Summer 2013: Cultural Berlin

Just because it’s summer it doesn’t mean you have to ditch your art interest, at least not in Berlin where luckily many galleries, museums and venues keep their doors open with interesting shows or festivals. To guide you through the summer jungle, The Blogazine has made a selection of some of the best things to see in Berlin this month.

Tanz im August

If you’re even the slightest into contemporary dance or performing arts in general, Berlin is really the place to be in August. The annual festival Tanz im August will spread out across the city with a program of performances by young talents as well as legends who made postmodern dance history, such as Trisha Brown Dance Company that will perform Early Works from the 1970’s; a trio of iconic choreographies by the legendary choreographer. Another giant is Steve Paxton, godfather of contact improvisation technique and a member of the genre-defining dance collective Judson Dance Theater in New York since the early 1960’s, performing his work Bound from 1982.
On different locations in Berlin, 15th-31st August

Kraftwerk at Sprüth Magers
Electronic pioneers and musical history makers Kraftwerk have been performing and presented in gallery and museum environments since the beginning in the early 1970’s, but this exhibition at Sprüth Magers is the first solo show dedicated to the group’s work in Berlin. On view is a 3D video and sound installation entitled 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8, specially developed by Kraftwerk for the gallery in 2013, relating to their album titles since 1974. Creating the soundtrack to the digital age of the 21st century already four decades ago, their complete audio-visual performances and “sound-paintings” still pin down the information era and the love relationship between men and machines today, something that the show at Sprüth Magers also proves.

On view until 31st August.

Bas Jan Ader at Klosterfelde
After 18 years and 104 exhibitions, the Berlin gallerist Martin Klosterfelde is closing his gallery due to personal reasons. Don’t miss the last chance to visit Klosterfelde and see the solo exhibition In Search of the Miraculous by Bas Jan Ader (1942-1975), the Dutch-born and California-based artist who mysteriously disappeared in 1975 when he set sail on what was to be the smallest sailboat ever to cross the Atlantic, during the execution of the second part of his project, entitled as the exhibition. The show at Klosterfelde includes rarely before shown vintage photographs of two of his most important works – In Search of the Miraculous (One Night in Los Angeles), where dark and shadowy images show Ader walking all night with a flashlight, and studies of his work I’m Too Sad to Tell You, revealing the artist in the act of crying. Intense and personal, exploring the frailty and instability of humanity – perfect to prevent the approach of a sun stroke.

On view until 10th August.

Helena Nilsson Strängberg – Image courtesy Klosterfelde/Bas Jan Ader 
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Eating Stone Age Style

Eating Stone Age Style

It is said to be the first Paleolithic restaurant on the Eurasian continent, if not the entire world: Berlin based restaurant Sauvage.

This former brothel in the Kreuzköllner area, offers an all-organic diet of wild legumes, nuts and seeds, sustainably raised fish, grass-fed pasture-raised meat and above all, no processed grains, dairies or sugars. Or more simply put: everything the ancient pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer ancestors ate 200,000 years before us. Yes, it is an all-prehistoric Stone Age cuisine that is bestowed here.

The founders of the restaurant, Boris and Rodrigo had become fond adherents of this dietary lifestyle and felt like spreading the word through opening their own eatery. And so they have. The cave man theme is consistently worked through the interior, as the cozy place –it can only seat up to 40 people- is dimly lit by candle lights and environed by sturdy stonewalls.

But restaurant Sauvage is not just about mimicking how prehistoric men ate. In fact, it combines ancestral cooking methods and evolutionary science with contemporary cuisine and is as such a modern off-shoot to the paleo diet. According to the owners’ philosophy, it is about feeding the body the way nature primordially intended it.

Our prehistoric ancestors were quite ahead of their time when it came to maintaining a vigorous diet. The health results are said to be quite impressive: energy levels are prognosticated to be higher and steadier throughout the day, skin, hair and teeth will look better and even one’s sex drive is anticipated to increase substantially. And not in the least, the taste is delicieux. It surely explains why the restaurant is fully booked just about every night.

The nutritional concept isn’t entirely new though. Neanderthal eating was already promoted and adapted in several books and academic journals around the mid-1970s. In spite of it though, it remained a marginal phenomenon. With the excessive load on quite colossal crises human kind is currently facing, there is irrefutably a growing re-appreciation for the past. In fact, one could go even so far as stating that through the use of old artifacts or in this instance, by restoring an old cooking method, the discomfort with the present and future is channelized.

If anything, its manifestations have become increasingly diverse. Whether it is the accrued interest in traditional handcrafts, the perpetual love for all things “vintage” or the fascination with prehistoric foods, there is a latent longing to go back to our human roots. In the case of Sauvage however, the appreciation for the ‘old’ and our homo sapien roots, go back just a tiny bit further in time.

Claire van den Berg

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Prinzessinnengärten: Berlin’s Urban Garden of Eden

Prinzessinnengärten: Berlin’s Urban Garden of Eden

Like a quintessential utopian oasis, the Prinzessinnengärten was in 2009 one of the first urban garden projects to be initiated in the capital city of Germany. Since then it has become a cherished sanctum where one can unwind from the stresses of the city, enjoy a first-class organic meal or come together, to experiment and learn the ins and outs of city farming.

Robert Shaw, a filmmaker, and Marco Clausen, a bar owner and photographer, spearheaded this “pop up farming” project in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, after an inspiring visit to agriculta urbanas in Cuba. Along with the help of an extensive populace of volunteers, this former fallow wasteland was converted into a mobile farm of transportable organic vegetable plots. Today, the 6,000 square meter pasture consists of a highly diverse range of locally produced herbs and vegetables, all of which are grown without use of pesticides or other artificial substances. Furthermore, the fruits and veggies are cultivated in portable rice bags, baker’s boxes or milk containers. Additionally, there is a honey-cooperation with a fellow beekeeper and at the little sheds, the reaped foods are available for purchase. When necessary, a change of location is fairly easily realised, due to the dynamic, mobile system that is created.

With all the labour-intensive harvesting and tending of foods and plants on this urban farmland, a devoted community has been established. It has become a collective that is first and foremost premised on urban agriculture and sustainable living. In view of this, the Prinzessinnengärten provides an attractive haven for anyone with aspirations to seed, weed and exchange knowledge on organic food and nutrition, biodiversity, planting techniques and even climate control. Yet with the same zest one can also choose to retreat in the wooden ready-made library or in the cafe under the dotted willows, while enjoying a freshly prepared vegetarian meal.

If anything, this urban gardening project illustrates the feasibility to go green amid endless blocks of grey, converting abandoned urban lots into small green beds of fruits, fauna and veggies. As such, it is a good reminder of how small scale interventions can kindle active citizenship to collectively ignite a new, greener lease of life.

And although the word on the streets claims that real estate developers have set their eyes on this green city lung, thus far this local Garden of Eden continues to flourish, evolve and cultivate a greener consciousness.

Claire van der Berg – Images courtesy of Prinzessinnengärten

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Direktorenhaus / New Textile Craft

Direktorenhaus / New Textile Craft

Next Tuesday Direktorenhaus will present a fresh exhibition of textile works. We last visited Direktorenhaus in November during Illustrative, and in the spirit of that event “New Textile Craft” is to be a celebration and exploration of a particular craft. New technologies and the the revival of old techniques has breathed new life into the medium, and it is showing enormous potential as a creative canvas.

It will be the first time Berlin outing for designers Signe Emdal from Copenhagen, Hao-Ni Tsai of London, Ruth Duff of Glasgow and Izumi Sato of Stockholm. It’s being called a labyrinthine “wintergarten of knitted materials, woven textiles, organic objects and hand-stitched fabrics – sounds lovely!

Opening party on Tuesday, July 5th starting at 8:30pm with DJ Siopis and Kyros, with the exhibition running through the 30th. (And since it’s during fashion week, it’s running alongside the Fashion Week Opening Party at Münze Berlin next door!) If you’re in Berlin, the event is not to be missed!

From the Bureau 

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