An artsy bike tour through the districts of Pankow
After a break in 2017, Art Spin Berlin took to the streets last Saturday to explore the art scene of Pankow and its different burroughs. We’ve been a supporter of the initiave right from the start, supplying free or massively reduced rental bikes for those attendants who didn’t have their own. If you want to check out what went down in years past, we have extensive galleries for Art Spin 2014, 2015 and 2016.
I want to start with thanking Vanessa, Flo and all the others who I don’t know personally, that have put together this beautiful cycling event, bringing us to places and performances we wouldn’t have found otherwise. Another special thanks goes to the Pankow police who did a stellar Job, blocking roads and protecting us. At times it felt like a bit of Overkill, especially considering how other rides (including our own) manage without them entirely, but in the end they guaranteed a 100% stress-free tour and docile motorists.
Before the ride proper we met at our Kulturbrauerei hq with the soundbike builders of Klara Geist and a few others that needed bikes or directions to the real starting Point under Bösebrücke. When we arrived there around 5 pm a couple of dozen riders were already there, including a team of red-cross first responders on bikes. I guess if you do a ride with an expected 3-400 cyclists that is officially sanctioned by the authorities you probably have to have someone responsible for 1st aid, but we would really love to see these more often and maybe not only in a bike-specific contest. I would think that for a lot of everyday cases they could be faster and cheaper than a truck.
AMT was the name of a “performative group therapy” by the ON/OFF collective, trying to lighten up our feelings towards the sysiphosian efforts one has to undertake before getting proper documentation and all the fears surrounding that process by stamping Art Spin passports, while wearing glittery masks. A bit after 6 pm our group left for the 1st leg of the 11 km total Art Spin would ride that day.
Big Demo at Australische Botschaft
The next Performance took place at the former Australian embassy to the GDR, a building that was long scheduled for demolition before it was defined as protected. It has been used as an art space since spring 2017 – tennis court and all, but now it days seem finally numbered and in the near futures devopers will take over and turn it into luxury appartments in the 7-figure-range. Which brings us right to Sonja Hornung and Richard Pettifer’s Performance “Big Demo” where after a rather witty introduction urging us to accept the fact, that after the performance, the building will no longer be there and therefore we would have no reason to linger and should instead leave the premises right away. All in all, a very funny first stop and I highly recommend following these two on Sonja-hornung.net and richardpettifer.blogspot.com to see more of their work.
Hannsjana at Kissingen Stadium
Hannsjana’s performance for Art Spin 2016 was a favorite for many who saw it and they wouldn’t dissappoint this year. After parking everyone’y bikes and guiding them to the grandstands a group of not so sporty creatures got ready for a tough race, including a cow, a crane (or something, a bird), a pig and a frozen pizza. After all other contestants were disqualified for various reasons it was an easy home-run for the pig,so I guess it was ok she cheated with a scooter for part of the way. It’s kind of to convey how absurd and funny it was, a lot of that based on the voice-over commentary that played havouc with our obsession with being fit and capable at all times.
Kunsthaus Hamburger Platz
Our next stop led us to an exhibition space that is part of Weißensee art school, one of Berlin’s foremost educational institutions for creatives. I must admit at this point I kind of needed a break, so I have not much to say about the project Elefant in The Room that was on display there and focussed on getting a beer. In short it is a week Exchange program for art studens from Johannesburg in South Africa that started that day. So, I’m really sorry I can’t tell you more, which is entirely my fault and does not reflect any shortcomings of the place or the ideas it was filled with.
Bethanienkirche: Banshee Ragout
Bethanienkirche or rather its tower – all that was left standing after WWII – sits in the middle of a large roundabout in a quiet part of Weißensee with a couple of cafés and restaurants surrounding it. Where church proper used to be is now something like a natural amphitheatre, with the tower walls being the stage background and the trees limiting the viewer’s space in a half-circle. Banshee Ragout by Irina Demina and Joshua Rutter is taking a closer at the paradoxon of medieval danse macabre and the fact that dancing is inherently life-affirming. Before realising that Piece of context, I admit I was quite confused why the hell this courtship of giant trashbag-beings needs Skeleton hands. In the end, that’s the best thing about art, that one can make up their own mind and infuse a performance with meaning that might only be relevant to myself – or maybe someone else takes that and creates a whole new train of thought.
Kubiz: World’s Largest and 12Volt
Our final Destination was the self-governed art/cultural centre KuBiZ in a former highschool, where we finally were able to score something to eat. Sadly my photos of Nima Keshtkar’s work are lost, so I say farewell with this photo of a very passionate Drummer of the 12 Volt band, that is regularly playing their tight interpretation of funk music in Mauerpark as well, thanks to a highly mobile Setup.