinski – what is new in this world does not come from the digital space, it has to be negotiated. Full stop.” No, not a full stop. After looking at the situation of the cinemas, many of which will not survive, and the many other art spaces that are under threat, strategic considerations come into play: Composer and director of the Münchner Biennale music festival, ­Daniel Ott, proposes the Academy walk in twos as a model in addition to the digital offering, a hybrid combination. “In November we were allowed to rehearse at the Deutsche Oper, but there was no première. There is just a piece that is waiting to be played at some point.” And he adds, “In the context of ‘Labor Beethoven 2020’ in March, the Music Section prepared a wonderful exhibition about contemporary perspectives and reflections on Beethoven at Hanseatenweg. Because of the lockdown, hardly anyone saw this exhibition, but the rumours that are going around about it are brilliant.” At least Daniel had a nice experience rehearsing in the middle of the forest. Almut Grüntuch-Ernst talks about the change with regard to teaching architecture. For one semester, one experienced the loss of real space, “next semester, we will have to look for the potential in this situation. As this has been a problem at architecture schools all over the world […], we said that we would only create internationally parallel formats in future.” She said this and then went on to report on a project with Bangkok. If you are already online, then think globally! Ada Mukhina had the final word. She stressed once again that there are significant opportunities online: Instead of repeatedly working with friends and existing contacts, one can make open calls and find new people and innovative ideas from around the world for joint projects. “Those working in the field of culture will have to learn about and use digital tools that have been around for a long time or otherwise they will stay stuck in the past.” No one seemed stuck in the past during this discussion, it’s only that the future seems to be so uncertain. To be continued!

KATHRIN RÖGGLA is the vice president of the Akademie der Künste.




For four years now, artists have been inviting children and women at refugee accommodation centres to participate in painting, photography, and sewing workshops. The accommodation centre on Heerstraße in Charlottenburg had to be closed in August 2020 and its more than 300 residents were relo­cated to other centres in Berlin (the District Administration Office tried to keep families within the district in order to avoid the children having to change schools). However, we continued our workshops – digitally in the spring of the pandemic, and in real spaces again up until December – at a family accommodation centre in Treptow-Köpenick with more than 150 children. This sometimes also led to a photographic dialogue. The children photographing each other or wanting to be photographed in certain poses. Every meeting is full of life, always different, and a time for them to experiment.

NATAŠA VON KOPP, is a filmmaker and photographer who lives in Berlin and Prague.



MASKS Naemi Schmidt-Lauber and Sven Tjaben


Monique Van den Bulck

On our first visit, three of us walked around the building with Mohamed Kello and sang a song in many languages (Arabic, Kurdish, Farsi, English), knocking on doors to let the children know we were there. Many of them, especially the younger ones, came to listen to our stories. We sang together, experienced their tremendous joy in movement, the urge to talk about their own experiences and get away from the confines of the accommodation centre, to get to know Berlin. So we planned excursions. First, we decided to visit the zoo. Most of the children had never been to a zoo before, and we noticed when telling animal stories that many animals were unfamiliar to them. Some parents came along too, because they hardly ever have the opportunity to get to know the city from a perspective other than on visits to government offices or doctors. At the petting zoo, the girls and boys told us about animals in their home countries. They were able to play uninhibitedly at the zoo playground, which is famous in Berlin. All of a sudden, one of the mothers was at the top of the slide and, with lots of calls of encouragement, dared to slide down – for the first time in her life! Later, we visited Charlottenburg Palace, where we told each other of war and of kings and queens; the Natural History Museum, where our group was amazed by so many things, by the extinct primaeval horses, lizards, and types of eggs; the Technology Museum; and the Bröhan Museum. And we went to the zoo again during the summer of the pandemic. We also went to Grunewald Forest: Even though it is within walking distance of the accommodation centre, the children had never been before. In the forest, they romped about freely and, after we had told a forest fairytale, some talked about the routes they had taken when fleeing, spending the night in forests, the cold there, about their pregnant mother who could no longer walk; others talked about the overcrowded boats they came to Europe on. We experienced how they opened up more with each trip, how their attention to each other and their trust grew over the course of our time and experiences together. They often talked about themselves on the relaxed trip back. And they planned to retrace our steps with their families. When they reached the top of Drachenberg hill in Grunewald, they cheered as they looked out over Berlin and chanted: The best home in the world: Heerstraße!

We sit at tables that are pushed together in the computer room and, in fine weather, outside in the courtyard. There are few rules, just no computers and no violence. Any child who wants to paint is welcome. Some days the children paint less, are busy with the materials, talking as they work and telling stories about what happened at the centre over the last few days, about a trip, about a deportation, about the birth of a child, asking each other why a mother is in hospital, why another child was forbidden from playing in the courtyard by their parents, all the time concentrating on their pages as they do so. Most of them produced monochrome pages in layers, with structures. Often very dark. Mustafa is always there. Today, he is sitting amongst the children, quietly, painting a background onto his page, waiting, applying a new layer. It is supposed to be dark black. He smiles, almost satisfied. Then he paints a stone on the dry background, like a stela. On it, the word NO. I ask him whether there is a story behind the picture. He adds a missing line to the NO: WO (“Where”). Keeps painting. A ghost. He talks about his uncle, whom they buried without a head, and of another uncle of whom they could only bury individual body parts, because he had stepped on a mine. And he keeps smiling, painting with concentration, and is very proud of his image at the end. Once they ask what hello is in their respective languages: in Persian, Arabic, Russian, Vietnamese, Somali, or Kurdish. Then they ask me what hello is in my language. They can’t believe that it is just Hallo.

In July 2019, we set up the sewing studio on Heerstraße. I accompanied the following women during this project, all of whom I would like to name here: Fariba, Zarif, Arezo, Nassima, Afra, Nouriatou, Shanaz, Maryam, Zahra, Nidal, Jamileh, Zhiyan, Hodan… Such beautiful names I had never heard before; I was overwhelmed by their personalities and their generosity. Most of them are mothers, and their children were never far away: Aya, Padya, Zainab, Yalda, Marva… The participants wanted to sew clothes for their children, take up trousers, make alterations. Luckily, we had bought a dressmaker’s dummy, so they could begin to recreate their favourite items of clothing and make patterns. We drove to the market on Maybachufer together a few times in search of beautiful fabrics and materials. The year 2020 has been a challenging one not just because of Covid-19, but also because of people’s relocation to other centres, which resulted in separations. We went through this year together; it affected us and made us think. The members of our Masken WhatsApp group, Arezo, Fariba, Hassan, and Hadi, were in daily contact. My shopping options were online ordering or endless queues at markets. The group sewed several thousand masks determinedly and relentlessly to help the people from their centres first, and then for the people of the Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf district. We were finalists in the 2020 Integration Prize. I was very sad to leave these people and the great team of staff, including Mothi and Sophie Claassen. Since autumn 2020, I have been volunteering at the group accommodation centre in Berlin-Treptow, where I’m only permitted to work with children between the ages of 8 and 12 because of the coronavirus restrictions. We weave, they are thrilled. It’s a party. And then we went back into lockdown on 16 December.

SIBYLLE PRANGE, is a painter and lives in Berlin

MONIQUE VAN DEN BULCK, a costume designer,

and storytellers and live in Berlin.

and Brandenburg.

lives in Berlin.,

Sibylle Prange







SOCIETY OF FRIENDS OF THE AKADEMIE DER KÜNSTE Bernd J. Wieczorek The Covid-19 pandemic is having a considerable, in some cases dramatic impact on all areas of society, political action, and economic activity and on people’s very personal situations and life plans. The cultural sector has not been spared. In fact, it is one of the hardest-hit sectors. State theatres now have only rudimentary (online) offerings, private institutions are struggling for sheer survival, and many self-employed artists are without income. The many online activities that have emerged are impressive and imaginative, but they cannot replace the real experience and creative power of face-to-face interaction. The consequences of the pandemic have been parti­ cularly hard on young creative minds still searching for their artistic path – such as the fellows and alumni of the JUNGE AKADEMIE. For almost two decades now, we of the Society of Friends of the Akademie der Künste have been actively supporting the varied and remarkable work of the young international artists of the JUNGE AKADEMIE. With the founding a few years ago of the “Junge Freunde” (“Young Friends”) section within our institution, this close relationship has been further intensified and energised. The welcome parties that our Young Friends organise for each of the Academy’s new fellows have become legendary and resulted in numerous further joint activities and personal contacts. We, the Friends of the Academy, are all impressed, even thrilled, at how the intersectional artist-in-residence programme enables and fosters creative exchange, experimentation, and personal discourse across geographical, cultural, and political boundaries. The JUNGE AKADEMIE now nurtures a vibrant international network of more than 250 alumni, covering all sections of the Akademie der Künste: Architecture, Visual Arts, Perfor­ ming Arts, Literature, Music, and Film and Media Arts.


This magnificent network has suddenly been put at risk and even threatened with obliteration by the severe pandemic restrictions and the existential hardship suffered by individuals. Travel is now barely possible, and performances, projects, and other sources of income have abruptly fallen away. This has resulted not only in serious financial distress, but often in creative crises as well. And this precarious state of affairs continues, even deteriorating in some cases, despite the advancing vaccination campaigns. In this escalating situation, the Society of Friends has responded as a good friend and companion should, especially in times of need, by spontaneously organising aid. As early as April 2020, the Friends established an emergency relief fund to support the young international artists in the JUNGE AKADEMIE network. Our basic consideration for the deliberately chosen, not liberally sprinkled but highly targeted, relief action was that our limited resources should be effectively deployed for the benefit of the young talents affected by the pandemic. As a rule, these artists are neither suffici­ ently visible nor established in their professional and arti­ stic work, nor have they been able to build up a financial buffer for leaner times. At the same time, it is precisely in this creative phase that, for their ongoing development as artists, they need as many opportunities as possible for broader publicity and creative development. It is all the more tragic when all this is lost at this important stage in their lives. The director of the JUNGE AKADEMIE, Clara Herrmann, with whom we quickly got talking about the “how and who” of a possible relief campaign, reported as follows from her international network of artists: “Artistic output often has to be discontinued; in addition to the financial worries, there is the psychological pressure of isolation, the impossibility of planning ahead, and the shambolic crisis management in some countries.”

Everything has stopped: commissions, sales, and even a teaching job on the side are being pushed ad libitum, making me doubt whether they will ever happen at all. Trying to reduce costs, I have returned to my parents’ home. – Artist from Spain

Considering that there are no funds for artistic support during an emergency, artists and cultural workers very quickly found themselves in the risk zone, especially those artists who are engaged in social and non-­ commercial artistic practice. – Artist from Eastern Europe

They replaced me and nobody noticed. – Fellow from the Netherlands

Emergency relief donations account Gesellschaft der Freunde der Akademie der Künste IBAN DE94 1007 0000 0603 0555 01 BIC DEUTDEBBXXX (Deutsche Bank)


Fellows who were expected in Berlin last year from, for instance, Pakistan, India, Senegal, Russia, and Europe were left high and dry while on the road in various places across the world. Messages such as “The lockdown has stranded me in Mexico” and “The pandemic has stranded me in St Petersburg” reached the Academy from the network of fellows – as well as accounts of serious hardship. Against this dramatic background, the Society of Friends, the JUNGE AKADEMIE, and the Academy President’s Office quickly reached a common understanding regarding the objectives and organisational implementation of an aid programme. But good intentions are not enough; it was also necessary to create the appropriate financial conditions. The marketing strategy developed at the outset is still the guideline for our fundraising efforts today. Since then, the Friends have been appealing to the public in various nationwide campaigns, calling on people to help the fellows and alumni of the Akademie der Künste to continue to realise their projects and make them visible, as well as to safeguard their livelihoods. Through the network of Friends, the press, social media, and advertisements in the ZEIT newspaper, itself a member of the Society of Friends, the appeals have met with an overwhelming response. Weltkunst magazine is offering to support the Akademie der Künste’s young-artist-­inresidence programme with an additional charity campaign. It is donating the proceeds from the sale of solidarity hoodies and face masks – designed by K ­ atharina Grosse, Jeppe Hein, and Alicja Kwade, among others, via Galerie König – to our emergency relief fund. Thanks to external donors and members of the Society of Friends, a considerable and far greater than expected sum has been raised. This made it possible to support almost fifty young artists from more than twenty countries with an emergency grant by the end of 2020.



The managing director of our Society of Friends, Corinna Hadeler, is coordinating the implementation of the corona emergency relief in cooperation with the JUNGE AKADEMIE, which is in close contact with its alumni and fellowship holders. This ensures support is provided in a targeted manner, speedily, and without red tape, and reaches the young artists in full. Besides providing vital financial assistance to indivi­ duals, however, this act of solidarity does much more. The Friends’ emergency relief also helps to preserve networks built up over many years and to ensure the continuation of the exchange of ideas. The international artists see this as a powerful indication that, even in the current crisis, the Akademie der Künste has not for­gotten them. Wherever possible, the JUNGE AKADEMIE is realising joint art projects even during the pandemic. A lab­ oratory on Art & Truthtelling planned for the exhibition “John Heartfield – Photography plus Dynamite” is now taking place online, with videos produced in quarantine. The Iranian filmmaker and fellow Farhad Delaram, the only person to stay in the studios at Hanseatenweg in the spring of 2020, shot the memorable film Expo Pandemic in the Academy’s empty rooms. Launched in August 2020, the JUNGE AKADEMIE’s new digital platform, developed with funds from the Friends, opens up new possibilities for artistic collaboration ( It offers – vitally, given the restrictive conditions of the pandemic – space for projects, open studios, global networking, critical artistic discourse, interdisciplinary exchange, and virtual residencies. The cultural world is likely to be adversely affected by this Covid-19 pandemic for a long time to come. There are fears that the severe restrictions will have an impact well into 2021 or even 2022. Decisive action and staying

power are therefore still needed to provide long-term support for the people and institutions involved in culture – in our case, the young artists especially. In addition to urgent assistance, it is essential to safeguard the Academy’s networks and programmes in the long term, so that young artists from international contexts can continue to be included in the work of the Academy in an appropriate and fruitful manner. The high financial cost of the pandemic means public budgets can be expected to come under increasing pressure in the coming years. This will also affect the cultural sector. It is therefore the firm conviction of the Friends that, in addition to state support, we as citizens must more than ever provide a protective umbrella of solidarity to keep a vital international community of artists alive and encourage them in their future work. Artists’ biographies and networks must not simply end as a result of repeated hard lockdowns and continuous restrictions. The damage would be serious and lasting not only for individuals, but also for society as a whole. For this reason, the Friends intend to maintain the emergency relief fund in the longer term. Members of the Society of Friends of the Akademie der Künste have already pledged financial commitment until 2022. And all donations are still welcome to support the community of young artists. Friends are always there to help .... and particularly those in need!

BERND J. WIECZOREK is chairman of the Board of the Society of Friends of the Akademie der Künste e. V. (


Nam June Paik, TV-Buddha, 1974


Preliminary remark: Philosophically speaking, it is absurd to a­ ttempt to think the ­future. The future is that mode of time that remains obstinately closed to us. We cannot have any experience of the future. What we as humans are capable of, even working together with machines, is to create ideas and models of possible futures. Therefore, when future presents are mentioned in the following, no matter how realistic they may seem, it is always referring to ideas and models.


FACTUM & FUTURUM: THE MUSEUM AS TIME MACHINE The TV Buddha of 1974 is one of the 20th century’s masterpieces of art with media. For many in the area of art history and criticism, Nam June Paik’s time-based sculpture is even representative of the media art genre of video art. In view of my reflections on museums of the future, the work is of note above all as a special time machine and thus as a model for the museum itself. In the closed circuit installation, two arrows of time coincide. One points back about one and a half thousand years into the deep time of Zen Buddhism. The other arrow of time points through the present of the electronic image of the Buddha on the monitor into a possible future. The image-in-time constantly regenerated in the electron tube is not only fragile and fleeting, but it is equally manipulable and changeable. With its elliptical time–space construction, the installation offers a conception of time that is in principle both mythical and magical – time proceeds not linearly but dynamically, as a spiral without beginning or end. The coincidence of the two perspectives of time can also be interpreted as tension between facta and futura, as tension between the limited world of the given and the infinitely diverse spaces of possibility that we define as the future, and that we wish to see preserved as fields of action that are as open as possible. The museum of the past is primarily dedicated to the retro-spective arrow of time, to the world of the factual organised in deep time. Museums of the future focus the time machine differently, namely pro-spectively. In conjunction with past presents, they stage ones that may still lie before us. The culturally coded succession of facts and their retellings between the artist biography, work, and context would be superseded by the radical shift to a dreaming forward, as the philosopher Ernst Bloch put it, in accentuating the potential of utopia. The projection into the future must of course negotiate the passage through the present and its agenda, its issues, challenges, and aggregates of freedom and happiness, and link them to the utopian potentials of the past. This is how surprise generators come about.1 Being able to develop into one should be the least aspiration of a museum of the future.

The museum of the future should see itself as an artistic and a scientific medium. The knowledge it generates is not identical to the scholarly knowledge developed at ordinary universities. Rather, it is a transversal knowledge that works across disciplines and oscillates between abstraction and sensual material. The long history of alchemy from Egyptian antiquity via ancient China to early modern Europe teaches us that the cleavage between things that are thought (abstract) and things that have extension (concrete) is neither intelligent nor attractive for the future. The intellectual and the physical evolve in constant interaction. The most advanced explorations of artificial extelligences2 practise this very realisation. HYBRID AND NETWORKED – INEVITABLY At the beginning of the 21st century, it would be absurd to doubt that present and future museums should actively face up to the new telematic conditions of communication. Pioneering institutions like the German Titanic of the media arts, the Center for Art and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, have been integrating media-based arts into their exhibitions not only for decades – from single-channel video works to complex installations and above all computer-­ generated works and processes. They have also been acting on and responding to changing technological and social challenges with their workforce and technical infrastructure and with their exhibition strategies. I remember very well how the new qualities of an open museum nervously operating in tune with the times genuinely challenged the contemplative approach of traditional exhibition cultures. In 2016 to 2018, we presented “DIA-LOGOS. Ramon Llull & the Ars

CULTURA EXPERIMENTALIS VS. TEST DEPARTMENT The core of what alchemists do is experimentation. One can even go so far as to say that alchemy and cultura experimentalis are complementary concepts. In the alchemist’s laboratory, work is done at high risk to produce something new, something nobler from the profane given material. For the post-human social conglomerates that are increasingly having to practise pandemics, the test has become the defining paradigm. Tests consolidate the as-yet unfitting individual for the functional whole. Their purpose is to avoid failure and help improve effectiveness. Inherent in experimentation, on the other hand, is failure (with dignity). Experimentation, and the courage to develop it as a culture, links the progressive arts with the progressive sciences.


Generators of surprises between past and future present


Combinatoria” in Barcelona, Karlsruhe, and Lausanne.³ The extremely valuable, many-centuries-old manuscripts and pictures, and one-of-a-kind calculating machines and sculptures were not to be touched under any circumstances and only looked at. Nevertheless, there were elements of interaction with computers in this exhibition as well – to demonstrate the art of combination, as conceived by Llull in the 13th/14th centuries, for example. This was a special challenge for the custodial staff that constantly had to switch back and forth between the two different usage profiles of contemplation on the one hand and extended participation on the other. The constant prevention of physical contact since early 2020 has given an enormous boost to virtualisation worldwide. Many institutions, such as those in Seoul, Shenzhen, New York, London, Copenhagen, Paris, and Berlin, have greatly expanded their online activities. They not only provide guided tours in the virtual space of the Internet, but also stage festivals, film series, lectures, discussions, and workshops of all kinds. In short, museums can become hotspots of the transfer of global news, art, and knowledge. They have turned into virtual cinemas and, more importantly, into broadcasting stations. They are taking on those tasks of universal education that universities and broadcasters have long since abandoned. They facilitate unusual, uncomfortable, provocative, challenging, and oppositional experiences in the acquisition of knowledge and aesthetic abundance. In their finest manifestations, the museums of the future will be stimulating and exciting spaces for thinking.4 The interiors of future museums are already conceivable today as intelligent environments that are attuned to and can respond to the internal memory archives of their users and their aesthetic wish machines by allowing personal stores of knowledge and experience to connect or collide with the museums’ digitised object containers. This has to do with the fact that opening up access to the publicly administered legacies of art and culture has become one of the most important paradigms of progressive museum policy. The museums’ collection containers are transmuting from opaque state archives, accessible only to a privileged few, to a display freely available and processable, at least at the image and data interface, for the heterogeneous facta they preserve, manage, and exhibit. The opening should be understood not only vertically, that is, in the perspective of the deep time of aesthetic riches. The further one penetrates into the strata of past presents, the clearer it becomes how the various cultures of knowledge and form were interconnected in the past. For the exhibition “Allah’s Automata: Artifacts of the Arab-Islamic Renaissance (800–1200)”,5 we reconstructed, among other things, one of the complex audiovisual automata designed by the engineer Ibn al-Jazari in northern Mesopotamia in around 1200 that he precisely described in a compendium from 1206.6 The so-called elephant clock, which measured, recorded, and loudly proclaimed the hours, presented in condensed form the entire knowledge of the world that had gone into the construction of the device. The design of the hydraulically and pneumatically driven automaton explicitly referenced the knowledge cultures of India, Egypt, Greece, Persia, and, of course, the Arab


countries. A relapse into, for example, Eurocentric or even nationalistic constructs for the contextualisation of objects stored and displayed in museums will in future no longer be possible or will be highly embarrassing. The most important change in museums of the future will be that they will constantly question themselves as institutions and develop new tasks. If the fine sequencing of (arte)facts and the discrete retelling of artists’ biographies and historical contexts are to be replaced by a constant encounter with radical presence and its challenges, then the training of new skills will be necessary, some of which we can already foresee.

Philipp Tögel, adaptation of Llull‘s thinking machines as software.

Nicholas of Kues, Raimundus Lullus, Opera, Manuscript, 1428, St Nikolaus Hospital / Cusanusstift, Bernkastel-Kues.

NEW FACULTIES No matter how well some of this works in digital networks – think­ ing, designing, and aesthetic action must not on any account remain in-house and consequently be subjected to housekeeping. In the museum, everything should remain public and thus potentially negotiable by and with anyone. The constant attempt to move from the closed to the open, a journey into the unknown, allows us, like an ethnologist, to see the foreign in what is our own and to let the “continuity between matter and imagination” unfold. “Matter and dreams take paths that are not the same but correspond to each other.”7 For, as a materiologist, I assume with the Arab polymath and philosopher Avicenna (980–1037) that form is the fiery truth of matter. What is also possible as a material sensation is by no means exhausted by what has become real so far. From this, the possibility arises and nourishes the freedom to continue dreaming forward.8 However, this look ahead cannot only be directed towards technology and its ongoing development. It also entails future museums along with their visitors and users needing to develop skills that are equal to the challenges of today and tomorrow. By this, I mean skills that cannot be taught and learned like subjects in school or disciplines at universities, but faculties in the immediate sense of the word: fields of energy, motivation, and excitation in the indissoluble unity of poiesis and viewing, of making and thinking. They have the character of temporary transversal sections,9 of diagonal practices, which are able to mediate between the arts and sciences. Dignity is the most important faculty, the uncompromising unfolding of which we must learn to practise again, as both operators and visitors or as museum curators. This faculty is concerned with the cultivation and refinement of comprehensive respect as a principle of life. It practises – in thinking as well as in terms of designing and making – the unconditional appreciation of the other. This other includes the other culture, the other origin, the other thinking, the other gender, and, in the age of the Anthropocene and Novacene,10 the other of nature and technology. Museum work of the future would then be the practise of respectful and sensitive attitudes and actions. Its objects would be organised not vertically but horizontally. The arts and their different origins in Asia, Europe, the Africas and the Americas, Antarctica and Australia would form an open horizon, unobstructed by hierarchies or hegemonies. Intellectual and artistic activity that is conscious of the interactions between the various human agencies and the agents of nature and technology requires the emergence of a new faculty for the atmospheric of which we are a part by living on planet Earth. The atmosphere is our host and we are its guests. We need the atmosphere to live and survive, while it does not need us existentially. It can manage without us. For the atmosphere, we have acquired a not only potentially viral character. This radicalises our commitment to it. Unpredictable and unexpected events require the formation of extraordinary powers for unusual measures. Activist groups responding to this need have existed throughout the 20th century –


Transversal action: In 2001, various Viennese museums relo­c ated parts of their holdings to the profane space of shops, here an action by Christoph Steinbrener in Haidgasse 4. Collection of the Technisches Museum Wien.

from the Stray Dogs in pre-war St Petersburg to the Situationists in France and the SPUR art activists in Munich, and from the Berlin office of Kurt Jotter to the controversial Center for Political Beauty. They will be called upon repeatedly to intervene in overly satiated conditions and to upset comfortable harmonies. Their most important field of action will continue to be urban communications, especially under the conditions of the increasingly prevalent telematic conditions of physical distancing. Under the conditions of the advanced technical connectivity of communication relations and our increasingly technicalised ways of life, such unusual measures can be articulated in a faculty that we, along with such international activists as Julian Oliver, Daniil Vasiliev, and Gordan Savičić, can call critical engineering. By this, we mean an activity that is constructive and critical, theoretical and practical, which follows from interventionist thinking, and is appropriate for the sophisticated networked machines. It is capable of reinterpreting artefacts and the technical factual systems in which they are integrated or of occupying them in an alien way. It would be a logical continuation of a faculty of ’pataphysics, which would suit museums of the future particularly well. Such a faculty is closely related to the techno- and poe­­to­logical work on systems that cannot be censored or, to be more


precise, which are difficult to censor. This would involve the constant involvement with those information and communication technologies that, on the one hand, essentially co-determine the work of museums, but that, on the other, are realised through the mechanisms of domination in advanced capitalism as data politics and control. Only through a critical application of these technologies against their own surveillance and control mechanisms can they be effectively exposed. Something that everyone agrees with – because they need the comprehensive networks for the purposes of their functioning – would become a matter of contention and critical discourse. If it is the case that – in the context of the extended scope for intervention at the media–human and media–machine interfaces – creativity is becoming a fundamental social skill and the traditional model of the artist is being phased out in art itself, but beyond this it is advancing to become a general guiding model of social action, then it is advisable to at least work on supplementary identities. The skills that artists and intellectuals will need from now on can be interpreted (especially after the 2020 pandemic) as tactical figures that cannot be translated into strategies: chaos pilots and kairos poets, those who are able not only to deal with unpredictability but also to organise it without primarily administering it, and those who can seize the favourable moment (in the cinema, on the networks, on stage, in the gallery, in the lecture hall, and in the museum) and charge it with energy. Without an attitude to complexity and without an attitude to time – the two are inseparable – advanced thinking and advanced aesthetic practice are no longer conceivable. Just as we need artists and designers capable of intervening in those temporal structures that undermine our perception on the smallest scale (as in high-frequency trading), we need thinkers and poets capable of overrunning space–time perceptions on the largest scale (as in astrophysics). I call this faculty palaeofuturism. It would be excellently suited to exploring and developing the spaces of possibility of past and future presents and generating those surprises in media–human and media–machine relationships that are essential for survival. Under no circumstances should we stop projecting alternative worlds and working on the establishment of unconditioned hospitality – as an essential component of an unconditional university in the Derridean sense – in our case in the sense of an unconditional dialogue in the WE as a museum space of possibility. It is quite possible that the museums of the future themselves will become guesthouses for those who are otherwise homeless or cannot find an intellectual and aesthetic haven.

SIEGFRIED ZIELINSKI, media theorist, curator, and author, has been a member of the Akademie der Künste since 2000, first of the Film and Media Arts Section, since 2019 also of the Visual Arts Section.


The text is an abridged version of a lecture by the author of November 2020 for the Nam June Paik Art Centre in Seoul, South Korea.

1 This is a term coined by the biochemist Mahlon Hoagland in 1990 to characterise the epistemic value of experiments. Thanks to Hans-Jörg Rheinberger for drawing my attention to it. 2 This is a verbal stumbling block. As long as intelligent assets are implemented in machines and systems outside our bodies and these confront us as artificial reality, I find it useful to refer to extelligences. 3 I curated the exhibition in collaboration with Amador Vega and Peter Weibel. The catalogue, which was also an ambitious contribution to Llull research and the genealogy of logical machines, was published by Minnesota ­U niversity Press in 2019. 4 “DENKRAUM” was the title of a project developed by the artist Tom Fecht for the German Aids Foundation “Positiv Leben” in 1989. The project was located in Meinek­e traße in Charlottenburg. 5 The exhibition opened at the ZKM Karlsruhe for nine months in 2015 to 2016. The catalogue, edited by myself and Peter Weibel was published under the same title by Hatje Cantz. 6 Ibn al-Razzāz al-Jazarī, al-Jāmiʿ bayn al-ʿilm wa-’l-ʿamal an-nāfiʿ fī ṣināʿat al-ḥiyal (“A Compendium on the Theory and Practice of the Mechanical Arts”), manuscript, 1206, Topkapı Sarayı Library, Istanbul, MS Ahmet III 3472. 7 Here I quote and follow Roger Caillois, Der Krake. Versuch über die Logik des Imaginativen (Munich: Hanser Verlag, 1986), p. 140. First published in French (La Pieuvre: ­E ssai sur la logique de l’imaginaire) in 1973. 8 Dreaming forward is a rhetorical figure from the philosophy of Ernst Bloch, whose rereading of Avicenna I refer to above: Ernst Bloch, Avicenna und die aristotelische Linke (Berlin: Rütten & Loening, 1952). 9 Cf. Roger Caillois, Méduse & Cie: Die Gottesanbeterin – Mimese und legendäre Psychasthenie (Berlin: Brinkmann und Bose Verlag, 2007), p. 50. Caillois developed here the demand “to give diagonal sciences a chance” (p. 52). First published in French (Méduse et Cie) in 1960. 10 Cf. James Lovelock, Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence (London: Penguin, 2018).


AN INTRODUCTION What a civilisation preserves and what it throws away are equally revealing for archaeology. All the debris we leave behind today permits the future reconstruction of our ways of life and value systems. The same applies to cultural memory: It is shaped just as much by what a society remembers as by what it forgets or represses. Both feed into the memory of future generations. There is a new presence of the archive in contemporary art, a new urgency to the questions about how history is made available and how collective memory is practised and organised. The topicality results, on the one hand, from the change in storage media: Outsourced to the digital archive, cultural memory loses its materiality, physical context, and historical specificity in the endless juxtaposition of the ages. On the other hand, it is a question of the political weight of memory stores: Social changes today also have effects on the way the past is represented and understood. The artist’s approach positions itself against current examples of a disastrous historical oblivion and historical revisionism, not only on


Memory never stops. It pairs the dead with the living, real with imaginary beings, dreams with history. Annie Ernaux

Today, nourished by yesterday, advances into tomorrow. Bertolt Brecht

History is not the past. It is the present. James Baldwin

Robert Wilson, Suzushi Hanayagi: dancing in my mind


the part of the growing right-wing movements. At the same time, the arts argue in favour of long-overdue strategies for decolonising and diversifying bodies of knowledge and ranges of experience. In this “work on memory”, the arts test their transformative potential. By rereading such bodies and by collecting counter-narratives, they highlight the new of the past. The Akademie der Künste and its extensive Archives are themselves a place of artistic memory work. This year, the Academy cele­brates its 325th anniversary. It is taking this “monument in time” (the term chosen by Aleida Assmann in issue 12 of this Journal) as an opportunity both for reactivating its own memory stores and for discussing memory culture itself. “Arbeit am Gedächtnis – Transforming Archives”, a joint project involving all divisions of the Academy, is opening a programmatic umbrella from May this year that will remain open into next year. In addition to a festival on the migration of memory in music and sound (p. 57), dialogues on the memory of the city and the implications for monument preservation (p. 48), a performative conference on the decolonisation of knowledge and memory (p. 55), and other events, the spotlight will be on a large exhibition at Pariser Platz, which opens on 3 June 2021. At its heart are the questions addressed by the arts to the Archives and the records of artistic remembering within them. Alongside the Archives’ presentation “Excavation and Memory” (p. 52), the exhibition is presenting thirteen positions by contemporary artists, most of them members or former fellows of the Academy. The works are currently in the making in Berlin and Buenos Aires, in Munich and Greiz, between London and the Irish province, and between Valencia and Warsaw (and above all in many video conferences). Each opens up a narrative space of its own: Thomas Heise and his team are researching the international “corresponding members” of the Akademie der Künste (East) between 1950 and 1993, and thus a chunk of buried history in the Academy’s Archives. The US actor, singer, and civil rights activist Paul Robeson was one of these corresponding members, and Matana Roberts is creating a sound installation that explores the extensive collection that the Akademie der Künste in East Berlin amassed on him and his wife, the anthropologist Eslanda R ­ obeson, from the 1960s onwards, highlighting the interconnections between the Civil Rights Movement, the Cold War, and postcolonial movements. Further contributions include a video library of 1,001 sealed VHS tapes, in which Candice Breitz is recalling the moving image stores of a bygone era and their influence on cultural image memory; Mirosław Bałka is reading fragments from a German textbook that is part of his family archive. His mother bought it in 1943 to learn German, not far from the Polish extermination camps. In an essay, Cécile Wajsbrot uses documents from the estate of Imre Kertész to enter into a dialogue with the writer about “exiled language”; Cemile Sahin is currently producing a film that, based on the Swords of Qādisīyah – a monument in Baghdad initiated by Saddam Hussein – questions the reliability of media narrative methods in the politics of remembering; Eduardo Molinari dedicates his own artistic archive to centuries-old knowledge cultures and the


Eduardo Molinari/Archivo Caminante, Monument of the General Julio Argentino Roca

struggle for justice of the Mapuche, an Indigenous community in Patagonia; Jennifer Walshe is showing a selection of her archive of a fictitious Irish avant-garde, a material thought experiment with which she imagines an alternative art history and exposes the fictionality and arbitrariness of art canons. At the same time, striking interconnections between the works follow from their ways of appropriating the archival material and of reflecting the mutual malleability of history and the present. They are concerned with making selection processes visible and with the power of narrative, with the presence of the absent, and with the repressed in the archives as well as with new archives of the repressed. Thomas Heise is not alone in revealing work on memory to be an archaeology of the present. This approach resonates in Susann Maria Hempel’s poetic experimental film on an archaeology of waste and the destruction of our everyday cultural heritage through recycling. Cécile Wajsbrot is also interested in the immateriality of future legacies in view of the ability of digital storage media to erase rather than delete. She sits over the estate archives “like a detective”: “Everything is still real, and everything leaves traces. What is deleted with crossings-out can still be read under the lines, under the crosses.” Also in search of remnants is Ulrike Draesner, who traces the “foldings” of colonialism in the Academy Archives. She finds a sediment of random entries and scans the contours of the omissions, however, she is still unable to find “the Black voice” itself. Archives and other memory institutions are organisational structures, expressions of mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion. Exposing this selectivity is the motivation not only for Draesner’s critical questioning and Jennifer Walshe’s archive fiction, but also for Arnold Dreyblatt: Inspired by John Cage’s deconstructions of the exhibition scene, he develops a choreography of dozens of archival records, selected through meticulous research, which appear in the exhibition space or disappear into the depot

as dictated by a musical score that is guided by chance. Furthermore, Draesner’s literary study raises questions about the archive as a power structure and about exhibiting archived records of violence: How do we confront the colonial racist entries in cultural memory without further consolidating such entries, without repeating the colonial racist act? The treatment of past violence that reaches into the present is a recurring theme in the exhibited works. It becomes explicit when Molinari uses his artistic archive as a forensic procedure to highlight the continuities of colonial crimes, land grabbing, and climate change; it can be found again in Matana Roberts’ musical exploration of African American history; and it also resonates when Bałka reads words like “Hand” and “Kopf” from the German book. Memory work is therefore also work on grief and trauma, in which remembering and forgetting correspond with each other as spontaneous elements of time. As Alexander Kluge tells us in his room installation, it is therefore also a deceptive undertaking, for it is the other way around: “Memory works on us”. Thus, the cultural heritage processed in archives tends to be the exception; much more often it is inscribed in established practices, in the arts themselves, and in the body, as Robert Wilson’s reinterpretation of his video installation Dancing in My Mind – an homage to the choreographer and dancer Suzushi Hanayagi and to bodily memory – demonstrates. The various works are concerned with the diverse storage locations of memory and the redemptive power of narrated memory, which is invoked in the work of Candice Breitz when she refers to the great storyteller Scheherazade from Arabian Nights and makes the video covers speak again through recombination and the suggestive power of the exposed verbs in the video titles (p. 40). Artists’ archives, such as those of Molinari and Walshe, also deploy the archive not only as a resource, but also as a method: Here, the practice of archiving stands both for narrative as a survival strategy and also as an expression of reproductive labour, a practice of care that seeks to bring to life what it preserves and cultivates.







LINA BRION is a consultant to the programme director of the Akademie der Künste.






Nora V. Scouri  You’re showing Digest in its full scale for the first time in the context of the Akademie der ­Künste’s exhibition, ‘Arbeit am Gedächtnis – Transforming Archives’. Has the work been made under the cover of the pandemic? Candice Breitz  We had already been working on Digest for over a year when the virus hit Berlin. A team of f­ ifteen people was involved in making the installation, something I’d like to mention upfront, since the piece really is a repository for so much collective labour. We began production in late December 2018, and eventually wrapped the project in December 2020. The dates are very distinct in my head because the process was bracketed by two bouts of surgery, which dramatically upped my sense of mortality! While it would be inaccurate to say that Digest was made in response to Covid-19, pandemic conditions inevitably impacted on how the piece evolved and found its final shape. NVS  You insist on referring to Digest as a “1,001-­channel video installation”. Many will be surprised to see that painting has such a strong presence in the work: We tend to think of you as a moving image artist.


CB  During the early days of recovery following my first round of surgery, it became clear that it would be a while before I could get away with grinding my body back into video production again. Long hours of shooting and editing were out of the question. That said, I knew I would go crazy if I stopped being active in the studio entirely. Setting up a painting studio for the duration of Digest, allowed me to override a temporary loss of mobility. The piece offered me a way to stay active as an artist at a moment when I was grappling with a lot of pain, which may account for its slightly morbid character! The frustration of finding myself physically unable to do what I usually enjoy doing as an artist, left me thinking about what it means to insist on being creative under adverse conditions, or within restricted parameters. Human beings are, as we know, capable of being creatively generative under significant duress, even with the most reduced of tools and materials at hand: Our ability to remain creative in the face of adversity is a form of resis­ tance. I had no idea, of course, as I set out to make Digest, that our collective ability to sustain creative work was about to be so dramatically challenged by the corona­

virus. The pandemic has sorely tested our physical, economic, emotional, and creative resilience. Those of us who – as a result of our social privilege – have not previously had to endure proximity to sickness and death, have become more starkly aware of our physical frag­ ility, our connectedness to (and dependence on) other bodies. We’ve been brutally reminded that creativity and culture are not regarded as essential, or even necessary, in the eyes of most governments. At the time of this interview, communal cultural spaces such as museums and theatres and university campuses have been inaccessible for months in many countries. Our governments have done very little to support those who make a living in the creative fields. I’ve already mentioned that I was mulling over the vulnerability of the physical body when the pandemic struck. So, the questions of mortality which Covid-19 has so grotesquely magnified, certainly started to seep into the work. NVS  On a formal level, too, Digest might be described as an exploration of what is possible when options are dramatically narrowed or curtailed. Despite its scale when it is installed, the work has a rather austere, reduced

etition and crafted gesture. At the same time, I’ve always been intrigued by works of art that seek to retrospectively encapsulate or distil an artist’s larger body of work, such as Marcel Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise (1935–41) or Andy Warhol’s late paintings (I’m thinking of the Reversal Series and the Retrospective Series, both dated 1979). As I was trying to figure out what exactly Digest might be – an archive, a repository, a mass grave, a time capsule, a catalogue, a compendium, a survey, a library, a memorial – I found myself chewing through all of these precedents. Finally, and perhaps most obviously, Digest channels my long-term fascination with Richard Serra’s Verb List (1967–68). NVS  For an artist who is known to operate from an intensely feminist position, it’s surprising to hear you list the names of all these Big Boys as your artistic interlocutors. CB  It’s probably a good moment to tell you, then, that although I found myself in mental dialogue with all these existing works of art as Digest was in progress, the ­specific mode of seriality that is at work in the installation is not in fact derived from the art historical canon, but rather from a literary source. At the time I was conceptualising Digest, I knew that the work’s first outing quality – at least at first glance. Each of the 1,001 abstract paintings in the installation has the same modest size. Each was made with the same two basic ingredients: white acrylic paint and black acrylic paint. Given these formal limitations, the astounding diversity of the 1,001 paintings is suggestive of an almost dogged resilience. On the one hand – in relation to your larger oeuvre, and given the proportions of the paintings – it’s possible to read the individual units in Digest as small screens or monitors; you’ve often used grids of vertically-hung monitors for the display of your video installations. On the other – in keeping with the slightly funereal tone of the work – it’s tempting to read the paintings as memorial plaques or tombstones, or even to associate them with the impromptu grids of mass graves that have become a prominent visual feature of the pandemic, particularly given your tendency to refer to the hidden contents buried in each painting as “small bodies”. For those who have not yet encountered the work in physical space, it may not be obvious that these are not two-dimensional paintings. Can you comment on their objecthood? CB  The 1,001 units that constitute Digest are in fact videocassettes that have been sealed in polypropylene video sleeves. Once each VHS cassette has been permanently buried in its plastic sleeve, the front surface of the sleeve is garnished with a single verb, which is then animated using white acrylic paint. After receiving their verbs, the sleeves are painstakingly coated in black abstraction on all sides. Each painting is a small coffin of sorts, in the sense that each becomes the final resting place for the analogue tape that is interred within it. When the work is exhibited, the box-like paintings are arranged on shallow wooden racks, evoking the display aesthetics of video rental stores. After the installation is complete, I like to embellish Digest with a few Kentia palms, which I associate with the video stores of my youth. It’s important to say that the content carried on the concealed videocassettes remains unrevealed. NVS  This act of burial is reminiscent of earlier artistic gestures. One can’t help thinking of Piero Manzoni’s Merda d’artista (1961) or Marcel Broodthaers’ Pense-


Bête (1964) – Broodthaers was fond of Kentia palms too, of course! Like each of these works, Digest refuses its audience access to its inner contents. In order to retrieve the hours and hours of video footage that are embedded in the work, one would literally have to destroy the paintings. As such, we’re left speculating as to what exactly is being preserved within this extensive archive. Could it be the films that are referenced by the 1,001 verbs that the installation brandishes? Or might you be using Digest as a depository for the hundreds of hours of footage that you’ve shot for other works over the last 25 years of your career? Are the tapes serving as storage for fresh material that you’ve shot especially for Digest, or – more in keeping with Manzoni’s tongue-in-cheek gesture – might it be the case that the videotapes are blank and carry no footage at all?

Marcel Broodthaers, Pense-Bête, 1964

CB  I’ve been sworn to secrecy, so I’m going to have to leave that question unanswered! I will say that both Manzoni and Broodthaers were points of reference for me as I was cooking up Digest. Other artistic ancestors played into my thinking too: On Kawara’s Date Paintings (1966, onwards) and Allan McCollum’s Surrogate Paintings (1978, ongoing) were on my mind as the work found its form, for instance. Both bodies of work refuse narrative content and straddle a fine line between mechanical rep-

Princess Latifa claims she is being held captive in a villa in Dubai. The video was aired by the BBC on 16 February 2021.

(long before it was complete) would be at the Sharjah Biennial in March 2019. Ahead of an exploratory visit to the United Arab Emirates, I started to follow news from the region more closely. I became obsessed with the plight of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed Al Maktoum (better known as ‘Princess Latifa’), the daughter of the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, Sheikh ­Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. In early 2018, ­Latifa had attempted, for the second time, to flee Dubai in order to seek political asylum abroad. She was on a small yacht headed for India when she was seized by an armed ­commando, tranquilised, and returned to solitary confinement under her father’s jurisdiction, which is where she allegedly remains today, under lock and key. Latifa is the second of the Sheikh’s daughters to try to flee a life of caged luxury. These news stories about progressive princesses struggling to escape the confines of an absolute monarchy, prompted me to return to the legend of S ­ cheherazade, the celebrated storyteller who – according to The Arabian Nights (sometimes referred to as One Thousand and One Nights) – was the 1,001st wife of the powerful sultan, Shahrayar. Scheherazade’s story was a primary source of inspiration for Digest, in par­ti­cular, her ability to weaponize narrative in order to stay alive in a society governed by patriarchal violence.


Digest, 2020. 1,001-Channel Video Installation: 200 wooden shelves, 1,001 videotapes in polypropylene sleeves, paper, acrylic paint. Unique Installation. Installation View: Sharjah Biennial 14 March 2019. Produced with support from the Sharjah Art Foundation + Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

After his first wife had betrayed him, Sultan Shahrayar decided – in a fit of misogynist loathing – that he would marry a fresh virgin on a daily basis. With each new dawn, he would systematically decapitate the wife from the day before, so as to deny her the possibility of committing adultery. Prior to taking Scheherazade as his wife, Shahrayar had already casually beheaded a thousand wives. Scheherazade avoids the fate of her predecessors by putting her exceptional storytelling skills to work. On her first night with Shahrayar, she enthrals the sultan with a tantalising tale that is far too long to be completed by


dawn. Desperate to hear the end of the story, Shahrayar allows his wife to live for another night. On the thousand nights that follow, Scheherazade spins cliffhanger after cliffhanger. Her ability to generate narrative suspense literally becomes her means of survival. Eventually, after 1,001 nights, Shahrayar decides to spare S ­ cheherazade’s life and crown her his queen. NVS  While I was reading about Scheherazade to ­prepare for this interview, I discovered that women and children were traditionally not permitted to read The Arabian Nights. The stories were originally reserved for a male

readership. I can see how Scheherazade might be regarded as a proto-feminist in retrospect, a woman who survives an abusive (and potentially deadly) relationship, thanks to her extraordinary command of language. Her story is evocative of so many stories in which women contend with domestic confinement and abuse at the hands of male ‘guardians’, including the stories of Sheikha Latifa and her sister, of course. I suppose one can read Scheherazade’s escape from death as a feminist triumph, achieved via the leveraging of intellect and wit against brute power. One has to wonder, though, if

captive in a restrictive space, not unlike Scheherazade. At this point, I no longer need to ask why you chose to include 1,001 paintings in the installation, but perhaps you could speak about how you decided on which verb would be singled out for the 1,001st painting. When Digest is installed, the 1,001st verb stands alone; it is displayed at a physical remove from the archive-at-large.

Scene from the 367th night of The Arabian Nights, Tübingen 1,001 Nights manuscript (Egypt c. 1640).

it really is a happy ending for Scheherazade. She manages to keep her head on her shoulders (both literally and metaphorically), only to then have to live her life at the side of her former captor. There is something sinister, even violent, in the fact that she survives the absolute power of a monarch, only to be immediately subsumed into the monarchy’s oppressive structures. Like Scheherazade herself, the videocassettes that you’ve embedded in Digest hold the potential to carry and ­channel narrative, but ultimately, these tapes (and their contents) are condemned to isolation and darkness. Each is held


CB  It took me the longest time to resolve the relationship of the 1,001st verb to the work as a whole. Funnily enough, what you’ve just said hints at the solution I eventually settled on. I had been fretting over the awkward last verb for well over a year when Covid-19 abruptly brought life to a standstill. All of a sudden, the public sphere was out of bounds. Although the lockdown we experienced in Berlin was milder than elsewhere, from one day to the next, those of us who could afford the luxury were asked to withdraw our bodies from public circu­ lation. Many of us sought refuge in narrative: In the absence of Scheherazade’s tales, we’ve binged on Netflix and similar offerings. Like Scheherazade, we found ourselves at a remove from the world, scrambling to devise strategies for coping with social isolation. In the days leading up to the first lockdown, Carlos – one of the painters who worked on Digest – would pun on the word ‘corona’, which means ‘crown’ in Spanish. It got me thinking. On the day after we first closed the studio in observance of pandemic regulations, I woke up knowing that the last verb had to be, ‘to crown’. In an earlier work titled Him (1968–2008), I’d worked with fragments of found footage from Martin Scorsese’s film, The Departed. At a point in the plot where things are unravelling for him, Jack Nicholson’s character (an Irish mob boss named Frank Costello), reflects on the burden of power: “Heavy lies the crown”, he says. I later learned that this line was first uttered by Shakespeare’s Henry IV: “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” You’ve already pointed out Scheherazade’s ambivalent relationship to power, her subjugation to the crown. As I was trying to pin down the final verb, it occurred to me that we too were being collectively subjected to the tyranny of a ‘crown’ – the coronavirus, to be precise. As the pandemic deepened, I found myself identifying with the videocassettes cooped up in Digest. I started to think of the suspended condition

of these little plastic bodies – their frustrated potential – as analogous to our own condition. The socially­distanced relationship of the final tape to the larger body of work, suddenly made sense. NVS  Maybe this is a good moment to ask how you chose the verbs for the paintings in the first place. Basic verbs are abundant in Digest (to be, to do, to have, to say), but then there are verbs which are still in their infancy, or which have recently acquired new meaning (to troll, to like, to gaslight, to friend, to trigger, to scroll), profane verbs (to fuck, to shit, to piss, to suck), dark verbs (to slaughter, to hit, to strangle, to bruise), political verbs (to riot, to protest, to survive, to matter), pandemic verbs (to mask, to quarantine, to cocoon, to spread), verbs of mourning (to bury, to cry), verbs of memory (to recall, to remember, to redeem), recreational verbs (to boogie, to smoke, to flirt, to surf), transactional verbs (to buy, to sell, to traffic), verbs of manipulation (to brainwash, to bedazzle, to daze), verbs of abuse (to violate, to force, to batter, to rape), religious verbs (to sin, to bless, to ­confess), verbs of passion (to long, to lust, to tempt), and even reproductive verbs (to brood, to bring up, to protect, to shelter). Apart from the astonishing variety of verbs in the Digest inventory, a huge amount of labour has been poured into minutely crafting each. CB  A verb’s job is to convey an action or a state of being. In that sense, verbs are tied to our bodies as well as to our minds – they express our subjectivity. Each of the verbs featured in Digest is excerpted from the title of a film that was in circulation during the era of home video. The verb, ‘to crown’, for instance, is sourced from the VHS cover for The Thomas Crown Affair (1968). In each case, the Digest verb faithfully appropriates and reproduces the font that was used on the original VHS cover. The verb’s position in the painting is determined by where it was located on the same cover. The earliest film referenced in Digest is The Cheat (1915), a silent film by Cecil B. DeMille. The most recent is a trashy horror flick that was shot in the dying days of videotape (Drag Me to Hell, 2009). These two films provided me with the verbs, ‘to cheat’ and ‘to drag’, just as Boogie Nights was the source for ‘boogie’ and David Cronenberg’s cult body horror, The Brood, was the source for ‘brood’. Some verbs – such as ‘to have’ and ‘to do’ – are derived from real

classics, such as Spike Lee’s She’s Gotta Have It (1986) or Do the Right Thing (1989). Others are borrowed from the covers of less memorable movies. A significant ­number of the verbs come from films I’ve cut up in the past for other works, or referred to within my practice in one way or another. My work Treatment (2011), for example, draws heavily on The Brood. The Deer Hunter (1978)


– from which the verb ‘to hunt’ is harvested – is heavily sampled in my multichannel installation, Her (1978– 2008). In other words, I’ve had long-term relationships with many of the movies that Digest gobbles up. While I was busy with the piece, I was also working towards a catalogue raisonné documenting the last ten years of my practice. I was in a retrospective mood, so perhaps it’s no coincidence that Digest turns a self-reflexive eye on the medium that first got me started as an artist. NVS  It’s not unusual for artists to be interested in preserving or working with formats that are obsolescent or obsolete. One thinks of Tacita Dean’s relationship with 16mm film, or James Coleman’s use of slide projectors. That said, it’s quite unusual to hear an artist rhapso­dising about analogue video. The format tends to be dismissed as tacky and compromised – a transient blip within the history of the moving image. It’s hard to imagine videotape ever enjoying the nostalgic revival that vinyl or polaroid film have experienced.

CB  Video was how I found my way into the world of moving images, long before I left South Africa. In a country that was subject to stringent cultural boycott, wellstocked video rental stores were something of an oasis in the ’80s and ’90s. This may explain my love affair with the format. In the early days of my career, I often worked with found footage. Videotapes were my source for that footage, and the resulting installations were shown using VHS players. Because analogue video has since grown obsolete, it’s easy to forget the democratising potential that was associated with the format when it first became affordable and readily accessible to consumers (this moment occurred much later in South Africa than elsewhere, by the way). The very fact of being able to easily rewind, fast forward, or pause a film as one watched it, felt new and exciting, opening onto a less passive relationship with the moving image. For the first time, it was possible to tamper with – to actively intervene in – the experience of watching a movie; and, even more significantly, to manipulate footage without needing access to specialised and costly editing facilities. For those of us who were interested in working with moving images, but did not have the resources to work at the lofty level of film, analogue video revolutionised the moving image field. On a more sober note, the birth of videotape pointed towards the imminent and inevitable erosion of the collective viewing experience that had been characteristic of cinema, anticipating the gradual withdrawal of the body from public space under the pressure of digitalization. In setting the moving image on a path to a virtual future, video predicted the profound disembodiment that the digital era would bring to the public sphere. Collective experience would soon no longer be a priority or a necessity. I don’t think it’s inaccurate to describe Digest as a


gesture of preservation. But the gesture is less one seeking to reanimate analogue video, than one wanting to consider the impact that the format has had on our relationship with the moving image and with each other. I’m fairly sure this is the last time I’ll work with tape-based video as an artist. I guess I needed to formally bury video, in order to reflect on what it was that we lost when it died. NVS  That brings us back to the body – the body of the viewer, but also the body of the moving image. For all the radical shifts that video predicted in its early days, the medium remained stubbornly trapped in a clunky analogue objecthood that demanded physical negotiation. A videotape needed to be actively picked up from, and returned to, the video store. It was often ‘out’ when one wanted it most. At times, it hid coyly behind a curtain in the adult section. There was a fee to be paid for its company, and a penalty to face if one brought it home late. The tape whirred and clacked as you pushed it into the VHS player. It was prone to returning to the world with stretched or unspooled intestines when one hit ‘eject’. Its anatomical vulnerabilities were endless: A videotape could get stuck. It could refuse to rewind. Its plastic body cracked loudly when dropped. It released toxic fumes in protest when left in the sun on the backseat of a car. In other words, videocassettes marked the last moment in which the moving image still had substance, materiality, a physical body; the moment before the moving image went digital and migrated to DVD. CB  I’m glad you mentioned the intestines of the videocassettes, their innards. Digest ’s title relies on exactly that bodily metaphor. The installation cannibalises a century’s worth of films (via the selection of verbs that it features). There’s something visceral about a depository that has managed to swallow up kilometres and kilometres of videotape, as Digest does. And I’d be the first to confess a certain nostalgia in relation to analogue video – I still have hundreds of videotapes that I can’t seem to throw away! But what I miss far more than the physical experience of watching and working with video­ tape, is the mode of embodied subjectivity that we enjoyed during the analogue era, prior to the digitaliza-

tion and hyper-technologization of our lives. Digital technology has estranged us from our bodies and made us far less likely to engage with other bodies in the non-­ virtual public sphere. NVS  In that regard, the installation does resonate as a eulogy of sorts. Digest creates a space in which to mourn the loss of shared social experience, through which to grieve the withering of the collective body. Your comments on the eroding public sphere loop us back to an earlier moment in this conversation, when we spoke about how the pandemic has accelerated our withdrawal into digital being. The unprecedented restrictions of movement that have been imposed across the globe in response to Covid-19, have served as a violent reminder of the fragility of the social body. The virus is a grim reaper. CB  The current pandemic is the consequence of cynical human behaviour. If we remain oblivious to the ecological destruction that we’re wreaking in pursuit of endless urban expansion, we can expect ongoing natural havoc, be it in the form of floods or droughts or plagues like Covid-19. In light of the detrimental role that single-­ use plastics have played in the ongoing ecological crisis (a crisis that the pandemic has rendered excruciatingly undeniable), perhaps I should mention that Digest is composed entirely out of plastic: from the Mylar tape protected within each videocassette, to the acrylic video­ cassettes themselves; from the polypropylene sleeves in which the tapes are buried, to the acrylic paint in which they are embalmed. The fragile analogue bodies that Digest holds in quarantine – each isolated in its own confined space, each flaunting a verb celebrating corporeal freedoms that can no longer be taken for granted – might be read as hinting, fairly ominously, towards existential threats that are yet to come, as extractive capitalism continues to deplete and destroy the natural environments in which bodies were previously able to flourish. If we know what’s good for us as a species, we’ll have to wean ourselves off single-use plastics very soon. Maybe in the future, Digest will be thought of as a work that commemorates an obsolete format (analogue video) in an obsolete medium (plastic).

I know you think I’m crazy, but I’m not, I’m not!, 1938–2019. Unique Installation. One of ten smaller works that was produced parallel to the Digest archive.

NVS  Can we talk about the surface quality of the paintings, the black coats specifically? Though it would be hard to say that these paintings are of something or about something in particular, many of the black surfaces conjure up the natural realm. At times, the sleeves are almost obscenely organic in their detail. Some are reminiscent of the kind of biological or anatomical detail that you might see under a microscope. Others are embellished with what look like bodily orifices. The surface texture can evoke wrinkled skin, or tatty fur or rotting flesh. Some tapes get one thinking about disease or bodily ejaculation. All these invocations of the natural world are, however, rendered uncanny by the plasticity of the black coats. Although the abstraction that plays across each tape is the product of a human hand – and although one realises almost immediately that each and every tape is unique – the shiny artificiality of the black acrylic paint cheekily undermines the gesturality of the paintings, so that the works ultimately have a rather alien quality to them. This is a rather nature-less nature. CB  A friend who visited the studio in the early days of Digest, decided that the tapes look like props from a lowbudget science fiction film. The description stayed with me, because it nicely encapsulates the tension between the slick seriality of the paintings and their handworked quality. Seen individually, some of the more obsessively laboured tapes look like they could have come straight


out of a 3D printer, but then the sheer diversity of the abstract coats, along with their intricate detail, speaks to their artisanal production. As the work evolved, the team grew an increasingly elaborate painterly vocabulary, one that I could never have anticipated or planned. In that sense, Digest celebrates the idiosyncrasy of human gesture at a moment when both idiosyncrasy and human gesture are at risk of digitally-inflicted extinction. NVS  How closely were you involved in the creative decision-making when it came to the application of the black abstraction? CB  Each tape was worked on by several members of the team along the way. We had painters who were particularly good at interpreting typefaces that were classical and graphic, and others who knew exactly how to tackle a sinuous, organic font. We had verb experts and black coat specialists, and some who enjoyed both challenges. Every Digest tape must have passed through my hands a good dozen times during the production. This installation is as much a product of intense conversation as it is of human labour. At first, I was directly involved in the painting process, but I soon realised that my role was really to hold it all together. Overseeing Digest, which turned out to be an immensely complex project, started to feel very much like directing a shoot. When you bring a crew onto a set as a director, you’re effectively steering a team of skilled experts towards a desired outcome.

Over many years of directing, I’ve learnt that embracing the creative suggestions and impulses of your crew, as well as honouring their experience and their ability, always results in a denser and more compelling piece of work. So, our working model was premised on the relative autonomy of everybody on the team. As we came to understand who was good at what, we settled into a hivelike rhythm, an interdependence that allowed everybody to contribute to the creative process, without anybody having to strictly control it or be territorial about it. This is the way that I generally enjoy working. Every creative endeavour has to contend with limiting parameters: I’m interested in what happens when a group of people come together to respond to – and collectively push against – a set of predetermined conditions. NVS  These could have been illustrative or figurative paintings, of course. Why did you decide for abstraction? CB  I blame the decision partially on Scheherazade, whose ability to generate narrative suspense allowed her to escape certain death. The Digest paintings exist in an exaggerated state of narrative suspense. First, the video­ cassettes disappear irretrievably into their sleeves, ­rendering their narrative innards inaccessible. Then each sleeve is endowed with a verb, a fragment of appropriated language that has been severed from the figurative imagery it would have appeared alongside on the original VHS cover. This double negation of narrative frees the paintings from the realm of illustration, so that each can provide a modest space for projection; first for the team members working on it in the studio, and then eventually for the viewer encountering the installation. Sometimes we need to escape the stories that we’ve heard over and over again, in order to come up with fresh new stories and innovative ways of telling those stories. This is perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from Scheherazade. NVS  My last question is about how the paintings are installed. Do they have a fixed relationship to each other within the installation? Is their order alphabetical or chronological? Or are they arranged according to genre, as they might be in a video rental store? CB  I plan to avoid fixing the order of the tapes within the installation. There’s an infinite range of possibilities when it comes to how the verbs can be arranged across the grid. If the verb ‘labour’ is positioned next to the verb ‘sweat’, it points in a particular direction. If ‘labour’ is instead placed in proximity to verbs like ‘mother’ and ‘raise’, a different set of associations comes to the fore. I’d like to preserve this open-endedness. I want the act of installing the work to be a writerly experience, so that each new iteration of the piece has the potential to open onto new readings. That way, the installation becomes a reader’s Digest.

CANDICE BREITZ is a visual artist. She is a member of the Akademie der Künste since 2019. Digest was produced with the support of Alex Fahl and Sven Weigel. The work would not have been possible without the magnificent contributions of Hasan Aksaygin, Caroline Bayer, Carlos Enfedaque, Heyon Han, Dimitar Hristov, Cecilia Lo, Valère Mougeot, Philippine de Salaberry, Susanne Schmitt, and Nikola Werner, along with Winnie Fee Kurzke, Bambi Heggeman, and Emily Hochman.



The Architecture Section will contribute to “Work on Memory” – the discourse that the Akademie der Künste has proposed to its members to mark the occasion of its 325th anniversary – in the form of a symposium that interrogates the relationship of the built environment to the past and to history. Every building construction is both a product and a manifestation of its time. It is assembled according to the “rules of the trade” and from materials that are current and available on the market at the time. Similarly, the conceptual basis for it emerges from the culture and knowledge of its era. A building may be erected with the intention to outlast its time, but it can never be timeless; the day of its completion is also the first day of its unstoppable process of ageing. Seen in this way, the built environment is a slowly eroding repository of constructions, both literal and metaphorical, made at some point in the past for a future that includes our present.


Mehringplatz, Berlin. Urban concept: Hans Scharoun (1962), Buildings (from 1968): Werner Duttmann/Hans Scharoun Belle-Alliance-Platz (today Mehringplatz), Berlin, 1935

We consider these products of the past to be manifestations of ­history, whereby a distinction must be made between past and ­history. For while the former remains irretrievably lost, history is produced continuously anew – through interpretations of the past in hindsight. In this respect, it is perhaps appropriate to use the metaphor of memory when describing the cultural dimension of the built environment, as memory, too, depends on individual and temporal fluctuations. Therefore, the collective memory of any particular time can only be the average of a multitude of different individual acts of remembrance. In a similar way, the memory of the city is also a multifaceted territory of imprecise meaning, whose history emerges in the collective interpretation of its inhabitants. At the same time, the theme of the symposium springs from a second occasion: in March 2021, the Akademie der Künste celebrates the centenary of its long-time member, director, and president, Werner Düttmann, the architect of the Academy buildings on Hanseatenweg. As an architect, Senate building director, and university professor, Düttmann played a major role in the post-war reconstruction of the severely damaged city of Berlin. Confronted with such a task, this generation left no doubt about their intention to inscribe new traditions into the city’s fabric. This was done – despite relative moderation compared to their immediate predecessors – without great consideration for what had gone before. For these architects, the 19th-century tenement city was associated with a lack of freedom and social misery, and their passionate enthusiasm for change and renewal sprang equally from a sincere desire for reform. Additionally, at least in Germany, in many cases the destruction of cities was not only physical but also psychological. Hence, straightforward reconstruction was seen as both suspicious and difficult for the war generations for political, cultural, and personal reasons. To many, seamless continuity signalled the continuation of a past with which one no longer wanted to be associated. In this programmatic charge, the new city became less a place of memory and more a manifestation of a collective conscience. It was seen as a kind of future machine that would improve on the past in many aspects or even make it forgotten. However, this attitude was soon met with resistance. As, in the name of progress, automotive infrastructure was being driven, sometimes mercilessly, through the damaged (and the relatively undamaged) inner cities of Europe, a counter-movement evolved: Jane Jacob’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Wolf Jobst Siedler’s Die gemordete Stadt (“Murdered City”), and Aldo Rossi’s polemic Architettura della Città (“Architecture of the City”) exemplify an attitude that saw the historic urban fabric as the essence of a social and cultural world that would be irretrievably lost with the destruction of its architecture. The ideas to preserve and adapt the existing substance and thus to protect the architectural heritage subsequently found their way bit by bit into mainstream politics, and today the approval by the authorities for the conservation of historical monuments is an essential part of every building permit procedure throughout ­Germany and Europe. What began with the protection of outstand-


ing structures was extended in the course of the remaining century to building ensembles and entire city quarters and finally even their associated milieus. Thus – by the turn of the century – it is not only the protection of existing fabric that has become “mainstream”, but it is the (more or less precise) reconstruction of historical ­patterns that appears on the agenda as the preferred concept for almost any new development. From today’s perspective, this conservative attitude must be questioned on two counts. Firstly, it is impossible to disregard the effects of tourism that, with exponential growth since the 1950s, has irrevocably changed the significance of historic city centres. Municipalities everywhere are now competing to offer something exceptional for the discerning tourist to “discover”. The “witnesses of the past” play an important role here, because the unique ­selling point of a place is usually defined by its history. If the guest can feel transported not only to another place, but also to another time, travelling becomes a special, life-enriching “experience”. “Unspoiled” historic city centres, free of traffic and supplemented with gastronomic and shopping opportunities, combine the supposedly “authentic” with the pleasant – the museum with the store – in formats geared towards mass-efficiency. History is made available in narratives that are obviously banal: the city becomes the mis-en-scène of its own commodification, in which all participants gladly play along in view of the general win-win situation. Secondly, the renewed goodwill towards history has not only to do with its economic potential, its real origin lies in a shift of cultural and social priorities in recent decades. The modern movement’s desire for renewal has given way to an evident rejection – or at least a strong scepticism – towards any idea of progress accompanied by an uncritical idealisation of the past. The reversal began with the political and technological crises of the 1970s, and has been compounded by the increasing acceleration, fragmentation, and globalisation of our societies. At the beginning of the 21st century, the future no longer seems to be a promise but rather an imposition, a time in which one feels one’s own existence is in danger for a number of reasons. The place for a safe and secure home that is highly desired in such uncertain times is increasingly identified with images of history, while the everyday problems of our existence are attributed solely to the present and the future. A number of current political phenomena can be cited as examples of such “Retrotopias”, Brexit being just one of them. Ironically, this nostalgic tendency appears at a turning point when massive and fundamental societal changes are happening at the same time. Industry is working more and more with autonomous digital networks that are designed to assess demand as well as to develop, manufacture, apply, and dispose of, or recycle, most of its products. With the help of biotechnology, medicine is deciphering the nature of many physical and psychological phenomena in our lives, making them transparent and thus subject to change and manipulation. We are at an end and yet at a beginning of an era that in its drama and importance rivals the transition from mechanisation to industrialisation at the start, as well as the introduction of c­ omputers


alast der Republik, Berlin, 1976, P (photo: 1986) Heinz Graffunder Humboldtforum, Berlin, 2020, Franco Stella, gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg & Partner, Hilmer & Sattler and Albrecht

in the middle of the 20th century. At the same time, after the end of fascism and communism, liberal democracy and above all the liberal-capitalist economy based on constant growth now seem to be reaching their “natural” ends. Unsolved problems seem to be piling up: Climate change ­presents the biggest challenge questioning both our thinking and our behaviour. Just to meet the minimum targets agreed by the global community in Paris in 2015, fundamental changes are required. A bold step forward seems, therefore, urgently needed that responds to the circumstances of the present and addresses the tasks at hand. Hence, the city – being the most common system of collective coexistence – will have to pave the way for an environment that is more compatible in many respects – it cannot only be a refuge of nostalgic longings, anxious sensitivities, and political and commercial opportunism. On the contrary, it must also become a vehicle for change – as has just been demonstrated with some diversity in the exhibition “urbainable-stadthaltig” by members of the Architecture Section. The city is once again to become part of the collective conscience, the fountainhead, and the arena of reform. It goes without saying that in this the city still acts as a memory capsule – not only because this time its buildings are intact, but also because – for reasons of resource conservation and reduction of CO2 emissions – future construction must largely be met by the adaptation and preservation of built stock. To implement new concepts, we have to draw largely on the set pieces of the


past. This situation may appear contradictory, but in fact actually holds the potential to enable the sediment of previous generations to be comprehensible to everyone: the production of history itself becomes a topic and part of the collective conscience. The symposium will give us the opportunity to trace the various narratives that have emerged since the war and to anticipate the current turn, which must inevitably be a digital-ecological one. It will provide a welcome occasion to reflect on how the strategies and behavioural patterns of the post-war generations have stood the test of time and how their part in the “memory” is managed today under the auspices of the ubiquitous veneration of the “Gründerjahre” [“founding years”] of the 19th century. Recently the public media, with increasing intensity, has discussed how to

deal with this controversial inheritance. For example, an initiative to protect the so-called 1971 “Mäusebunker” (the central animal­ testing facility at the Free University (FU) in Berlin by Gerd and Magdalena Hänska) remained unsuccessful, while the restoration and upgrade of the student housing complex Studentendorf Schlachtensee (Hermann Fehling, Daniel Gogel, and Peter Pfankuch, 1957–59) has just been awarded numerous prizes. Likewise, the only way to rescue the 1967 parish church of St Agnes by Werner Düttmann was through an architectural intervention, namely its conversion into an art gallery. There will also be an opportunity to reflect on the phase of the so-called “critical reconstruction” that has left such drastic traces everywhere in Berlin and has now – with the completion of the Humboldt Forum – hopefully reached its peak. Finally, a renewed “Neues Bauen” building programme should be considered, which begins from a commitment to continuation of the “as-is”. If one wants to reduce further emissions into the atmosphere, one can no longer justify starting with the removal of what already exists. Instead, one must be prepared to constantly re-­

evaluate, supplement, upgrade, and reinterpret the as-found urban landscape. Hence, future contributions to the city must meet the changing demands of the present and – here the work on memory will be explicit – express this categorical turn in tangible ways. Whether such architectural interventions act as catalysts and harbingers or merely depict developments already underway is akin to the which-came-first, chicken-or-the-egg question. Whether these questions about architecture should be seen as the memory or the conscience of society may not, in the end, be discernible – in fact, one wishes they could be both at the same time.

MATTHIAS SAUERBRUCH, an architect, has been a member of the Architecture Section of the Akademie der Künste since 2006. He has been director of the section since 2018.

Leipziger Straße, Berlin Urbainable Vision





What does artistic memory work look like? Is it associative or based on a system? What gets remembered? How does memory manifest itself? In an object or a line in a diary? Does memory leave traces? Can it be reconstructed; if so, what methods can be used for such reconstruction? Does it need an organising hand behind it? Which media are suitable for storage? Can you collect memories? Do they go hand in hand with forgetting? Where, if not in the archives, could these questions possibly be explored. This is not only because archives are, by definition, institutions of memory whose central tasks include collecting and preserving. Archives give structure to remembering; provide a container for memory. In this way, they facilitate something that Alexander Kluge sums up with an illustrative image: He assumes there are constellations, gravitational relationships between archives, schools of thought, and forms of art, as he envisions how “the archives may be singing and whispering to one another at night”.1 Something more than the sum of all parts comes about when the scattered diaries, manuscripts, letters, sketches – all these “voices” present in the archives, the snapshots of the moment, the mnemonic devices, the results of creative thought and writing processes – come together under one roof, where they are organised, stored, categorised, and filed by keywords. They are related to each other.


The artists’ archives of the Akademie der Künste shape and preserve the cultural memory of a certain period of time, a cultural group, and beyond. They represent artistic currents, intellectual movements, cultural achievements, and the overall zeitgeist. What is more, they clear a path into the open, invite people to dig, to excavate, in order to show what artistic memory work can look like, to examine this work from today’s perspective, to put it into a current context and to transform it. One approach to the topic of memory in the archives can be to look over the shoulder of those who remained committed to it: through their attempts to comprehend what was experienced, to hold onto and to save it permanently; through their perseverance in search of traces, in ordering and categorising memories; through their invention of structures and methods; through their creative confrontation with the unspeakable; through their sources of inspiration, their passion for collecting, their failures. “It didn’t happen the way one can tell it.”2 This sentence from Christa Wolf in The Quest for Christa T. carries a poetological intention: namely, to attempt it nonetheless. To not cease putting the memory of what was experienced into words – despite the knowledge that it cannot succeed, or perhaps only succeed to an insufficient degree. The past is too complex to be capable of being captured. The chasm between what is told and

what is experienced must be endured. Memory is too unreliable or overpowering; focusing on one’s own blind spots is a paradoxical undertaking. Still, memory is a central driving force for artistic creativity, for reflection and for dealing with your own time, with the past, with utopian designs – and against forgetting. It is also about continuing to carry something and wanting to change it, for the present and for the future. Memory is a collective process for which the author feels a responsibility; it must go beyond subjective remembering. “Remembering things,” writes Christa Wolf in her essay “The Reader and the Writer”, “is swimming against the current, like writing – against the apparently natural current of forgetting”.3 Walter Benjamin’s programmatic text “Excavation and Memory” describes memory work as an archaeological process: “He who seeks to approach his own buried past must conduct himself like a man digging. Above all, he must not be afraid to return again and again to the same matter […]. For the ‘matter itself’ is no more than the strata which yield their long-sought secrets only to the most meticulous investigation.”4 The exhibition “Arbeit am Gedächtnis – Transforming Archives” will examine “excavations” such as these and explore forms of artistic memory based on examples from the Academy Archives. “Remembering is work”, writes Einar Schleef in his diary.5 Remembering is thus an active

process, something that every generation must undertake anew. Memory work also means confronting the power of memory and the allure of forgetting; it means going through shocks, upheavals, repression, and trauma, sometimes over and over again. This is why the central themes of 20th-century European memory also appear in the artistic archives: war, Holocaust, exile, division. The artists’ archives function to a particular extent as the memory bank of a society. Waiting discovery in the estates of the artists is the constant wrestling with memory, along with the search for the artistic form and position as befitting the respective creative occasion. With the help of diaries, index card boxes, word lists, document collections, and personal mementos, the laborious and pleasurable processes behind transforming personal experience into works of art, or current events into a diagnosis of the time, become visible. So what does artistic memory work look like? “Work in the archive. The most fantastic discoveries. Memory is not sufficient to always keep the good things at hand. You have to keep climbing back down”, writes Walter Kempowski in his notes to Echolot.6 And Walter Benjamin deems it “useful to plan excavations methodically”.7 This points to the necessity of a structure, an order that, in the case of Kempowski, assumes archival dimensions. Structures become sources of inspiration. Kempowski’s archive contains the reproduction of a copper engraving of Trajan’s Column. The arrangement of the pictorial narration on the ancient column became one of the models for Echolot. This artistic method of assembling the accounts of very different people into a polyphonic choir, a collective diary, has since then been recognised and imitated in historical scholarship. Käthe Kollwitz called them “work curves”, which she used to account for her creative processes in a yearly retrospective and overview, in which she placed these processes in the context of

Einar Schleef, “Remembering is Work”, Exhibition project, 1992 in the Marstall Berlin. Walter Kempowski, model for the echo sounder. A collective diary, Munich 1993–2005.


political upheavals, personal events, and turning points. Other artists keep work journals, sketchbooks, and word lists, or visualise memory by way of drawings, photographs, or notes. It is as much about capturing fleeting moments as it is about approaching them through language or imagery. Dealing at an artistic level with taboo subjects, with buried or repressed experiences, can become a therapeutic process, as the autobiographical story In My Brother’s Shadow by Uwe Timm shows. His literary elegy for his dead brother, who volunteered to join the SS Totenkopfdivision (Death’s Head Division) and whose mementos their mother kept in a box, reflects on the reluctance to form an image. “He himself, his life, emerges only from his diary and the few letters that have been preserved. This is the recorded memory of him.”8 The artist’s own revision of what is remembered is part of the artistic process; the results of re-forming and re-writing testify to the fact that the art of memory is an ongoing process that cannot be concluded. Self-testimonies and autobiographical texts run the risk of self-stylisation and the idealisation of one’s own memory. A document by Mary Wigman from 1963 illustrates this self-referential focus on one’s own artistic work. Reflecting on her “Herbstliche Tänze” (“Autumn dances”) of 1937, she sees her choreographies as having been unaffected by the period of National Socialism, which she refers to as “a time of outward, of political unsettledness”. Still, she wonders at the time of writing why “they remained completely untouched by the outward hardships, while in their experience and form they were able to retain their purity”.9 The examples illustrate that artistic memory banks are not dead matter. They are relevant for the present day, and studying them can prove fruitful. This is why they must be brought continually to the surface to be examined, as Benjamin’s text makes clear: “And the man

who merely makes an inventory of his findings, while failing to establish the exact location of where in today’s ground the ancient treasures have been stored up, cheats himself of his richest prize.”10 Artistic memory work, with its techniques and forms of literary, (visual) artistic, cinematic, theatrical, and musical approaches, stands on this “today’s ground”. The fact that the positions are preliminary and tentative, that the places are not secured and one’s own status is imperilled, make this memory work a credible argument for the need to remember vividly when it comes to the future. 1 Alexander Kluge in conversation during preparation for the exhibition on 13 August 2020 in Berlin. 2 Christa Wolf, The Quest for Christa T. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995), p. 64. 3 Christa Wolf, The Reader and the Writer: Essays, Sketches, Memories (Berlin: Seven Seas Books, 1977), p. 192. 4 Walter Benjamin, “Excavation and Memory”, in Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 2: Part 2: 1931–1934, ed. Michael W. Jennings et al. (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 2005), p. 576. 5 Einar Schleef, Tagebuch 1981–1998, ed. Winfried Menninghaus et al. (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2009), p. 227. 6 Walter Kempowski, Culpa. Notizen zum “Echolot” (Munich: Knaus, 2005), p. 94, diary entry of 30 Dec. 1986. 7 Benjamin, “Excavation and Memory”, p. 576. 8 Uwe Timm, In My Brother’s Shadow, trans. Anthea Bell (London: Bloomsbury, 2005), p. 26. 9 Akademie der Künste, Mary Wigman Archive, no. 556. 10 Benjamin, “Excavation and Memory”, p. 576.

ANNEKA METZGER is the assistant to the director of the Archives at the Akademie der Künste.

By contributing a room dedicated to artists’ work on memory, the Archives of the Akademie der Künste are involved in the exhibition “Arbeit am Gedächtnis – Transforming Archives” (4 June– 15 August 2021). How artists address the topic of memory in a way that is visible, tangible, or audible is the focus of the show, which comprises roughly fifteen approaches. The works are illustrated and presented in the accompanying exhibition magazine that tells how the works came about, reveals archiving methods, explains biographical details, and identifies media of memory.


Emeka Ogboh, Vermisst in Berlin, Poster campaign in Dresden, 2020



WHEN THE EMPIRES GET WEARY, THE OBJECTS MAY RETURN Njoki Ngumi in conversation with Jim Chuchu

Formed in 2012, the Nest Collective are a Kenyan multidisciplinary arts cooperative who use holistic applied research methodologies to create cultural bodies of work with film, fashion, literature, and other media. The collective are founding partners in the International Inventories Programme (IIP), an ongoing international research project and exhibition about the implications and effects of having African – and specifically Kenyan – objects in museums in the Global North. The project considers especially those objects of dubious provenance, and the knowledge, data, and history gaps existing around them.

In June 2021, the Nest Collective are slated to co-curate the “Unexpected Lessons” project, a series of digital and analogue talks, lectures, and artistic interventions on decolonising knowledge and memory, happening concurrently in Berlin and Nairobi. The topic of restitution has been raised at different levels by publics, governments, and institutions, who have been accused by its proponents in Africa of making the entire process more political and long-winded than it has to be. This mirrors the increasing pushback by European publics unsatisfied with state justifications for the legitimacy of collections featuring looted objects in their public museums. One example is the Humboldt Forum in Berlin, where criticism of the exhibition of numerous stolen objects was raised shortly before the opening.1 Specifically, historians and anti-racism activists in Germany say the museum needs to explain how its collection of thousands of brass, bronze, and ivory sculptures and carvings, taken by British soldiers from the royal palace in Benin City (in what is now Edo State, in southern Nigeria) in 1897, got to Europe.2 The Nigerian government has called for the return of the Benin Bronzes – as they are known – but they remain housed in private collections and Western museums, such as the British Museum in London, which has come under particular criticism for its refusal to return the approximately 950 Benin Bronzes in its collection.3 In November 2020, French senators voted to return twenty-seven objects held in French museums to Benin and Senegal over the course of the next year. The Nest Collective members Njoki Ngumi and Jim Chuchu use this event, and the troubling ways in which this gesture of return was framed, as a prompt, continuing into a discussion about the troubling persistence of unequal power dynamics between nations, and what possibilities there are to subvert them.


NJOKI NGUMI   I’m really struggling with something the French Culture Minister said, which was that returning twenty-seven objects to Benin and Senegal was “not an act of repentance, but an act of friendship and trust”.4 I mean. Really? JIM CHUCHU  I found that statement so perplexing. Who gets to decide the tone or meaning of a gesture? Do the people on the receiving end get to say, “No, that doesn’t make sense to us”? NN  Global Northerners get to define the terms, and then everyone else has to work with those terms or look bad for starting a fight about semantics. This is entry-level playground psychology, which is probably also what made their ancestors just take those things from others in the first place. JC  I also hate that the governments of Benin and Senegal didn’t respond to that gesture with, “Sorry, this won’t fly.” Are Africans not allowed to say these things, perhaps because of all our neo-liberal dependencies? NN  The conversation on objects is evidence of power dynamics with obvious disparities. We may act like equals at the UN, but because Global North money pays for children’s vaccines, and Global North money invests in African agriculture, water, health, and infrastructure, African governments dare not risk diplomatic kerfuffles over objects because that might topple the entire house that Jacques built.5 JC  I find the intense interest the Global Northerners have in managing the semantics of exchange obscene. The power dynamics between us are already quite formidably in their favour; why insist on winning the narrative war as well? That’s either very petty and vindictive or demonstrative of a deep awareness that there is power in controlling narratives. What does the word “friendship” even mean here, in this exchange of a history of violence?

NN  It’s farcical. It reminds me of family photos where people are told to smile even if they’re really angry, so when everyone remembers that day, they can all pretend it was a happy one. Happy faces masking ancient conflicts. Doesn’t that reflect real human households and communities? JC  I have been telling you, over the past few months, that I am unable to be hopeful about the question of object movement ever being resolved in a meaningful way, especially with regard to their return to Africa. We’ve worked on this IIP project for two years now, and what we have learned most about are the innumerable technicalities, explanations, policies, and laws that are firmly in place to prevent the return of objects. When Macron gave his big announcement about the return of objects,6 I was disappointed to see that one of the first African reactions – gleefully quoted in the French press – was that of Simon Njami, editor of the Paris-based art journal Revue Noire, who called the move “a foolish promise that would never materialize beyond rhetoric”.7 I respect Simon, but that quote was so deeply cynical and allowed no room for any response to Macron’s statement other than cynicism. No outcome other than the retention of the status quo. How will oppressive structures ever be dismantled if we are so effusive and forward about our pessimism? Is cynicism the only parcel that older Africans hand down to the generations following them? NN  Two years working on IIP have taught us that if you explore any problematic structure long enough, you find the same dysfunctions at the heart of them. I think Simon’s cynicism is a layered thing, if he were to elucidate his thoughts in a wider context than is possible from a single quote in the press, because of those innumerable factors you mentioned. As you said, the system was designed as a one-way ticket for objects. Simon is not wrong about that, if that’s what he meant. There can be


multiple truths here, and his, however harrowing, is one of them. JC  You’ve always been aligned with this idea of multiple truths coexisting, and I struggle with that. The closest I have come to allowing this world view is to posit that perhaps truths don’t sit at the edges of spectrums, but are the entirety of what lies between the poles. In the case of object movement, to give an example, perhaps it’s not that the objects will either return or not return, but that the dystopian soup in the middle – that mix of compromise and institutional cowardice, of erasure of memory and revision of history – all of that is the truth of object movement. And that soup is one in which I fear there can be no meaningful object movement in the years to come. And by meaningful, I mean object return that does more than move bits of old wood and stone and skin, but acknowledges the absence and the hurt of the illegitimate movement. We come from a generation for whom the question of object movement is abstract, because we were born in the absence of these objects and have lived with it, whereas previous generations who witnessed the looting of their cultures didn’t fix the problem, but rather handed it down to the next, next, next generations. NN   Binaries simplify complex things; and simplistic presentations of complex issues are good for politics and PR. But real life is a maze of complexity, so even the seduction of simplicity is fleeting. I think there can be meaningful object return. The more likely outcome of object-movement activism is not that all objects will return; rather, some people will return some objects in some ways. This gives me hope. In the same dystopian buffet serving the soup of compromise and cowardice, there is another dystopian culinary mix: optics, the success of the movement for Black lives, of white people with problematic ancestors who need to redeem their present selves. JC  It’s great that you’ve mentioned optics to describe this more hopeful soup. We talked about semantic gymnastics just now, and semantics and optics sit within the same family. I am not alone in fearing that we live in a world where semantics and optics are the outcome of most activism, and that rarely does activism achieve the fundamental objects of its agitation.8 Instead, the named oppressors learn the language, semantics, and optics that allow them to continue to exist with minimal change in their operations. We’re living in the Age of Optics. Now, if – as in the example above – the oppressed parties (minorities, Africans, Brown folk) don’t push back on these optics, aren’t they carrying butter knives to a battlefield? NN  I like this butter knife analogy. Those arriving clad in “friendship and trust” couture are actually saying, “We came with guns before, but today we have left them at home.” Carrying anything sharper than a butter knife to this conversation makes us look like we are the ones spoiling for a fight. JC  Tell me about this optimistic soup, then. What gestures do you see? Because all I see stretching forward into the next ten, twenty years is more “acts of friendship” by virulently unfriendly states. I see the return of tiny percentages of objects via untenable permanent-loan arrangements, which allow institutions and states to avoid admitting culpability. These semantic games accumulate over years of denial and revisionism to create new facts, new histories.


NN  You’re right, but that outcome is not one hundred per cent certain. We have to hold space for a truth to exist that we cannot yet fathom. The idea that African countries would ever be independent was ridiculous until the colonialists were on ships and planes going home – it was an unfathomable outcome for the cynics of the time. We are also not accounting for the empires of the Global North getting tired of the gargantuan weight of their self-appointed duty as custodians of “universal knowledge”, when they don’t even like or want to be near the realities of a diverse world where multiple knowledges sit in communion with one another, not in hierarchies. JC  Empires? Tired? Ha!

NJOKI NGUMI is an artist, writer, and feminist thinker who has held positions in the private and public health­care sectors in Kenya. As a founding member of the Nest Collective, she has been a co-writer, screenwriter, and script supervisor for several of the Nest’s film projects and is currently expanding her filmmaking practice as co-director of The Feminine and The Foreign. Her keen eyes and ears are a critical component of the Nest’s post-production process, as well as its strategic and research outputs. In addition, she coordinates the Nest’s external collaborative projects and leads programming and strategy at its sister-company HEVA.

NN  Rome fell. Greece fell. They became too big, too unwieldy and unpredictable. JC  Okay, I’ll allow for that as a distant hope. The idea that when the empires get weary, the objects may return. NN  Perhaps. And some may lead the way, maybe even in our lifetime. 1 Kate Brown, “The Humboldt Forum in Berlin, Finally (Almost) Ready for the Public, Wears Germany’s History Like a Crown of Thorns”, Artnet News (11 Dec. 2020), 2 Hakim Bishara, “Artists and Cultural Workers Oppose Humboldt Forum Opening, Citing Colonial Ties”, Hyper­ allergic (16 Dec. 2020), 609318/humboldt-forum/ 3 Funmi Adebayo, “Nigeria’s Benin Bronzes: ‘It’s not the place of the British to decide their fate’”, The Africa Report (published online 24 Sept. 2020), https://www. 4 Claire Selvin, “France Will Return Objects to Senegal and Benin Within A Year”, ArtNews (published online 5 Nov. 2020), france-benin-senegal-restitution-1234575902/ 5 Reuters Staff, “EU to provide 20 billion euros for Africa and Latin America to fight coronavirus”, Reuters (published online 8 Apr. 2020), us-health-coronavirus-eu-aid/eu-to-provide-20billion­- euros-for-africa-and-latin-america-to-fightcoronavirus-idUSKCN21Q2JI 6 Vincent Noce, “‘Give Africa its art back,’ Macron’s report says”, The Art Newspaper (published online 20 Nov. 2018), 7 Lynsey Chutel, “France will have to change its laws to return its looted African art”, Quartz Africa (published online 22 Nov. 2018), france-should-return-looted-african-artifacts-says-­ report/ 8 Nicole Rovine, “Engage In Non-Optical Allyship For Black Lives Matter”, The Cornell Daily Sun (published online 7 Jun. 2020),

JIM CHUCHU serves as the general manager of the Nest Collective in addition to being a filmmaker, musician, and visual artist in his own right. His photographs and visual artworks have been exhibited all over the world, and his “Invocations” series is part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC. After co-founding the Nest Collective, he has directed and scored its 2012–19 film projects as well as recording and producing its music projects. He oversees strategic planning and programme design at the Nest.

UNEXPECTED LESSONS – DECOLONIZING MEMORY AND KNOWLEDGE 11/12 June 2021 The performative conference deals in an artistic­academic way with the decolonisation of memory and knowledge, with African philosophy, and decolonial collection and communication strategies in museums. The talks, lectures, films, and artistic interventions will take place in parallel at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, in Nairobi, and digitally. With Memory Biwa, Nathalie ­Angeuzomo Mba Bikoro, Syowia Kyambi, El Hadji Malick Ndiaye, Felwine Sarr, Bénédicte Savoy, and many more. Curators Berlin: Mahret Ifeoma Kupka and Isabel Raabe; Curators Nairobi: The Nest (Jim Chuchu and Njoki Ngumi) and Chao Tayiana The event is part of the TALKING OBJECTS LAB,


6–9 MAY + 6–7 AUGUST 2021 CONCERTS, INSTALLATIONS, EXHIBITION, SYMPOSIUM DIGITAL & OUTDOOR & INDOOR Matti Aikio/Katarina Barruk/Maja S. K. Ratkje, Panos Aprahamian, Carola Bauckholt, Dániel Péter Biró, Annesley Black, Emerson Boy, Tony Buck, Calamita (Tony Elieh, Aya Metwalli, Malek Rizkallah, Sharif Sehnaoui), Ensemble Adapter, ensemble mosaik, Carlos Gutierrez/ECOEIN, Leopold Hurt, Thomas Kessler, Manolis Manousakis, Aya Metwalli, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Silvia Ocougne, Samir Odeh-Tamimi, Petros Ovsepyan, Kirsten Reese, Youmna Saba, Marco Scarassatti, Annette Schmucki, Walter Smetak, Livio Tragtenberg, Guilherme Vaz, Erkki Veltheim, Sabine Vogel, Ute Wassermann, Raed Yassin, Cynthia Zaven, Walter Zimmermann, and others. Artistic director: Julia Gerlach in collaboration with Samir Odeh-Tamimi and Walter Zimmermann.

MEMORIES IN MUSIC A QUESTIONING OF EUROPEAN BORDERS AND LONGINGS Music and sound store and convey memories of experiences, realities, history, and culture. They migrate with people and form ­interweaving histories with other musics. In collections, archives, and compositions, they are re-localised, disentangled, weighted, recorded, and politicised. This is how, through their musical works, composers and musicians participate in historiography, memory culture, and social transformation, overcome aesthetic barriers and propose new interpretations. Starting from a legendary performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s composition Stimmung in the Jeita Grotto in Lebanon in 1969, the Lebanese composer, musician, and artist Raed Yassin reflects on memory, echo, cosmos, and time travel in his lecture­performance Time Tuning (performed in November 2019 to mark the fortieth anniversary of the Stockhausen Jeita concert at the Akademie der Künste). For the “Memories in Music” festival of the Akademie der Künste’s Music Section, he has now developed another work based on a souvenir: in this case, the rare recording on vinyl of a female reciter of the Koran from the 1970s, which he found at a flea market in Aleppo, Syria. A Short Biography of a


Snake for the six non-Arabic-speaking voices of the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart and himself as an electronic musician, is dedicated to the reciter Sheikha Fatima Mhanna – and to the destroyed city. The piece is part of the multi-year European co-production “Voice Affairs”, in which seven compositions spotlight the voice and the cultural space of Lebanon as a dialogue between Arab and European music. Joining Raed Yassin in this project are Panos ­Aprahamian (film) and Dániel Péter Biró, Manolis Manousakis, Aya ­Metwalli, Samir Odeh-Tamimi, Youmna Saba, and Cynthia Zaven (composition). The concert is scheduled for 6 August 2021. The composer and Academy member Walter Zimmermann is participating with four works in the “Memories in Music” festival of the Music Section of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin. The ensemble mosaik is performing Parasit/Paraklet (1995/2009), Ga’s (1976), Das Gras der Kindheit (2010), and Dit (1999) on 7 August 2021. In addition, in the exhibition conceived as a walk-through programme book, we will be showing sketches and autographs by ­Zimmermann from the Archives of the Akademie der Künste and using the selection to trace Zimmermann’s memory work.


ARBEIT AM GEDÄCHTNIS – TRANSFORMING ARCHIVES Karlheinz Stockhausen, Stimmung, Jeita Grotto, Lebanon 1969



A LECTURE PERFORMANCE BY RAED YASSIN It is the summer of 1969. A man has landed on the Moon. Upon setting foot on its surface, it is said that the astronaut Neil Armstrong heard an echo emanating from somewhere in space. An echo is a reflection of sound that arrives at the listener’s ear with a delay. It depends heavily on the composition of space and surfaces with which to reflect itself from. So where was the origin of this sound in outer space? And how could it have pierced Armstrong’s ear at that specific moment in time? Some Muslim scholars have theorised that the sound he heard was actually the Adhan, the Muslim call to prayer, echoing from afar. When Armstrong visited Egypt many years after his Moon experience, he told a friend that it was the same sound he had heard in space, upon which the friend informed him that it was the daily call to prayer. Rumour has it that Armstrong converted to Islam at that point, but this assertion has never been independently verified. During that year of 1969, another cosmic event took place, right here in Lebanon. A musical man who claimed he was not from Earth but from the distant star Sirius,

travelled to the caves in Mount Lebanon, in Jeita, where he produced another planetary sound. “I would like to know, if possible, everything about the universe”, he once stated. “There is no difference between composing music and thinking of the stars and how the universe is functioning.” His name was Karlheinz Stockhausen, a German known to be one of the most influential and controversial composers of the last century. Also known as a cosmic mystic, he is revered for his groundbreaking work in electronic music, controlled chance in serial composition, and spatialisation of music. Indeed, space itself played a large role in his work, where he actively employed custom-made mechanical instruments in order to distribute sound in space in more and more spectacular ways. But Jeita offered him a much better alternative than all his machines ever could. The natural echo that the grotto generated created a magical acoustic experience, perhaps an experience that was even otherworldly. “He always spoke of that time in the caves in Lebanon very fondly”, his collaborator, Kathinka Pasveer, once told me. The stalactites towering down from the roof of Jeita – formed over millions of years and the largest found on planet Earth – created a transcendent enclosure of sounds, a divine reverb machine, a miraculous noise reflector, a sublime echo chamber. Surely, it was that echo which captured ­Stockhausen’s eyes and ears. Could music become a vision unto itself? He couldn’t put his finger on what it was. Even though his brain understood how it worked scientifically and ­logically, it became something else inside Jeita. With the activation of sound, the cave transformed itself into a godly entity – a sacred space worthy of awe and prayer. To the cosmic mind of Stockhausen, it was a fragment of outer space, located inside the stomach of the Earth. Was this echo similar to the one Armstrong heard on the Moon? Was it jumping from place to place, through time and space, in order to arrive at Stockhausen’s ear canal with an extended delay? Where was this billowing, kaleidoscopic, echoing voice coming from? Was Jeita Grotto able to trap this sound for a brief moment, and bestow a piece of the divine upon Stockhausen himself? There is something to be said about the relationship of caves with the sublime. In fact, the Prophet M ­ uhammad received the revelation from God through the angel Gabriel inside a cave, the Ghar Hira’a in Taif, southern

2. f. l. Dagmar Apel, 4. f. l. Gaby Rodens (Members of the Collegium Vocale Koln)

Arabia. The angel’s voice dictated to Muhammad the divine prophecy through sound. That sound must have reflected off the walls of the cave, giving his message more majesty and beauty than man has ever known. Indeed, the word of Islam isn’t meant to be written down, it should be recited, sung, aloud, in space, reverberating infinitely with one’s surroundings. The prayer affects the ears first and foremost, and then manifests as the audiovisual experience in the mind of the believer. It must have generated a spiritual sonic echo. And perhaps it was that spiritual echo that travelled throughout the 7th-century cave, out into the air, into space, eventually swallowed by a black hole, transformed into dark matter, and began to possess the ability to resonate repeatedly through time. Under the right conditions, it allowed itself to be replayed, recited, and heard. The echo was a manifestation of a crack in the space– time continuum. This is one of the reasons Stockhausen decided that he would use voices in his music performance inside the cave. Perhaps the echo travelling through time revealed this choice to him by virtue of fate. As it did for Armstrong, the echo of prophecy announced its presence at that specific moment in time. He and his collaborators performed the piece called STIMMUNG, a sextet of vocalists that Stockhausen ­perceived as a contemporary prayer in the cave. The ­German word Stimmung has several meanings, including “tuning” and “mood”. The word is the noun formed from the verb stimmen, which means “to harmonise, to be correct”, and related to Stimme (voice). The primary sense of the title implies not only the outward tuning of voices or instruments, but also the inward tuning of one’s soul. Perhaps here in Lebanon, Stockhausen also meant for it to be a tuning of time, a harmonising of space (and spaces), of that divine echo that he heard in the cave, the echo from outer space. As if to begin a religious recitation to welcome the audience to the ritual, the vocalists started by humming a B flat in unison, the fundamental core of the piece, glittering with a kaleidoscope of overtones. Each section introduces a new overtone melody or “model” and repeats it several times. Each female voice leads a new section eight times, and each male voice, nine times. Some of the other singers gradually have to transform their own material until they have come into “identity” with the lead singer of the section by adopting the same tempo, rhythm, and dynamics. When the lead singer feels that “identity” has been reached, he or she makes a gesture to another singer who leads the next section. Each model is a set of rhythmic phonetic patterns, often with actual words used as their basis. Most importantly, in twenty-nine of the sections, “magic names” are called out. These are the names of gods and goddesses, and prayers. One of them was al-­ salaamu alaykumu, the Islamic greeting “peace be upon you”, much to the surprise of the local audience. In truth, this performance was part of a four-day music festival organised by Sami Karkabi in Jeita, Lebanon, during 1969, the year of the Moon landing. With funding from the Lebanese tourism office in Frankfurt and the Office de Tourisme in Paris, Stockhausen flew to Beirut, accompanied by his musical ensemble. Prominent musicians such as Vinko Globokar, Péter Eötvös, and Michael Vetter also joined him, in addition to the Cologne Vocal Ensemble. A French documentary crew were also ­present,


as well as Surrealist artists Max Ernst and André Masson, and many other well-known cultural figures in the field. They all came to Lebanon to witness the collaboration of this sonic spectacle with nature. Exactly fifty years later, I find myself constantly sen­ sing the reverberations of this monumental happening. As if by fate, five years ago, I went to research Stockhausen’s oeuvre in relation to the Jeita festival in Kürten, Germany, where I was given access to his archives and got to meet his collaborators. Usually protective of sharing information with outsiders, as soon as the Stockhausen Foundation’s caretakers heard I was researching the performances in the cave in Lebanon, they became generous with me. The videos, photographs, recordings, documents, and interviews they shared illustrated the event to me extremely vividly. It was almost as if I was there. I could feel it, see it, and most importantly, hear it. That divine echo whispered in my ears. It called to me. I may have been having hallucinations or sonic visions, but I felt a deep urge to communicate with that echo. It doesn’t come to me in the form of words or melodies, but more as an abstract collection of voices and sounds, like a revelation from somewhere else, somewhere very far away, a place that is not here. Yet the dialogue I have with it is ultimately internal, insulated, like the inside of a cave. Isolated from worldly distractions, pure and all-encompassing, that eternal Stimmung rings in my soul, and I can’t find the words to adequately describe it yet. Recently, I watched a German television series called Dark, in which the protagonists repeatedly enter a cave hiding a portal for travelling through time. The way it works is that there are specific loops in time (thirty-three years) that connect past, present, and future. Characters travel to the 1920s, 1950s, 1980s, and back to the present day. They get stuck, die, and come back to life. They meet themselves replicated as young and old, traumas are confounded, and devastation ensues because of this fateful crack in time – more precisely, a crack inside the cave. The cave hides a power beyond everyone’s control, the result of a nuclear accident, an abstract “being” that bubbles and oscillates, almost like a visual representation of sound itself, and everyone who enters and leaves the cave is destined to do so. There is no escape from their fate. But what if this is not some kind of fiction? What if this fifty-year loop creates a sonic echo I can hear from Stockhausen, as he heard it from Armstrong in space? What if we are all connected somehow, in order to fulfil a certain fate? The fate of producing that divine echo once again? Niel Armstrong was 40 years old when he landed on the Moon. Stockhausen was 40 years old when he came to Jeita. I moved to Germany when I turned 40 years old. God’s message was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad when he was 40 years old. There is one echo that we have all heard. A sacred echo from another world, from outer space, from the divine. I can’t say whether it is a divine message, or a piece of dark matter from a black hole that travelled here before humans ever existed, or the rumbling sound of the sun, heard in radio transmissions all over the world, that ­baffled scientists for decades. Yet, I believe that it is a sacred mantra of the abstract, which requires the attention of our ears, and most importantly, our souls.

Today I will reproduce this echo for you, the way I remember it, the way it stayed in my mind. Perhaps through reproducing this sound, we can evoke the powers of the universe to open a new portal in time and send reverberations of divinity into our ears. We can assume tonight is like Laylat al-Qadr: the Night of Decree, the Night of Power, the Night of Value, the Night of Destiny, or the Night of Measures. It is the night when the Prophet received the revelation from God in the cave. No one knows exactly which night it occurred: the nineteenth, twenty-first, twenty-third, or twenty-seventh night. But it could be the night that the spiritual echo was spoken to Him, and to the astronaut in space, and to the musical man from the planet Sirius who entered the grotto. Through this sound, we may be able to reach a different plane in time.

RAED YASSIN (*1979 in Beirut) lives and works in Beirut and Berlin. As an artist and musician, his works often start with an inspection of his personal story(s) and its position within a collective history – in times of consumer culture and mass production. He has exhibited at a variety of museums and performed at various festivals, including in recent years at the Borderline Festival (2019), Maerzmusik (2018), and at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2016). He has also released various albums and founded the production company Annihaya in 2009.




Details from Walter Zimmermann, Lokale Musik, Beginner Press, Cologne 1981


The composer Walter Zimmermann is strongly associated with the theme of “Memories in Music”. His thinking, writings, and, above all, compositions are infused with an exploratory perception and analysis of the world, be it directed towards philosophical or sociological ­theories, landscapes or villages, local music or avant-garde practices. After an intense, much-relished, and richly sketched work process – which he described in relation to his early composition Akkord-Arbeit (1972) as “assembling, dismantling, investigating, transforming”1 – the worlds traversed come shining through as second nature in his fresh compositions. “Furthermore, the depiction of nature penetrates into very deep layers of the composi­ tional process, revealing not its surface, but its more concealed qualities.”2 Acting as mediator, Zimmermann processes and recontextualises the observed (natural) material, the contemporary historical document, or ­characteristic musical practice. The resulting composition becomes a repository for these materials and the history and experience of the world carried with them; the ­process is work on memory.

Zimmermann became known with his series “Lokale Musik” (1977–81), which initially took him back to his native territory in Franconia. This is where he studied the region’s folk music as well as its changing landscape and geological topography, extracting structures from this context and transforming them into music. The dance rhythms of the Ländler audible in his compositions were greeted with scorn by his colleagues in the early years, as they were unjustly perceived as an unbroken expression of nationalism – the opposition to rhythm and harmony was deeply entrenched. Looking back, Zimmermann says: “‘Lokale Musik’ is precisely about eliminating these demonic traits that folk music can have as a nationalist manifesto – that’s precisely what I’ve been breaking down. They’ve listened to it synthetically and have not accepted the roughness of the surface or the fragility, the escaping into the ethereal of these otherwise harsh melodies.”3 Zimmermann’s interest in the local extended beyond his native territory; he explored local cultural practices


other than his own in projects such as Insel Musik (1976) and the series “Randonnée” (1995–99), seeking, from as early as the 1970s, encounters with forms of knowledge and music from indigenous societies. On his extensive travels, he recorded his thoughts in voice recordings while driving4 and recorded music or conversations with music makers – such as the shepherds’ song from the Siwa Oasis in Egypt which found its way into a oscillating composition for tape and oboe: Ga’s (1976), actually a phonological transcription in which the musician “plays along” with the taped melody with crystal clarity. ­Zimmermann also conducted interviews with numerous avant-garde composers5 in the United States and the Native American Pat Kennedy. The indigenous instruments and the coloniser-lampooning “Baile de la Conquista” dance that were explained to him in Guatemala are incorporated into his composition of the same name (1996), together with the complex pattern in the friezes of the pre-Columbian Mitla palace, the Andes mountain range, and massacres of Indigenous people. He asks himself at the end of the score whether the taking of instruments is not itself a colonial act. The role of the


European and the universal in the local are reflected in the works, and Zimmermann underlines this by remaining identifiable and authentic as a subjective observer, as a recorder of his own experience. The “Randonnée” series, dedicated by Zimmermann to places of injustice, includes Baile de la Conquista (1996), the compositions Parasit/Paraklet (1995), which refer to the wars in former Yugoslavia, and Nordwest-­ Passage (1995), which is based on failed expeditions in the Arctic region. In the latter two, regional maps marked with the locations of historical events form the blueprint for the compositions. In 2019, Zimmermann resumed his work with maps. The drawing of a Paris map6 posted online by Patrizia Bach, on which she had added the symbols “ennui” etc. on the respective locations of the map created in Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, became the starting point for the musical elaboration Wegweiser (2019) in the style of the “valse musette”. The result is a three-stage work of commemoration – from Walter Benjamin to Patrizia Bach to Walter Zimmermann – expressing the transformative character as well as the poetic nature of recollection.

1 Werner Klüppelholz, “Gedächtnisschwund und Kritikfähigkeit. Walter Zimmermann im Gespräch über die Acht­ undsechziger mit ­Werner Klüppelholz” (“Memory loss and the ability to accept criticism: Walter Zimmermann in conversation with Werner Klüppelholz on the protest generation”), Musiktexte 165 (May 2020), p. 55. 2 Albert Beier, Walter Zimmermann. Nomade in den Zeiten (Hofheim: Wolke Verlag, 2014), p. 97. 3 Zimmermann, in Klüppelholz, “Memory loss and the ability to accept criticism”, p. 59. 4 Walter Zimmermann, “Continental Divide”, in Walter ­Z immermann, Insel Musik (Cologne: Beginner Press, 1981), pp. 156–65, online: schriften-writings/continental-divide 5 Published in Walter Zimmermann, Desert Plants: Conversations with 23 American Musicians (Vancouver: Awathetic Research Centre of Canada, 1976). 6 Patrizia Bach, Walter Benjamin Paris City Map, 2012–17.

JULIA GERLACH is secretary of the Music Section of the Akademie der Künste.

←   Walter Zimmermann, Baile de la Conquista, sketch for the first movement of Mitla, 1996 → Walter Zimmermann, Wegweiser, map/score, 2019 ↓  Walter Zimmermann, Wegweiser, map/score, 2019, using Patrizia Bach‘s work Walter Benjamin Paris City Map, pencil, coloured pencil, and fineliner on paper, 2012–17, approx. 100 x 150 cm, available at Projekte/Walter-Benjamin-Passagen/Paris/





The estate of architect Werner Düttmann (1921–83) includes an unusual drawing, the genesis of which was previously unknown. The A3 sheet contains twelve numbered fields with small sketches. Dashed lines divide the twelve images into four columns and indicate a vertical reading direction contrary to the numbering. Field 1 shows a portrait of a man, contemplatively putting his hand to his head; this is followed by floor plans, exterior views, and interiors. Only the fifth field has been left blank – a mysterious gap in the storyboard before us. But what story is being told here, for whom is it meant, and in what context did it come about? Düttmann’s drawing style – his quick yet strong lines – is unmistakable. He draws his own likeness in field 1; we know those thick-rimmed glasses from photographs. This is followed by a selection of his buildings: Field 2 depicts the Brücke-Museum (1966) surrounded by tall pine trees, 2a is clearly recognisable as its floor plan, and 3 shows an interior view there. Field 4 depicts the interior of a church; here too, the floor plan reveals that it is St Agnes in Kreuzberg (1966). Fields 6 and 7 display the Academy building at Hanseatenweg (1960), and 8 gives an orthogonal view of the large dining area of the cafeteria at the Berlin University of Technology (1966). This is followed by Ku’damm Eck in field 9 (1972) and Kreuzberg Mehringplatz in fields 10, 11, and 11a (1977). Finally, we arrive at field 12: the parish church of St Martin in the Märkisches Viertel (1973). Apart from Mehringplatz, the floor plans are always included. Here, we instead see a bird’s-eye view to the north in the direction of Friedrichstraße and thus an overview of the urban scenery. Clearly, a chronological arrangement of the chosen architecture, realised over a period of seventeen years, was not what had been intended. Neither does a topographical or a typological grouping make immediate sense. These buildings exclusively concern Düttmann’s Berlin buildings, as he mainly built in his hometown. So, do the buildings follow each other freely and in no par-


ticular order? Düttmann himself once praised Peter Pfankuch’s Academy catalogue on Hans Scharoun’s buildings, because he “put them in an order that does not simply follow the chronology or another system of order that is as popular as it is mindless, showing the works according to the building task. He established the connections in terms of meaning.” In terms of meaning, the connections implied by the sequencing of the sheet in question only become clear from the context in which it was created: It was prepared by Düttmann as the layout template for a brochure, ­preserved elsewhere in his estate. This small booklet, without an imprint or other publishing information and set in Helvetica, only bears its title – his name and the names of some of his colleagues – its location, and a date: “W. DÜTTMANN G. HEINRICHS P. J. KLEIHUES H. CH. MÜLLER J. J. SAWADE O. M. UNGERS BERLIN 1977.” Without any introduction, the brochure begins with Düttmann’s contribution that consists of a sequence of black-and-white photographs in the same order as his portrait and the buildings already known from the A3 drawing – but without numbering. The puzzling, blank field 5 from the template contains the architect’s short curriculum vitae. This, as well as some brief information on the buildings under the photos, is written in English; the contributions by his colleagues follow seamlessly. In 1977, Lieselotte Ungers had edited the German– English catalogue, 1776–1976. Two Hundred Years ­Berlin: Examples of the History of Building in Berlin, in the form of a comparable picture story with commentary, and the six protagonists of the brochure selected the buildings chosen for after 1900. This catalogue was a contribution to the “Berlin-Now” programme of the Goethe House, New York, in spring 1977, in which the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, was also involved and which The New York Times called “A Starburst of Culture from Berlin”. The topic of urbanism was also discussed as part of the event, and both Düttmann and his colleagues gave lectures at the Cooper Hewitt Museum under the title “Berlin – Profile of a Metropolis”. At the same time, they presented their most important Berlin-based buildings and projects in a small exhibition, on the occasion of which the brochure was published. The buildings by Düttmann and his architect friends show early signs of a canonisation of post-war modernism in Berlin – although this did not prevent many of these buildings from being disfigured or even demolished. Düttmann did not create this layout template nor the drawings from memory, but rather had fun tracing existing illustrations, photographs, and floor plans. He traced his preferred photos of his favourite buildings – and those

of himself – producing with his selections an unusual medial sequence, which thus circles back to the designer making the drawings. The layout of Düttmann’s buildings on the sheet follows the logic of the brochure – which was produced in Japanese binding – in A4/2 format. Each architect had two A4 sheets, which were printed on one side and folded. This meant that the fields in the first vertical row are read from top to bottom, those in the middle two vertical rows form the double page in the booklet and are read downward in pairs over the fold, with the last row being read downward again. It only now becomes evident that the order was typologically motivated: In the last row, Düttmann groups his “hall buildings” together; he obviously considered the church interior and the cafeteria to be related building tasks, intended for people with a common interest coming together in one space. Düttmann may have chosen Ku’damm Eck on the first page because it was his “most American” building – a shopping mall with a state-of-the-art media wall. And the contemplative gesture also becomes clear when compared to the photographic template: The hand on his head is actually holding a cigarette.

SIBYLLE HOIMAN is the head of the Architecture Archives of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.

On 6 March 2021, Berlin architect and urban planner, as well as long-time Academy President, Werner Düttmann (1921–83) would have celebrated his hundredth birthday. The Academy is taking this anniversary as an occasion to celebrate the individual and his work. The Akademie der Künste building at Hanseatenweg, built by Düttmann, will host a satellite of the “Werner Düttmann Berlin. Bau. Werk” exhibition conceived by the Brücke-Museum in cooperation with the Akademie der Künste and taking place at the Brücke-­Museum from 6 March to 11 July 2021. In addition to the exhibition catalogue and for the first time, Düttmann’s writings on architecture and urban planning will be compiled in a book to be published by the Architecture Archive: Werner Düttmann. Nachdenken über Architektur, edited by Sibylle Hoiman, on behalf of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin.



Katalin Madácsi-Laube

The magnetic effect Berlin had on Hungarian intellectuals began in the 1970s and continues to this day. The “frontline city” between East and West attracted writers and regime critics such as Imre Kertész, György Konrád, Péter Esterházy, and Péter Nádas almost magically. “Berlin’s situation was defined by the Cold War for forty years”, Kertész wrote in retrospect. “When Western European tourists felt the urge to find out what this actually meant, they would come to Berlin and look at the Wall. I did the same, but from the other side, as an Eastern European. When the idea of a united ­Germany – even of a united Europe – was still nothing more than a beautiful dream, Berlin seemed in the eyes of many to be Europe’s most European city, precisely because of its threatened situation.”1 The authors made their way to a city that had been shaped first by decades of division, then by reunification, and which was becoming increasingly important as the adopted home or place of exile of Eastern European writers. Being in East Berlin also made their works more accessible to a German-speaking audience, and cross-border experiences and contacts were made possible by invitations from cultural institutions in West Berlin. All four authors were – albeit at different times – guests of the German Academic Exchange (DAAD) artists-in-Berlin programme. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, they were awarded fellowships at the Wissenschaftskolleg, which facilitated longer working stays in Berlin.2 Admission to the Akademie der Künste was a token of recognition for their literary works as well as for the cross-border dialogue between European literatures.3


Imre Kertész and Péter Nádas, Budapest, 1998. Photo: Isolde Ohlbaum

György Konrád and Péter Esterházy at the Akademie der Künste on the occasion of the spring plenum in May 1999. Photo: Marianne Fleitmann

While Westward-looking Hungarian writers in around 1900 were drawn towards Paris, and artists initially strove to experience this city’s flair first-hand, after the Second World War, Berlin – first divided and then reunited – increasingly superseded Paris. This was true even though French literature had enormous influence in Hungary in the post-war period. Albert Camus’ prose and the works of the Nouveau Roman were equally seminal for Konrád, Kertész, and Nádas. But Berlin became a place of wide-ranging experiences for newcomers and presented history to them in its most contradictory manifestations. With regard to the artists’ programme, one can rightly speak of benefits on both sides, as Ilma Rakusa writes in the epilogue to a volume gathering the literary fruits of Hungarian visitors’ encounters with Berlin. For “what the city offered did not go unreciprocated. Converted into literature, it has become an exploration, even a homage.”4 In 1964, Imre Kertész was the first of the four writers to set foot on Berlin soil. Driven by compositional difficulties with his “deportation novel”, he travelled to East Germany full of expectations, and embarked on the memory trail of his time as a prisoner. These impressions then gave rise to the idea for his story The Pathseeker. In 1980, he visited East Germany a second time before, at the invitation of the Goethe-Institut, he was able to spend three weeks in West Germany for the first time in 1983 as a translator of German literature. Parallel to his Berlin scholarship in 1993, the already 64-year-old author witnessed his first major success across Germany, prompting him to say: “Basically, it was in Germany that I became a writer.”5 Because of this mutual interest, Berlin became his “adopted home”. He spent more than a decade in the city where, in his words, “one can experience the present and the path that led to it more intensely” than anywhere else in Europe.6 Péter Nádas captured the “greyness” of East Berlin in the mid1970s in two ways: with his own eyes and with the lens of his camera. Starting in 1972, Nádas travelled to East Germany several times and followed 30-year-old traces, at the same age and with a similar dilemma as Kertész. In an essay, he reflects on how this journey was the “stage set for his emotions”.7 His A Book of ­Memories describes the “bleak grey” streets and the “decrepit” splendour of the war-ravaged city with such precision that the “undoubtedly gifted author” was described in an East Berlin editorial report as a “sensitive connoisseur of Berlin” who knows the “old city districts […] with their streets and intimate corners, their history and old names”. Nádas describes the “atmosphere of this city (or part of it) as a whole, its houses, landings and flats, but also the feelings of its inhabitants” so aptly, “unembellished”, and ­without “taboos” that the “local reader” is likely to be deeply touched, “because the author articulates what almost everyone in Berlin knows or feels, but has more or less expunged from their consciousness in every instance”. Although the report’s appraiser testifies to the novel’s “fascination” and “appeal”, he considers publication in East Germany to be hardly “feasible”.8 Nádas used his stays in Berlin – including those as a guest of the DAAD in 1981/82 and of the Wissenschaftskolleg in 2002/03, where he worked on his monumental Parallel Stories – for extensive research.


He read everything he could find on the Nazi period, the concentration camps, and the Shoah. In his work report, he wrote in 2003: “Because of this, I literally suffered a physical and mental breakdown for six long weeks.” György Konrád’s encounters with Germany began with a West Berlin scholarship in 1977. While he was banned from publishing his work in Hungary, his books issued by Suhrkamp in the West were all the better known. Five years later, he again spent a whole year in Berlin as a fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg. The dissident explored West Berlin with his characteristic cheerfulness and noted the historical and political peculiarities of a city where the air is “more ozone-laden, death more fleeting and the cemeteries tidier” than in his Hungarian homeland. He did not fail to pay tribute to West Berliners for “not having anything to do with the decadence of entropy, with neglect or with resignation”. Even though he felt great affection for the “rendezvous city”, where he was able to meet numerous writers, artists, and intellectuals, he also registered the “impermanence” of this “fault line where epochs and civilisations rub up against each other”.9 As a political essayist, Konrád always boldly expressed his opinions on issues of world politics, called for a peaceful resolution to the Cold War, and unfolded his vision of a democratic central Europe. For this, too, he was elected president of the Akademie der Künste after the fall of the Wall. Péter Esterházy first came to West Berlin in 1980, three years after Konrád. Only 30 years old, he had just made his breakthrough in Hungary with his Production Novel and, by his own admission, moved around the city with playful ease. He often caught himself in the role of the “stupid Westerner”, although everyone believed him to be, on the strength of his pronunciation, “a Turk”.10 His fellowship year, 1996/97, at the Wissenschaftskolleg became an important year for him in the midst of his work on his Harmonia Cælestis.11 In the period thereafter, he also pleasurably returned to the city to take the pulse of developments in Europe: “Anyone who talks about Berlin talks about Europe. Berlin was already an emblem, an emblem of scandal, the city of the Wall and the embarrassing embodiment of a divided Europe. Now, on the other hand, it is an emblem of the new, although we do not know what it is. The new Berlin is the city of this not knowing. The question now (and one seemingly shared by all) is what Berlin does with its past (from Schinkel to Speer, from Teutonia to Germania, one might put it), and what it does with itself, with its cut-in-twoness.”12 After the fall of the Wall, contemporaries’ view of the other half of divided Germany broadened, but the countries of the former Eastern Bloc also suddenly reappeared on the European map. Their literatures emerged from the “uniform grey” in which the political division of Europe had shrouded them. In this special historical situation, Rowohlt Berlin was launched in 1990 at the “point where East and West meet”, a publishing house whose programme was “a direct response to the collapse of communism in eastern Europe”. The publishing house’s “great coup” at the very beginning proved to be the signing of general contracts with Péter Nádas and Imre Kertész.13 Nádas’ A Book of Memories in 1991 and Kertész’ Kaddish for an Unborn Child in 1992 were huge successes and


door openers for further works and authors. At the same time, other publishing houses opened up to the literature of Hungary and Eastern Europe. Germany once again re-assumed its old role as a “translation nation since the 18th century”, becoming, according to the literary critic Lothar Müller, a catalyst in the “interlinking of the ‘large’ and ‘small’ literatures of Europe”, as it had been at the beginning of the century.14 In the 1990s, interest in new Eastern European literature even went so far as to cause – in Müller’s view – the “great” French literature to lose ground, which until then had attracted a great deal of attention. This was in the face of “competition” from “entire literatures”, and above all Hungarian – with Nádas, Kertész, Esterházy, and Konrád.15 In view of these develop­ ments in Hungarian–German literary relations, it can be said that not only did Berlin become the “new Paris” for numerous Hun­garian writers, but the Hungarians and their literature also became something like the “new French” for the Germans. After the transformation of world history in 1989, hitherto unknown stories, spaces, and landscapes became the subject of growing interest. And, thanks to the now-permeable borders, these in turn encouraged more journeys of discovery. When Hungary presented itself as a guest country at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1999, the four authors met their readers and critics as if on home territory. Thanks to programmes of artistic patronage, dedicated publishers, editors, and excellent translators, the long-established relationships have proved a success story. Then how can we explain the fascination in the works of­ Konrád, Esterházy, Nádas, and Kertész for the German-speaking, reading public? Admittedly, they reveal a striking diversity, so any comparisons may well prove fruitless. Yet each of them is a defender of the freedom of the individual, who sought his own aesthetic solution for modern prose during the “age of extremes”. All four authors based their art very closely on their own experiences and fortunes. In doing so, they succeeded in transforming what is profoundly their own story into something universally valid. Their themes met with an interested public at the right time and opened up new horizons in the lively debates on memory. What these authors tell is not only their story but also “our own story”, says the editor Katharina Raabe – from the German-language publisher’s point of view – “a story we did not yet know”.16

KATALIN MADÁCSI-LAUBE is in charge of the four writers’ archives. She is a research assistant at the Literary Archives and a native Hungarian speaker.


1 Imre Kertész, “Warum gerade Berlin?”, in Mónika Dózsai, et al., eds, “Berlin, meine Liebe. Schließen Sie bitte die Augen”. Ungarische Autoren schreiben über Berlin (Berlin: Matthes & Seitz, 2006), pp. 7–13, here p. 9.

9 Dózsai, “Berlin, meine Liebe”, pp. 79–101. 10

2 György Konrád was a guest of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, in 1982/83, before the fall of the Wall. 3 Konrád became a member of the Akademie der Künste in the western part of Berlin in 1991. After the 1993 merger, Péter Esterházy (1998), Imre Kertész (2003), and Péter Nádas (2006) were also elected to the Academy. 4 Dózsai, “Berlin, meine Liebe”, p. 235.

11 The Péter Esterházy Archive contains exten­sive research material from this year, for example on German-language “father literature” in a broader sense, which played a central role in his Harmonia Cælestis. 12 Péter Esterházy, “Berlin, mon amour” [1998], in A szabadság nehéz mámora, trans. Katalin Madácsi-Laube (Budapest: Magvető, 2003), pp. 141–44, here pp. 142 f. 13

5 Ibid. p. 7. 6 Ibid. p. 11. 7 Péter Nádas, “Berliner Grau” [1973], in Dózsai, “Berlin, meine Liebe”, pp. 211–17, here p. 213. Nádas followed 30-year-old traces of his friend and mentor, the Hungarian writer Miklós Mészöly, who fought against the Red Army under German command at Stargard in 1944; and of a friend, Grácia Kerényi – daughter of the religious scholar Karl Kerényi – who was, amongst other things, imprisoned in Ravensbrück concentration camp.

Péter Esterházy, “Der Ostwestdieb”, in Dózsai, “Berlin, meine Liebe”, pp. 187–90, here p. 189.

Katharina Raabe, “Der erlesene Raum. Literatur im östlichen Mitteleuropa seit 1989”, Ost­europa, 2–3 (2009), pp. 205–27, here pp. 206 f. In English: Katharina Raabe, “As the fog lifted: Literature in eastern central Europe since 1989”, Eurozine (8 Oct. 2009),

14 Lothar Müller, “Ein Raum wird weit”, Süddeutsche Zeitung (6 Nov. 2019). 15 Ibid. 16 Raabe, “Der erlesene Raum”, p. 212.

8 Verlagsarchiv (Publishing archive) Volk und Welt, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, VuW, No. 3925: Editorial report on the “Buch der Gedenkschriften” (Emlékiratok könyve) by Péter Nádas, 27 July 1987.

In 2020, the Akademie der Künste acquired the archives of written works of two outstanding European writers: Péter Esterházy (1950–2016) and Péter Nádas (*1942). The holdings broaden the focus on Central and Eastern European literature established by the estates of the Hungarian Nobel Prize winner Imre Kertész (1929– 2016) and the writer and former president of the Akademie der Künste, György Konrád (1933– 2019). The documents they contain reflect, in exemplary fashion, literary engagement with the upheavals of the 20th century: the experience of the Holocaust, the suppression of freedom of expression and intellectual autonomy in the socialist states, and the political and social change in Hungary and Central Eastern Europe since the 1990s. Common to all authors were their efforts to secure a cross-border dialogue with other European intellectuals. Their works were also read and were well received in Germany. Their transnational correspondence illustrates the intellectual network of these writers and Academy members, and attests to their friendship. The future task of the archives will be to encourage fellowships and research projects in order to facilitate its international use.

CALENDAR PAGES 1696–2021: 325 years of tradition? The history of the Akademie der Künste is not a straightforward one, but one punctuated by drama and change. It is marked by the transformation of a training establishment into an international community of artists, by new departures and stagnations, by governmental coercion and the assertion of self-administration, as well as by discourses on the arts. The Academy is taking its anniversary as an opportunity to look back and to illuminate the current situation.

Calendar pages highlight the events that shaped the life of the artists’ community as watershed moments or provide snapshots of its history. These include outstanding events such as its founding, the Gleichschaltung (enforcement of totalitarian ideology) under National Socialism, the unification of the academies in East and West, and the return to Pariser Platz. Events seemingly unspectacular at first glance are also examined from today’s perspective. Members and staff are taking

individual dates as an opportunity to look back. The outcome is a series of personal miniatures and viewpoints that make no claim to be complete or to provide an overview. The calendar pages are published online on the respective dates on the Akademie der Künste website ( and on its social media channels. Werner Heegewaldt


1. Who is commemorated by this bust in the Plenary Hall of the Akademie der Künste at Pariser Platz 4?

2. Who was Jeanette Nohren?

3. What is the Triumphal Arch of Septimius Severus from Rome doing at the Akademie der Künste?

4. What do these cardboard boxes have to do with the Archives of the Akademie der Künste?

5. What does this photograph depict?

6. Who is this man shrouded in smoke, and what was his position at the Academy?

7. What happened on 20 September 1993?

8. What is being celebrated here?

9. What is the significance of this picture of an Italian villa?

Solutions on the inside back cover.





In March 2021, the Akademie der Künste, Berlin is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the birth of the author Heinrich Mann (1871–1950) with the launch of the international project “Heinrich Mann DIGITAL”.

Erich Büttner, Heinrich Mann. Heringsdorf, 13 August 1928. Drawing, Akademie der Künste, Berlin


Heinrich Mann’s literary estate is scattered all over the world. His manuscripts, notebooks, and letters are spread among several archives and libraries in Berlin, Lübeck, and Marbach, in Geneva and Zurich, as well as in Prague and Los Angeles.1 The bulk of the estate is kept at the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, and is part of the founding collection of the Literature Archives established in 1950 by Alfred Kantorowicz at the East Berlin Academy. This fragmentation is no accident and is primarily due to Heinrich Mann’s life, which was shaped by the turning points of the 20th century. After his expulsion from the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin, of which he had been a member since 1926,2 Heinrich Mann fled Germany to escape the National Socialists on 21 February 1933. His books, today among the most important works of German literature, were burned in Munich and Berlin three months later. Mann lived in exile until his death, in places including Nice, Los Angeles, and Santa Monica. In 1949, he was elected president of the newly founded Deutsche Akademie der Künste zu Berlin in East Berlin but died in California on 11 March 1950 before returning to Germany. The Academy succeeded in bringing together four large parts of his estate and gradually acquired further manuscripts, letters, and family papers from other sources.3 The global dispersion of his estate, however, could not be prevented.

A draft, a version, and a typescript of the 1911 drama Schau­spielerin (“Actress”) are in Berlin, Marbach, and Prague. In Lübeck and ­Berlin are notes, a version, and a corrected private print of the 1918 novel Der Untertan (“Man of Straw”), which made the writer famous overnight. Notes, drafts, and a version of the 1919 Napoleon play Der Weg zur Macht (“The Way to Power”) are kept in Los Angeles, Munich, and Berlin, and notes and a version of the 1935 novel Die Jugend des Königs Henri Quatre (Young Henry of Navarre) in Los Angeles and Berlin. The fragmentation of his legacy is even more evident in his correspondence, with parts of his letters scattered among different archives. For example, one letter Mann wrote from Riva to his fiancée Inés Schmied on 23 June 1905 ended up partly at the Buddenbrookhaus in Lübeck, while the final lines found their way to the Berlin Academy (cf. Fig.).4 To this day, the transnational distribution of work, manuscripts, and letters – as well as the lack of an index of all of Heinrich Mann’s manuscripts and typescripts – has made it difficult to search for material on specific works or for letters. A project of international cooperation aims to remedy this situation by bringing together these parts of the extensive Heinrich Mann estate into a single portal for the first time. In the first phase, about 30,000 documents of the collection at the Akademie der Künste will be scanned by the end of 2021. These include work manuscripts, notebooks, biographical

Heinrich Mann, Letter to Inés Schmied, Riva, 23 June 1905 Pages 1 and 4: Heinrich-and-Thomas-Mann-Zentrum, Buddenbrookhaus Lübeck. Pages 5 and 7: Akademie der Künste, Berlin.



documents, photographs, documents on family history, and works of visual art. All digitised items will then be published in the Academy’s digital showcase under the free CC0 1.0 licence (https:// Publication is possible because Heinrich Mann died seventy years ago, and his work has thus entered the public domain. A rapid overview is facilitated by tables of contents and metadata generated from the archive database and enriched with authority data, which provide information on the content, as well as material­ based and archival details of the various items. In addition, the integration of transcriptions will not only allow full-text searches, but also aid the reading of the texts, all of which are handwritten. In the second phase, a portal will be created at which the Berlin collection will be virtually united with the parts of Mann’s estate held by other institutions. Access will be flexible and take into account users’ varying interests: searchable by work and its heritage as well as by keywords, places, persons, and locations. For the first time, it will be possible to view all of the dispersed holdings, independently of location, across archives, and systematically. The archive portal is being developed as a modular system so that extensions are possible, for example bringing together the letters to and from Heinrich Mann or linking the 4,710 volumes of his library. By establishing the “Heinrich Mann DIGITAL” portal, the Academy is creating an important platform for Heinrich Mann research in the 21st century. It also provides a stimulus for research into life in exile and into provenance and writing processes, as well as for the reconstruction of the widely ramified and complicated paths of origin of his works. Last but not least, the virtual consolidation of Heinrich Mann’s estate is an important prerequisite for any forward-looking edition of his works which, thanks to digital processing – in contrast to the printed editions – encompasses all drafts, versions, and printings. For the first time, this facilitates comprehensive production-oriented research, geared to Heinrich Mann’s dynamic method of reworking parts of his texts after their first publication.

The digitisation of the Heinrich Mann collection in the archives of the Akademie der Künste is being funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) for a twelve-month period and is being realised by the Literature Archives and the Media Services, IT/Long-term Archiving, and Conservation departments. The virtual “Heinrich Mann DIGITAL” portal is being created in cooperation with the Heinrich Mann-­ Gesellschaft (Heinrich Mann Society) in Lübeck, the Feuchtwanger Memorial Library (FML, University of Southern California), the German Literature Archive in Marbach, ETH Zurich, the Heinrich and Thomas Mann Centre in Lübeck (Buddenbrookhaus, BBH), the Czech Literature Archive in Prague, the Fondation Martin Bodmer in Geneva, and the Monacensia in Munich, as well as in consultation with ongoing edition projects and with the publishers S. Fischer and Aisthesis. 1 Cf. Peter Stein, Heinrich Mann (Weimar: Verlag J.B. Metzler, 2002), pp. 163 ff. 2 Cf. Ariane Martin, “Heinrich Mann und die Akademie”, Journal der Künste, 6 (April 2018), pp. 46–49. 3 Cf. Christina Möller, “Nun liegen sie im Regen, meine Manuskripte”, Zur Bestandsgeschichte des HeinrichMann-Archivs, in Heinrich Mann Jahrbuch, 20 (2002), pp. 167–95. 4 I am grateful to Ariane Martin for drawing my attention to this.

GABRIELE RADECKE is a literary and edition scholar and has been head of the Literature Archives of the Akademie der Künste, since October 2020.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will open “The Year of Heinrich Mann” with a ceremonial video message on 25 March 2021. Under the title “Thinker, Poet, Democrat: Heinrich Mann’s 150th birthday”, Matthias Brandt and Jenny Schily read letters and partly unpublished texts in a live stream, and the pianist Matan Porat plays works by Debussy. Based on the most important places of Heinrich Mann’s activities, the virtual exhibition “Heinrich Mann DIGITAL: Life, work, estate – a trans­ national reconstruction”, developed by the Literature Archives, tells the story of the estate and presents the international cooperation project “Heinrich Mann DIGITAL”. The presentation ( will go live online on 25 March. The highlight of this commemorative event will be the awarding of the Heinrich Mann Prize by the president of the Akademie der Künste, Jennine Meerapfel, on 27 March. Two prizes will be awarded this year, to Eva Horn (2020) and to Kathrin Passig (2021).

Marta Feuchtwanger, Heinrich Mann, N.N., and Lion Feuchtwanger on the occasion of the celebration of Heinrich Mann‘s sixtieth birthday. Berlin, April 12, 1931.


Live streams at akademiederkuenste



Sara Örtel

By collecting documents and other items relating to the work of theatres during the pandemic, the Performing Arts Archive is laying the foundations for research into theatre practice during this exceptional period.

How will we go to the theatre in twenty years’ time? Will we still go to the playhouse, opera house, or concert hall? Or will we instead have the performance streamed straight to our VR headsets with Dolby Surround Sound at home? Will we then be able to decide whether to see the Hamburg or the Munich production of Hamlet, or even an international one? Will we watch the performance from the virtual auditorium, or will we be able to choose from different angles and follow the action from the different points of view of the actors on stage? Will the theatre not only experiment with new technologies in response to the current hygiene measures, which have resulted in restricted and suspended performances, but also establish new ways of reaching audiences in the long term? Or will we still be sitting in the auditorium


twenty or thirty years from now, as we did one hundred years ago – shoulder to shoulder with other members of the audience who are not from the same household and who breathe, laugh, clear their throats, cough, or comment on what they are seeing? Theatre productions as we know them are unlikely to vanish completely. However, it is to be feared that cultural institutions and especially the performing arts will acutely feel the economic pinch caused by the pandemic. The large, well-subsidised theatres will probably survive the slump and continue to be supported and in demand. But many theatres will not survive this period or will at least have to adopt tough austerity measures. What this will mean for the diversity of cultural offerings as well as for artistic, aesthetic, and economic decisions is cur-


rently as impossible to predict as which of the current attempts to integrate digital technologies will prevail in the long term. Analogue and digital may perhaps coexist in the future. Maybe a new genre will even emerge from the currently evolving digital programmes – adding digital theatre to drama, opera, and dance. Staatstheater Augsburg is already doing pioneering work in the digital sector and has been developing virtual reality productions from a 360-degree perspective for its digital repertoire, and not just since the shutdown precipitated by Covid-19. At present, we can only speculate whether this is where the future of theatre lies, or at least an area that future theatre will additionally venture into. It is conceivable that here, as elsewhere in society, the pandemic will act as an accelerator of changes that are already taking place, and thus also influence the self-conception and practice of the performing arts. It will be possible to answer this question only in retrospect, when theatre has returned to normal, when the coronavirus pandemic is over. At the end of 2020, the Performing Arts Archive decided to establish a Theatre in the Pandemic Collection to collate and preserve documents and other items related to the current crisis situation and its effects on the German theatre scene, as an exemplary repository of these documents which will facilitate future research. For, in future, the digital programmes currently on offer are unlikely to be universally and boundlessly available. Much of this content – streamed performances, digital fringe programmes, and discussion series – is broadcast live, or is made available for a limited time only and cannot be accessed on demand. This material must be preserved and archived in the long term. In addition, the aim is to collect documents that describe how the current pandemic-related protective measures are changing working conditions at German theatres; material on how theatres are adapting their programmes; and information on funding programmes and cultural policy decisions. It is inevitable that this kind of project will face practical limits, such as those imposed by the sheer abundance of German theatres and orchestras. According to the Deutscher Bühnenverein (German Stage Association), there are around 140 theatres supported by the public sector, 200 private theatres, 130 opera, symphony, and chamber orchestras, 80 festivals, 600 theatre venues without permanent ensembles, and 400 touring theatre and guest performance companies without their own permanent venues. This scale makes a comprehensive and nationwide collection of relevant documents practically impossible, which is why the aim is to be selective while remaining as representative as possible. The collection will reflect the diversity of the German the­atre scene by including examples of drama, opera, and dance, representing all the above-mentioned areas, and including venues from all over Germany, not only in major cities, but also in smaller towns. This broad selection is important, because it already became apparent during the first suspension of operations in the spring of 2020 that the theatres, with their differing artistic programmes and practical requirements, were responding to the situation in different ways. Some, such as Berlin’s Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz, have brought the great classics of Regietheater out of the archives by streaming recordings of historical productions, such as the premiere of Klaus Michael Grüber’s Antikenprojekt, performed at the Berlin exhibition


grounds in 1974, thus generating an international demand for online offerings – as has Munich’s Kammerspiele, which streamed a diverse programme of current productions at the end of Matthias Lilienthal’s directorship. Theater Oberhausen and Zimmertheater Tübingen have presented plays planned for the stage as audio walks: Elfriede Jelinek’s Prinzessinnendramen, directed by Paulina Neukampf, and Hannah Zufall’s Freund Hein, directed by the author herself. Even during the ban on events, Deutsches Theater Göttingen continued to perform to its audience on site, in strict compliance with the hygiene measures. Antje Thoms made this possible by creating a drive-through theatre in the venue’s underground car park for the production Die Methode, based on Juli Zeh’s 2009 novel Corpus Delicti; admission only in your own car. Since the start of the 2020/21 season, most theatres have not only developed hygiene concepts that allow them to perform to an audience, but also integrated digital formats into their repertoires. In doing so, they have prepared for the impossibility of returning to normal operations during the pandemic. Where this accelerated drive towards digitalisation – partly supported by state funding programmes running into the millions – will take the theatre and its audiences is still unclear. In a few years’ time, we will know whether the coronavirus pandemic represents a demarcation line in the performing arts field and whether the term “post-pandemic theatre”, which is increasingly being used, will establish a practice that is clearly distinct from pre-pandemic theatre. Or will it remain an episode, a discretely defined historical state of emergency? By establishing its Theatre in the Pandemic Collection and thus preserving the records for the future, the Performing Arts Archive aims to accompany theatres on this journey. SARA ÖRTEL is a research associate at the Performing Arts Archives (Production Documentation) of the Akademie der Künste.

Contact for the collection:

P. 73  Roman Majewski in Antje Thoms’s drive-through theatre production Die Methode, based on the play Corpus Delicti by Juli Zeh, in the underground car park of the Deutsches Theater Göttingen in May 2020. photo: Thomas M. Jauk

SOLUTIONS/PHOTO CREDITS, p. 69 1. Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg (1657–1713), from 1701 Frederick I, King of Prussia, who founded the Academie der Mahl-, Bild- und Baukunst in Berlin in 1696. The fragment is part of a sculpture by Johann Christoph Döbel from the beginning of the 18th century, which was at the Academy from 1792. All but the head was destroyed in World War II. – Photo Kerstin Marth, 2021. Akademie der Künste, Berlin, KS-Plastik fol. no. PL 127 2. The pastel painter and art embroiderer Jeanette Nohren, von Sydow by her married name (1756–92), was the first woman to be admitted to the Akademie der Künste. She was a student of Daniel Chodowiecki and made a name for herself as a portraitist. The picture is of a page from the register. – Akademie der Künste, Berlin, PrAdK no. 1433_10 3. The cork model by Antonio Chichi (1743–1816), executed in around 1786, served as a study object for visual artists and architects. It is one of the oldest exhibits at the Academy. – Akademie der Künste, Berlin, ASPrAdK 1, architectural drawings and models of the Prussian Academy of the Arts, no. 1. 4. The founding of the Heinrich Mann Archive in 1950 marked the start of the collection of archives on individual artists at the Akademie der Künste. The “American estate” of Heinrich Mann, writer and Academy president-designate, arrived in Prague in these boxes in 1956 and was transferred from there to the Akademie der Künste (East) in 1958. – Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Foto-­ AdK-O, no. 4204_002 5. The photograph depicts a view from the west of the Akademie der Künste (East) at Pariser Platz 4 in around 1970. While a fire gutted the front part of the building following an air raid on 18 March 1945, the rear buildings were preserved and later became home to the masterclass studios, the Archives, and a number of offices. The advance wall of the Berlin Wall ran directly in front of the building. – Photo Petra Matzat, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Foto-AdK-O, no. 4271 6. The picture shows the architect Hans Scharoun (1893–1972) who was the first president of the newly founded Akademie der Künste (West) in Berlin from 1958 to 1968. The portrait, painted by Bernhard Boes and dating from 1970, is in the Reading Room of the Academy at Pariser Platz. – Photo Kerstin Marth, 2021. Akademie der Künste, Berlin, KS-Gemälde, fol. no. 183

7. This was the day the ratification document was signed for the state treaty on the unified Berlin-Brandenburg Akademie der Künste. The photo shows Berlin’s Senator for Culture, Ulrich Roloff-Momin, and Brandenburg’s Minister for Culture and Science, Hinrich Enderlein, exchanging documents. The unification was the result of fierce disputes within and outside the artistic community and served at times as a proxy debate on German reunification. – Photo Marianne Fleitmann, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Foto-AdK-W, no. 4707_001 8. The topping-out ceremony for the new Akademie der Künste building at Pariser Platz 4 was performed on 26 April 2002. With its inauguration in 2005, the Academy moved back to its historic location in the centre of Berlin. – Photo: Manfred Mayer 9. This is a photograph of the Villa ­S erpentara in Olevano, south of Rome. It was built at the beginning of the 20th century by the sculptor Heinrich Gerhardt and left by him to the Akademie der Künste in 1914 for the training of artists. – Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Foto-­P rAdK, no. 930



pp. 3–13 photos Maurice Weiss/OSTKREUZ | pp. 16–24 photos Sebastian Wells/OSTKREUZ | p. 28 (bottom) photo Nataša von Kopp, (middle and top) ­p hotos children of the KUNSTWELTEN-­ Workshops | p. 32 photo Stedelijik ­M useum Amsterdam (source: Nam June Paik. Werke aus der Sammlung des ZKM, exhibition catalogue, Karlsruhe, 2009); p. 33 idea: Siegfried Zielinski, graphic design: Clemens Jahn (Berlin); p. 34 ­i mages from Peter Weibel, Siegfried Zielinski, Amador Vega (eds.), Dia-Logos: ­Ramon Llull’s Method of Thought and ­Artistic Practice, Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2018; p. 35 photo Jorit Aust, images from Christoph Steinbrener (ed.), Unternehmen Capricorn, Vienna: ­Triton, 2001 | p. 37 photo Suzushi Hanayagi © Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation; p. 38 © Eduardo Molinari/ Archivo Caminante | pp. 40–47 © Candice Breitz, p. 41 (middle, bottom) Collection S.M.A.K., Gent, https://smak. be/en/exhibitions/pense-bete © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021; (right) BBC; p. 42 photo Tomas Rydin; p. 43 (middle) Tübingen University Library, signature: Ma VI 32 (fol. 96v), reprinted with kind permission; p. 45 photo Saverio Cantoni; p. 48 (top) Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Werner Düttmann Archive, no. 455 Pl. 34/14; (bottom) © bpk; p. 50 (top) photo Heinz Junge, Federal Archives image 183-19860424-304; (bottom) photo wikimedia, Ernstol, CC BY-SA 4.0; p. 51 © Sauerbruch Hutton | p. 52 © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021, © photo Ute Schendel, p. 53 © Kempowski Stiftung, photo Roman März | p. 54 © Emeka Ogboh | pp. 58, 59 Courtesy Stockhausen Foundation | pp. 61, 62, 63 (top) © Walter Zimmermann; p. 63 (bottom) © Walter Zimmermann, Patrizia Bach p. 65 Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Werner Düttmann Archive, no. 385 p. 66 (top) photo Isolde Ohlbaum; (bottom) Marianne Fleitmann | p. 70 Erich Büttner, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, KS-Zeichnungen, fol.-no. HZ 2594; p. 71 (from top): sheet 1+2 ­H einrich-und-Thomas-Mann-Zentrum, Buddenbrookhaus Lübeck, a257.4, sheet 3+4 Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Heinrich Mann Archive, no. 731; p. 72 photo Erich Salomon, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Heinrich Mann Archive, no. 3713 | p. 73 photo Thomas M. Jauk

Journal der Künste, Edition 15, English issue Berlin, March 2021 Print run: 800

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