This video was part of SMASH Berlin, intensive training in experimental physical performance. Workshop facilitated and realised by Diego Agulló in collaboration with: Florencia Martina, Barbara Földesi, Lisa Stewart, Garazi Valmaseda, Cajsa Godée, Flurina Dominique, Julia Barrette- Laperriere, Katya Chizhayeva, Kiana rezvani, Lisa Stewart, Marc Saad, michael fleit, Noa Lara Meir, mathilde Strijdonk, Vilte viltimi , Sarah Klenes, Prashant More , Casper-Malte, Sara Linck, Sonia Noya.
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Bethanien kunstraum in Berlin claims to be a space for the development of the arts in both, social and political ways. Unfortunately, the reality is different, and the artistic mission statement of the building has been hijacked by the house rules, the bouncer at the entrance and the commercial uses of the building, like the restaurant. During the 3 weeks of the workshop we were not allowed to exercise outside the studio and any attempt of bringing an artistic practice into the spaces of the building was immediately aborted by the bouncer considering us an obstacle in the building.
Bethanien, stagnated in absurd policies, is, as a cultural space, a big fallacy becoming a space for "domesticated and anecdotal" art, a tourist destination and an ice cream shop for the children from Kreuzberg.
And now I want to share a text from Lisa Stewart: ‘And you look homeless when you eat your lunch sitting on the foyer floor…’
House rules at Küntslerhaus Bethanien, Berlin
Welcome dear artist, into our International cultural centre dedicated to the advancement of contemporary visual arts. We are so pleased to establish a lively dialogue with you, your different background, discipline, and of course the public at large. We are looking forward to seeing the fruits of your alternative practice under our roof!
But hang on a minute, what are you doing with all those collapsible chairs that you are moving around the hallways? I thought you had rented studio 2? Who’s in charge here? You can’t do THIS here! Not in front of the restaurant! What if someone from the general public wants to come through and buy an overpriced lunch? They would have to pass 18 sitting artists. This could be a highly disruptive encounter for them.
It would be in everyone’s best interest if you took your chairs and bodies back up to your designated working space. If you wanted to work outside of your studio you should have submitted a form prior to the inconvenient event with a complete report of exactly what was going to taking place, with exact times and locations.
Pending approval we could have put up signs to warn unsuspecting visitors about the presence of chairs in the Bethanien building. We could have installed wall plaques explaining that the sedentary artist bodies might unexpectedly move with their chairs to a new location at various intervals. Then people could have realised that Art was taking place around them and the risk mitigated.
Don’t get me wrong, we want you in our building because we think you are edgy and we are in full support of the experimental arts. But do you really have to be experimental like this? Right here, right now? Couldn’t you instead make a video work of you doing something radical on another site and then exhibit it in our building?
We would prefer to have the credibility and the reputation without having to deal with the repercussions or extra administration.
In short we want risk free risk. We want the parade without the battle. We want the snake without the venom. But make sure the snake still looks really scary – because that’s exciting art!