Last weekend I visited the Berlin Biennale curated by Artur Zmijewski and Joanna Warsza, the main site for which is the KW building in central Berlin. The Biennale was a mixed affair of artistic projects and installations roughly organised around the theme of intersections between art and politics. Sometimes these intersections were quite explicit, sometimes fuzzy, sometime downright odd. Key for me was the video room near the top of the KW building, which featured video streams by what the curators called ‘artist journalists’. The videos in this room dealt with things related to the international ‘Occupy’ movement and protests against ‘austerity’ measures (i.e. public service cuts) in Europe, amongst other things. Most relevant to my concerns were David Reeb’s videos of protests in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh. Also key was Khaled Jarrar’s ‘State of Palestine’ stamping project, for which he has designed a mock visa stamp for the non-existent state of Palestine. He is using this to stamp people’s passports throughout the period of the Biennial (see my blog post on Khaled’s project). The most bizarre thing at the biennale was a large space occupied by an indoors replication of an occupy camp that was meant to be a work in progress and a space for democratic action and the imaging of a new world in the existing one. Visitors were invited to add slogans and statements to various surfaces, including the walls of the space, and contribute to the open and eclectic dialogue. Someone had made reference to Baudrillard’s notion of simulacrum (the creation of an imitation) on one of the walls, which seemed appropriate.
Take a look at the biennale website for yourself.
And see some of my photos below.