Exit Gala

Bild: Sabrina Tamara Brückner

x-embassy silvester 2018 exit gala all welcome

19h Performance
DINA 4 1
Richard Pettifer with assistance from Hayley Glickfeld
An existential posthumanist re-imagining of the 1963 sketch by Lauri Wylie, performed by an actor and a robot.
(15 mins, English)

20h Dachscreening // rooftop screening
Sabrina Tamara Brückner
San Francisco Verde (2018)
Film (10:53 min)

party feat.

jentle ben DJ set
Private Punk Procedure
playlist gala

M1 tramstop Tschaikowskistr.
Enter via spiral staircase on righthand side of building.
M1 Haltestelle Tschaikowskistr.
Eingang via Wendeltreppe, rechte Seite des Gebäudes.


Screening: Dawn of the Red – A Rupture in the Deep-Sleep of Capitalism

Image: Still from video

Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Film Screening, A.S.S.-Collective

*** deutsche Version unten ***

‚Dawn of the Red – A Rupture in the Deep-Sleep of Capitalism‘, A.S.S.-Collective, 2018, 15:12 min., color, sound, HD, 16:9

On the 21st of June 2018, A.S.S.-Collective and a group of artists and activists gathered in front of the Ernst-Thälmann monument to spend 24 hours together. Questions concerning the effects of dominant historiography on today’s cities and public spheres formed the basis of their joint gathering. Navigating through Walter Benjamin’s notion of the dialectical image, the actors search for ways to produce a “flash of awakening” in this historical narrative.

The Ernst-Thälmann monument was designed by Soviet sculptor Lew Kerbel (1917-2003) and erected in the mid-1980s as part of the construction of a residential and park complex in Prenzlauer Berg. Thälmann was the leader of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) during the Weimar Republic and later a chairman of the KPD and an active anti-fascist, who was murdered in 1944 in Buchenwald. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the monument has been left to its own devices: the floodlights intended for lighting switched off, the forecourt littered with broken glass and the pedestal full of graffiti. Thälmann still sleeps in the dark.

However, recent developments, including the sale of the nearby Greifswalderstraße goods train station to a private investor, and the planned modernisation of the park’s high-rise housing, have led to increased debate over the site’s future — and that of the monument itself. Self-organised local residents (the Anwohner-Initiative Ernst-Thälmann-Park) currently look after the Ernst-Thälmann-Park, gathering donations to pay for the upkeep of the green space’s water body. It is no doubt in part due to their political work, and in part due to the imperative logic of ‚urban development‘, that in November 2018, several months after A.S.S.-Collective filmed onsite, the Berlin Senate announced its decision to soon restore the sculpture.

It is in this context that x-embassy screens ‚Dawn of the Red‘, followed by a conversation with the artists.

A.S.S.-Collective is an artist-duo based in Berlin: Mizu Sugai (*1989, Tokyo) and Jonathan Jung (*1987, Hamburg). Located at the intersection of social and political practice and its artistic translations, A.S.S.-Collective operates mostly with participatory formats such as workshops, performances and happenings.

‚Dawn of the Red – A Rupture in the Deep-Sleep of Capitalism‘, A.S.S.-Collective, 2018, 15:12 min., Farbe, Ton, HD, 16:9

Am 21. Juni 2018 trafen sich A.S.S.-Collective mit einer Gruppe von Künstler*innen und Aktivist*innen auf dem Platz vor dem Ernst-Thälmann-Denkmal in Berlin, um dort 24 Stunden gemeinsam zu verbringen. Fragen zur Auswirkung von herrschender Geschichtsschreibung auf heutige Stadt- und Gesellschaftsräumen bildeten das Fundament für den gemeinsamen Aufenthalt. Im Sinne Walter Benjamins dialektischem Bild ergründeten die Akteur*innen, wie ein „Blitz des Erwachens“ in der herrschenden Geschichtsschreibung erzeugt werden kann.

Das Ernst-Thälmann-Denkmal wurde von dem sowjetischen Bildhauer Lew Kerbel (1917-2003) gestaltet und Mitte der 1980er Jahre im gleichnamigen Park und Wohnkomplex im Prenzlauer Berg errichtet. Thälmann war Vertreter von Arbeiterkämpfen während der Weimarer Republik, späterer Vorsitzender der KPD und aktiver Antifaschist, der 1944 in Buchenwald ermordet wurde. Seit dem Fall der Mauer 1989 wurde das Denkmal sich selbst überlassen: die für die Beleuchtung vorgesehenen Flutlichter sind ausgeschaltet, der Vorplatz übersät mit Glasscherben und der Sockel voll von Graffiti – Thälmann schläft noch im Dunkeln.

Allerdings führten in letzter Zeit neue Entwicklungen, einschließlich der Kauf des naheliegenden Areals des Güterbahnhof Greifswalderstraße und der geplanten Modernisierung des Wohnkomplexes, zu einer immer lauter werdenden Debatte über die Zukunft des Ortes — und die des Denkmals selbst. Die selbstorganisierte Gruppe „Anwohner-Initiative Ernst-Thälmann-Park“ kümmert sich zurzeit noch um den Erhalt vom Ernst-Thälmann-Park und sammelt Spenden für den Erhalt seines Teichs. Teils aufgrund deren politischen Engagements, teils wegen der zwingenden Logik der ‘Stadtentwicklung’ passierte es, dass der Berliner Senat im November 2018, einige Monate nachdem die Arbeit von A.S.S.-Collective entstand, die Restauration des Denkmals ankündigte.

In diesem Zusammenhang zeigt x-embassy ‚Dawn of the Red‘. Anschließend gibt es eine Konversation mit den Künstler*innen.

A.S.S.-Collective ist ein Künstler*innen-Duo aus Berlin: Mizu Sugai (*1989, Tokyo) und Jonathan Jung (*1987, Hamburg). Seit dem Beginn ihrer Zusammenarbeit arbeiten sie an der Schnittstelle von sozialer Praxis und deren künstlerischer Übersetzung, meist in Verbindung mit partizipatorischen und kollektiven Formaten wie Workshops, Performances und Happenings.


Ex-Embassy: Exhibition and text series

Image: MfS HA_III Fo 382 Bild_0002 (detail)

Thurs-Sat, 12-18:00 or by appointment
August 4-31, 2018
Exhibition and Text Series

Vernissage, Performances: August 4, 3-7pm

*** deutsche Version unten ***

EX-EMBASSY is an exhibition and text series that unfolds from the former Australian embassy to the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Five artistic works and five commissioned texts are presented in and around the 70s-era iconic Modernist structure.

The former embassy is one component of a little-known, yet unparalleled architectural experiment: in the late 1960s and early 1970s, 135 diplomatic buildings were rapidly rolled out in Berlin’s peripheral northeastern borough, Pankow.

Australia, often named the ‘Fifth Continent’ in GDR communiques, usually plays a minor role in Cold War histories. Following geographer Doreen Massey’s definition of space as “the simultaneity of stories thus far”, EX-EMBASSY addresses the former embassy as a site shaped by, and containing, trajectories that move far beyond its physical frame. Grounding geopolitical histories that destabilise belonging within capitalist property formats, the works and texts attend to ongoing negotiations of value and territory; narrative and identity.

Participating artists: Megan Cope (Quandamooka); Archie Moore (Kamilaroi); Sumugan Sivanesan (AU/DE) & Carl Gerber (DE); Sonya Schönberger (DE); and Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll (AU/AT). With texts by: cultural studies theorist Ben Gook (AU/DE); legal scholar Sarah Keenan (UK); historian Peter Monteath (AU); artist, critic and curator Rachel O’Reilly (AU/DE); and writers Nathan Sentance (Wiradjuri) & Raelee Lancaster (Wiradjuri). EX-EMBASSY is hosted by artist Sonja Hornung (AU/DE) with the curatorial advice of Rachel O’Reilly (AU/DE).

EX-EMBASSY opens as part of Berlin’s Project Space Festival 2018 and is hosted by the project space x-embassy. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body, and by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation through the association Helle Panke e.V.. Media partner: Berlin Art Link.

An external Podium Discussion: Anti-Colonial Diplomacies will take place within the framework of the exhibition at Archive Books on August 7, with Megan Cope (Quandamooka) and Archie Moore (Kamilaroi); moderation: Rachel O’Reilly (AU/DE).

Weiterlesen „Ex-Embassy: Exhibition and text series“

Big Demo

Image: Sonja Hornung & Richard Pettifer

Saturday, July 14, 2018
Performance by Sonja Hornung & Richard Pettifer

Big Demo is the ceremonial demolition of the former Australian Embassy to the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

The building was completed in 1975, the result of promising brown coal trade between the GDR and Australia. It functioned as an embassy until 1986, when operations were moved to Warsaw. Following the Berlin Wall’s demolition, the site was privatised to a medical laboratory, then to a media company that went bankrupt in 2016. Today, the former embassy is owned by real estate developers Prexxot, whose plans to convert the building into high-end owner-occupied apartments are currently in limbo.

The work is the latest in a series by duo Sonja Hornung and Richard Pettifer aimed at provocatively and speculatively investigating forms of finance, diplomacy, and environmental degradation. Previous works have seen them opening an embassy on a wall (Mauer Botschaft, 2013), eating 100 euros (100 Euro Dinner, 2013), speculating on the Romanian cyanide spill caused by Australian company Esmeralda (What we do not own is bought and sold, 2017), and initiating a mass jump into the Rhine during the UN’s COP23 negotiations (Rheinsprung, 2017).

For Big Demo, visitors are invited to join the festivities as this infrastructural relic is disappeared before your very eyes.

Big Demo takes place as part of Art Spin 2018, a community based interactive bike and art tour of creative venues, site-specific art performances and installations throughout various Berlin neighborhoods.


Open Studio

Camila Malenchini, A Collection of Impressions, 2018

Saturday, May 26 – Sunday, May 27, 2018

x-embassy collective opens its working space and presents some recent work from collective members; our neighbouring artists in Atelierhaus Australische Botschaft Ost will also have their studios open as a part of Artspring 2018. All welcome to come by for a chat in the sun and a beer.

Yukiko Nagakura: The Nuclear: Power and Family_Case in Fukushima

Image: Yukiko Nagakura

Open from: 18:00
Screening from: 19:30
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Yukiko Nagakura: One night show and screening

The Nuclear: Power and Family_Case in Fukushima coincides with the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.
Japanese artist Yukiko Nagakura presents her installation work and films based on her fieldwork in Fukushima in 2016. The show is part of the artist’s ongoing research project “The Nuclear: Power and Family” which she has been carrying out since 2016.

The details of screening are as follows:
Four short films by Yukiko Nagakura:

1. Women in the aftermath of nuclear power: Fukushima_1 [14:50 min]*
2. Women in the aftermath of nuclear power: Fukushima_2 [14:50 min]*
3. Women in the aftermath of nuclear power: Fukushima_3 [14:50 min]*
4. I have a long journey before me. [21:18 min]
*Original Version (OV) in Japanese with English subtitles

Yukiko Nagakura made these films based on fieldwork which she carried out in Fukushima in 2016. She interviewed women asking how they struggled with the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster of 2011. Yukiko Nagakura compiled the women’s personal stories into four films. These films tell of the menace of a radiation contamination from a female perspective, forcing us to face an urgent and universal problem concerning women’s empowerment worldwide.

After the screening, everybody is invited to stay for an informal talk, have a few drinks and share their impressions on the films.


Stolenwealth Games 2018 – Berlin Solidarity Event


Open from: 19:30
Screenings from: 20:30
Food and drinks (by donation)
Friday, April 13, 2018

Coinciding with the current ‘Stolenwealth Games’ Aboriginal protest to the Commonwealth Games in Queensland, the Berlin Aboriginal Solidarität Netzwerk will screen two films, We Fight (Guniwaya-ngigu) (1982) and 30th Anniversary of the Commonwealth Games Protests 1982 (2012). Contained behind cyclone fencing and dubbed ‘Camp Freedom,’ the current protest marks Aboriginal peoples’ resistance to colonial rule, and echoes the significant protests against the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, 1982. Following the screenings, filmmaker Madeline McGrady (co-director, Guniwaya-ngigu (We Fight), 1982), Dewi Djamal Wilson (producer, 30th Anniversary of the Commonwealth Games Protests 1982, 2012) and Samuel Watson (activist at Camp Freedom and filmmaker, of the Wanjiburrah People, Yugembeh language group) will Skype into the event. As x-embassy is located in the former Australian Embassy to East Germany, the building itself recalls a fragmented history of exchanges between the socialist state and Aboriginal activists from the 1950s to the 1980s.

We Fight (Guniwaya-ngigu) (1982)
Directors: Madeline McGrady, Tracey Moffatt
60 mins

We Fight (Guniwaya-ngigu) is a rare documentary about Aboriginal resistance to the Brisbane Commonwealth Games of 1982. Hundreds of activists occupied Musgrave Park in South Brisbane as a campsite and performance area and fought against the Games and the racist government of Joh Bjelke-Petersen. About 300 were arrested.

The film reveals the passion, bravery, solidarity and power of the Aboriginal people who came from all parts of Australia to demonstrate in solidarity against the notorious and repressive Queensland Aborigines Act.

In one memorable scene in the film then Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser is seen arriving at an official event adjacent to Musgrave Park. As he is rushed into the venue, a large crowd of demonstrators jeer him from across the road, to the strains of legendary Aboriginal musicians like Bart Willoughby and Joe Geia performing in a concert deep within Musgrave Park.“

– Text Source: Creative Spirits

Further reading:

Many thanks to the Radical Times Archives for providing us with access to the full version of this film for screening purposes.

30th Anniversary of the Commonwealth Games Protests 1982 (2012)
Produced by BIMA Vision, the Brisbane Indigenous Media Association.
23 mins

Organised by Berlin Aboriginal Solidartät Network. Further information in English und auf Deutsch unten:

Weiterlesen „Stolenwealth Games 2018 – Berlin Solidarity Event“