About EN



In 2016, Kontext Labor Bernau will take place for the third consecutive year. Beginning in the middle of April, eight artists from five different countries will be developing and realizing their artistic projects in the housing block settlement of Bernau-Süd. Their different artistic and cultural activities focus on the inclusion of residents of Bernau-Süd. Kontext Labor Bernau aspires to aesthetically stimulate and challenge this socio-cultural space in an enduring way.

Residents with a Russian-German background will be working together with artist Janina Neugebauer from Kazakhstan to realize a fragmentary documentary film, entitled Gut angekommen im Wilden Westen? (Arrived well in the Wild West?), which will aim to document and question memories of the fall of the Iron Curtain and the participants’ arrival in Germany. Chinese artist, Jiaying Wu, plans to explore the question of social and mental uniqueness with use of a camera obscura, or pinhole camera. With his mobile painting studio, the Columbian artist Juan Camilo Alfonso will collect Bernau residents’ personal stories and paint selected elements in his project Bilder neuer Geschichten (Picturing New Stories). Working together with younger Bernauer residents, the German artist Lukas Gruber plans to produce a lightshow for a unique event of projections on the housing blocks in his project Lichtwerkstadt (Lightworkshop). The German artist Natalie Obert draws upon artistic and scientific research methods to investigate Bernau-Süd, and will present her findings in the Kantorhaus. With the help of a photo booth, and in cooperation with local youth, German artist Katrina Blach plans to explore notions of “self” and “other” in her project, Ver(sch)wende deine Zeit (Spend Your Time). The German-Turkish artist Yüksel Hayirli will open up an outdoor living room and, together with residents, produce and publish a local newspaper in his project, Was ist los Bernau-Süd?(What´s up in Bernau-Süd?). With his project M.G. & C.F. Art Guides, Moritz Gramming from Germany plans to groom a group of Bernau residents to become expert guides of the 9th Berlin Biennale, so that they might bring their newly-won understanding of contemporary art back to Bernau with a lasting impact.

As in previous years, the participating artists will focus on local history and individual stories of Bernau residents. In 2014 and 2015, it was particularly those projects dealing with history, with memories and their preservation, which drew much interest and were successful in integrating the community. Similarly well-received were the projects dedicated to the perception of recent history and those which focused on community-building.

Kontext Labor Bernau has been conceived to focus upon precisely these thematic elements, to create space for exchange between townspeople and international artists. The project is an extension of the fields of study of the MA Program Art in Context at the University of the Arts Berlin, in which artists explore the potential of participatory and temporary art practices in urban and social space.

Planned as a 3-year project, Kontext Labor Bernau has sought to support the cultural life of Bernau’s residents. Reaching out to individuals and groups who have previously tended not to participate in culture has been an explicit goal. Addressed are not only new audiences, but active audiences. With this project, we seek to extend and improve the quality of life in this unique small town.

In the past two years, 16 artistic projects have been developed and realized in Bernau’s public space. Each project ran over the course of several months and integrated in its process, on average, 30 citizens of the town, with a total of approximately 240 people each year. The collaborators on these projects have contributed to an expanded definition of art and a cultural policy, which centers around the integration of contemporary art and the everyday life of everyday people. This represents an attempt to build a sustainable and accessible understanding of art in situ. Why? To answer this question is to discuss the very foundations of our democratic notion of society.

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