Timehouse: Where are we NOW?

Chinese-German exhibition in the Löwenpalais, Berlin

On März 31, 2023 a joint exhibition project of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Beijing, the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, the Freie Universität Berlin, the Institute for Art und Media Industries (IKMW) Berlin and the Art Foundation Starke, Berlin im Löwenpalais, Berlin.

Two weeks the Löwenpalais transforms into a „timehouse“, where the „curatorial team“ formed by students Central Adademy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Beijing engaged in a search for their contemporary time. In five differently themed spaces („anthropocene“, „stages of subculture“, „crisis & survival“, „repair & healing“, „dreams“) the multiple artistic positions and formats from video through installations, photography, billboards to object art reflect the perspectives on the world and the emotional condition of the much-cited „Generation Z“.

48 mostly young artists from China, but also some international emerging artists from the Düsseldorfer art acadmy were invited. In the current post-pandemic era this exhibition is an experiment of a special kind, both in its genesis and its realisation – „distance curating“ with academic advisors and coaching across 10.000 km: teams, artists and a location, where the team could never meet physically as a whole, where only the artists from the Düsseldorf art academy and the academic teachers could walk and see in an analog way.

In this Chinese-German production the Löwenpalais from its lounge, its basement all through to the three traditional exhibition spaces will be used for exhibiting in entirety for the very first time. For the exhibition a booklet is published, comprising the exhibition’s „making of“ as well as the artists presented.

The exhibition is open until April 15, 2023 from 10 am to 5 pm. Address: Kunststiftung Starke, Löwenpalais; Königsallee 30-32; 14193 Berlin. https://stiftungstarke.de/

A video podcast by the Berlin-based Korean Moon Suk gives a lively impression of the exhibition’s opening:




In the Laboratory of Modernity

„Modernity – Postmodernity – Contemporary“ – Online-Seminar with excursion and exhibition project at the CAFA, Beijing

To experimentally expand the about 40-hours-long online seminars at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) is part of our good practice since 2021: The use of multiple media, excursions into the urban and cultural space of Berlin, ensuing exhibition projects („distance curating“), live connections to other European metropoles (e.g. Budapest) as well as weekly WeChat-lectures or consultations by now are the basic didactic, scenographic and content-wise repertory of these international seminars.

Despite adverse outside conditions on the side of the Chinese students (homeschooling in parental homes dispersed all over China) the experiences so far show that this type of elaborate seminar productions can create a kind of proximity, team-building, interaction and self-organized work.

Academic and scientific acclaim in the interdisciplinary, multimedia main parts, focused on cultural history and theory; complementary on-site live transmissions via handy-cam from cultural institutions in Berlin and Budapest; explorations of urban spaces and districts; and finally the ensuing exhibition project “Timehouse: Where are we NOW?” with a team of 15 Chinese students, that through a three-months curatorial process implements the central question, reflections, insights from the seminar into an exhibition in the “Lions’ Palace, Berlin Grunewald: All of these require an professorial team that is both lecturing and  scenographically dramaturgically guiding.

Together with Achim Müller (IKMW) and Daniel Ongjerth, our partner in Budpast, such a seminar combines traditional seminar modules with production/broadcasting elements lend from film, television, video and podcast as well as artistic live-formats from Action and Concept Art („scripted events“ -> happenings). At the same time it includes a basic, practice-oriented introduction into fundamental elements of organization psychology, management and communication (group development, group dynamics, working in matrix structures, reporting) for the students.

Despite all adverse conditions, all mental and physical strains, an enlarged, intense and international atmosphere of experience can be created in an “Act of Feigning” with the simplest of technical setups (zoom, handy-cam, tablet). An experience that would not be possible in the analog realm – not for now, and because of several reasons not for the near future neither. In contrast, the exhibition “Timehouse” will physically open on March 31, 2023 at the Lions’ Palace in Berlin.

Im Labor der Moderne

„Modernity – Postmodernity – Contemporary“ – Online-Seminar mit Exkursion und Ausstellungsprojekt an der CAFA Beijing


Es gehört seit 2021 zur guten Praxis, die rund 40-stündigen Online-Seminare an der Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) experimentell zu erweitern. Multimedialer Medieneinsatz, Exkursionen in den Berliner Stadt- und Kulturraum, anschließende Ausstellungsprojekte („distance curating“), Live-Schalten in andere europäische Metropolen (z.B. Budapest) sowie begleitende wöchentliche WeChat-Exkurse oder -Sprechstunden zählen mittlerweile zum didaktisch-szenischen und inhaltlichen Grundrepertoire dieser internationalen Seminare.

Die bisherigen Erfahrungen zeigen, dass solcherart aufwendige Seminar-Produktionen trotz widriger Rahmenbedingungen auf Seiten der chinesischen Studenten (Homeschooling in der elterlichen Wohnungen in über ganz China verteilten Wohnorten) so etwas wie Nähe, Teambuilding, Interaktion, selbstverantwortliches Arbeiten ermöglichen.

Akademisch-wissenschaftlicher Anspruch in den interdisziplinär und multimedial aufbereiteten kulturgeschichtlichen und theoretischen Hauptteilen, ergänzende, mit Handycam live gesendete „Vor-Ort“-„Sendungen“ aus Berliner und Budapester Kultureinrichtungen mit vorgeschalteten Stadtraum- und Quartierserkundungen sowie das weiterführende Ausstellungsprojekt „Timehouse: Where are we NOW?“, das wesentliche Fragestellungen, Reflexionen, Erkenntnisse des Seminars in einen dreimonatigen kuratorischen Prozess in einer Ausstellung im Löwenpalais, Berlin Grunewald, mit einem 15-köpfigen chinesischen Studententeam umsetzen wird, verlangen von der professoralen Seite ein lehrendes und szenisch-dramaturgisch gestaltendes Produktionsteam.

Zusammen mit Achim Müller (IKMW) und unserem Budapester Partner Daniel Ongjerth verbindet ein solches Seminar-Projekt traditionelle Seminarbausteine mit film-, fernseh-, video- und podcast-ähnlichen Produktions- und Sendeelementen sowie künstlerischen Live-Formate etwa der Aktions- und Konzeptkunst („scripted events“ -> Happenings). Zugleich bedeutet das für die studentische Seite eine praxisnahe Einführung in elementare organisationspsychologische, manageriale und kommunikative Prozesse (Gruppenbildung, Gruppendynamik, Arbeiten in Matrixstrukturen, Reporting-/Berichtswesen u.ä.).

Trotz aller Widrigkeiten, psychomentalen und physischen Belastungen kann mit einfachstem technisch-medialen Aufwand (Zoom, Handy-Kamera, Tablet) in einer Art „Akt des Fingierens“ eine erweiterte, intensive und internationale Erfahrungsatmosphäre geschaffen werden, die jetzt, aber auch in naher Zukunft aus den verschiedenen Gründen analog nicht möglich wäre. Die „Timehouse“-Ausstellung wird dagegen physisch am 31. März 2023 um 19 Uhr im Löwenpalais Berlin eröffnet.

Not for teachers only

Didactic materials and selected original texts of the resistance group ‚Die Weiße Rose’ to the project ‘Sophie Scholl – (Hi)Stories of Courage’

Using a side exit of the Sophie Scholl VR museum brings you to the VR learning environment ‚A View to Freedom‘: Here you find excerpts from teaching materials an the topic of civil courage, developed and put together by the project leaders for the kick off-events, workshops and virtual summer camps in South America and Southeast Europe. They also were the basis for impulses and tasks on the project’s naming patron and on the topic of ‚civil courage‘ given to the youths for the contributions they developed in the different project stages and exhibited in the virtual museum.

Commissioned by the Goethe Institut Athen, the learning platform was conceived by Matthias Baumann, the media responsible in the ‚Sophie Scholl‘-project. Of course visitors can return from the platform to the museum and continue their tour their.

Here is the link to the Goethe learning platform: https://vr-easy.com/tour/mazemedia/220627-vr_goethe/#pano=11

„Tell me, Peru“

German as second Language-Dance Teatre – Pilot Project 2022

Innovative Format for Language Development with creative Methods

In an on-hour dance theatre performance conceived in just four days, 40 youths from partner schools of the Goethe-Institut in Lima presented their perspectives on their home countries to an enthusiastic audience. From August 1 to 4, 2022 the on-site stage of the pilot project „Tell me, Peru“ („Erzähle mir, Peru“) took place at the Goethe-Institut Lima. One week before students of the German language, aged 12 to 18 years, had been introduced to the subject in two one-hour online meetings. Afterwards, they collected their ideas, films and music on a padlet, establishing the the working basis for the team of trainers.

The choreographies were developed by the Munich-based community dance expert Josef Eder, together with two dancers from the ‘Ballet San Marcos Lima‘ and the youths. They were by theatre scenes staged by Stephan Reischl. They focused the particularities, beauties, but also the present-day challenges of the country: corruptuon, crime, violence against women, opression of minorities – very personal and moving insights brought to stage by the youths themselves.

For 2023 it is planned to continue projects in the format of „Tell me, …“ in other countries and regions. A customised VR online platform is currently developed to document and present the projects‘ results.

Nicht nur für Lehrer/innen

Lernmaterialien und ausgewählte Originaltexte der Widerstandsgruppe ‚Die Weiße Rose’ zum Projekt ‘Sophie Scholl – Geschichte(n) der Zivilcourage’

Durch einen Seiten-Ausgang des Sophie-Scholl-VR-Museums gelangt man in die VR-Lernumgebung ‘Blick in die Freiheit’: Hier finden sich Auszüge aus den Lehrmaterialien zum Thema Zivilcourage, die von den Projektleitern für die Lehrer-Workshops, die Kickoffs und virtuellen Sommercamps in Südamerika und Südosteuropa eigens für das Projekt entwickelt und zusammengestellt wurden. Sie bildeten auch die Grundlage für die verschiedenen Kreativ-Impulse und Aufgaben zur Projektpatin und zum Thema ‘Zivilcourage’ für die Kreativ-Beiträge der Jugendlichen, die in den einzelnen Phasen des Projekts entstanden und im Museum ausgestellt sind.

Vom Goethe Institut Athen in Auftrag gegeben, wurde die Lernplattform von unserem Medienreferenten aus dem Scholl-Projekt Matthias Baumann gestaltet. Natürlich können die Besucher von dort aus wieder ins Museum zurückkehren und ihren Rundgang fortsetzen.

Hier der Link zur Goethe-Lernplattform: https://vr-easy.com/tour/mazemedia/220627-vr_goethe/#pano=11

„Erzähle mir, Peru“

DaF-Tanztheater – Pilotprojekt 2022

Ein innovatives Format zur Sprachförderung mit kreativen Mitteln

40 Jugendliche aus Partnerschulen des Goethe-Instituts aus Lima stellen in einer einstündigen Tanztheater-Performance, die in nur vier Tagen entstand, einem begeisterten Publikum ihre Sichtweise auf ihr Heimatland vor. Vom 1. bis 4. August 2022 fand am Goethe-Institut Lima die Präsenzphase des Pilotprojekts mit dem Titel ‘Erzähle mir, Peru’ statt. Eine Woche zuvor waren die Deutschlernerinnen und -lerner im Alter 12 von bis 18 Jahren in zwei einstündigen Online-Kickoff-Treffen in die Thematik eingeführt worden, um im Anschluss ihre Ideen, Texte, Filme und Musik auf einem Padlet zusammenzutragen, das zur Grundlage der Arbeit mit dem Referententeam wurde.

In den Choreographien, die der Münchener Community-Dance-Experte Josef Eder gemeinsam mit zwei Tänzern des ‘Ballet San Marcos Lima‘ und den Jugendlichen entwickelte, und den Theaterszenen von Stephan Reischl wurden die Besonderheiten, Schönheiten, aber auch die gegenwärtigen Herausforderungen des Landes thematisiert: Korruption, Kriminalität, Gewalt gegenüber Frauen, Unterdrückung von Minderheiten. Es entstanden sehr persönliche, berührende Einblicke, welche die Jugendlichen auf die Bühne brachten.

Für 2023 ist geplant, Projekte im Format ‘Erzähle mir, …’ in anderen Ländern und Regionen fortzusetzen. Für die Dokumentation und Präsentation der Projektergebnisse entsteht eine eigens entwickelte VR-Online-Plattform.



„Bürger-Stimmen“ – „People’s Voices“

Like few other art event the documenta fifteen is dividing the public: A very critical, sometimes scandal-evoking media public is facing a public of visitors „on site“ in Kassel that is rather characterised by curiosity, openness and an exploratory mindset.

Commissioned and supported by the „Bürgerbündnis documenta fifteen“ (Citizens‘ Alliance documenta fifteen), this setup was incentive enough for the IKMW to give the visitors‘ and citizens‘ voices a possibility to express themselves through interviews, reports and essayistic text on a curated website.  In the course of the last weeks of documenta and in the months to come they will for the first time grow into a work-in.progress „citizens‘ book.


Bürger-Stimmen – People’s Voices

Die documenta fifteen spaltet die Öffentlichkeit wie kaum ein anderes Kunstereignis: Einer sehr kritischen, bisweilen skandalisierenden Medien-Öffentlichkeit steht ein von Besucher-Neugier, -Aufgeschlossenheit und -Forscherdrang geprägte Öffentlichkeit „vor Ort“ in Kassel gegenüber.

Anlass genug, im Auftrag und mit Unterstützung des „Bürgerbündnis documenta fifteen“ diese Besucher- und Bürger-Stimmen in und aus Kassel in Interviews, Reportagen, essayistischen Texten auf einer kuratierten Website zu Wort kommen zu lassen. In den beiden letzten documenta-Wochen und in den folgenden Monaten wird erstmalig eine Art „Bürger-Buch“ als Work-in-Progress entstehen.

Fascination and Controversy

Exhibition and Discussion on the documenta

It was a special documenta night at the Löwenpalais of the Art Foundation Stark in Berlin Grunewald, linking Kassel with Beijing and the German capital.

The documentary exhibition „documenta goes China 2017-2022“ provided the framing for a panel discussion on the current situation of the documenta fifteen.

„documenta goes China“

Curated with photos, historic film sequences and trailers, the pop up-exhibition presented a significant part of the documenta’s reception in China, referring to three very different projects: “Myth of documenta. Arnold Bode and his heirs”, shown 2017 in the CAFA Museum in Peking on 3.000 sqm and featuring hundreds of objects, materials and photos from the documenta archive in Kassel, for the first time presented the documenta with its preconditions, its artistic developments and its curatorial, educational as well as historic contexts to a predominantly young Chinese audience. Well over 30.00 visitors within four weeks documented the strong interest, also for the newly configured version in Shanghai. Shaped by Klaus Siebenhaar (Free University Berlin) and Yu Ding (Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), Peking), the exhibition serves as a best practice in research- and archive-based exhibition practice within Chinese curatorial studies.


The double exhibition „Joseph Beuys and the documenta“/“Cosmos Beuys“, opened in September 2021 in the Residency of the German Embassy in Beijing and the big seminar on the documenta fifteen in June/July 2022, turned into a montage by the Chinese students, were already perceived under the conditions of the Covid pandemic. All of these documenta endeavors, though very different in their dimensions and formats, represented the fundamental Chinese attitudes of perception:

1)    The contemplative and healing power of art, its aesthetic, emotional and societal impact in staged indoor and outdoor spaces.

2)    The transformation of an entire city through artistic interventions: Kassel as an “exhibition hall”.

3)    The positive appropriation, the individually and collectively active role of the visitors and “atmospheres” developing from it.

All three exhibitions document the geographic link between Kassel-Berlin-Beijing. They rest on the continuous cooperation between institutions in these three cities: Free University Berlin, Institute for Arts und Media Industries Berlin, documenta Archive Kassel, Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) Beijing and the German Embassy in Beijing.

And for all projects holds that they were realized with German and Chinese students.



The political dialogue: Klaus Siebenhaar in conversation with Hans Eichel

As Mayor of Kassel, as Head of State of the State of Hessia and as German Treasurer, Hans Eichel has actively and directly accompanied the documenta through several decades, and had to weather off controversies, conflicts and situations of crisis. Especially as a politician the independence of artistic leadership and the freedom of the art in general always was untouchable and guaranteed. The discussions about Walter de Maria’s “Earth Kilometer”, the staging of “state artists of the GDR” or  Beuys’ “7000 Oaks” always stayed civic protests in the context of cultural policy, they always could be resolved through discussions and communication. With its inability for dialogue, their “hermeneutics of suspicion” (Armin Nassehi), the scandalization of the accusations of antisemitism represent a novelty. Both Hans Eichel and Klaus Siebenhaar alleged that the forming of ideologic bubbles, the sometimes intentional ambiguity of central terms (racism, antisemitism, global south) and complex contexts of worldviews (French theory, applied post-modernism, post-colonial studies etc.) contribute significantly to polemics, waves of outrage and simplifications.

Both were united in their perspective on the future of the documenta: The documenta 16 will take place in 2027 in Kassel, and it must not be realized in an organizational or content-wise framework “supervised curating” (Klaus Siebenhaar”) – of state-side paternalism and intervention like in German public broadcasting.

The discussion closed on an engaged plea by both speakers to keep up artistic freedom even in conflict. Conflicts and necessary debates with attitudes as those of the Indonesian collective ruangrupa, the artistic directors of documenta fifteen, should take place on the basis of mutual respect and friendly coexistence and should not lead to political influence and uninformed, unreflected paternalization.