VOLKSBÜHNE
Berlin
The Near Future: An Evening with Starship and Guests
22.03.

Visual arts, Film

Larry Gottheim, Barn Rushes, 1971

16mm film, color, silent, 35 min.

Klaus Weber, Das Witzetape (The Joke Tape), 1995
Video, audio, 30 min.

Larry Gottheim’s 1971 structuralist film Barn Rushes shows—in a series of elegantly oscillating tracking shots arranged into different views—nothing more and nothing less than the image of the silhouette of a large barn, dissolving in different conditions of light, depending on the different times of the day and year. In this masterful study of stationary cinema and the frenzied movement of the cinematic image, the viewer does not know what exactly this building or barn is, but senses that through its form and its materials of wood and celluloid it is connected to another, earlier modernity, and as a result seems to be already doomed to obsolescence. This lends it a serious clarity as a moving image and implicates the cinematic experience associated with it.

According to Wikipedia, in 1670 Kurfürst Friedrich Wilhelm forbade having barns within the city area for fire safety reasons, and around 1672 he arranged the construction of twenty-seven barns in the immediate vicinity of what were then the city walls. This is how the present Scheunenviertel (Barn district) came into being. Alexanderplatz was a cattle market at the time, requiring large amounts of hay and straw. As the fire safety regulations prohibited the storage of such flammable materials within the city walls, the barns were built right outside the wall. North of what is now Dircksenstraße, which marks the wall’s approximate course before the baroque city fortification, lay extensive agricultural land. The Scheunenviertel also served as a home for the agricultural workers employed there. After the city wall was torn down, the area was developed, but kept its old name in common parlance.

None of the Berlin Scheunengassen (Barn Alleys) exist today in their historical form.

While viewing a film such as Barn Rushes, anticipation and remembrance are active both in a long-term perspective and in the intensified perceptual space of the moments between short-term memory and projection. We learn while we are watching, wondering from time to time how much longer the film might last, and we can assume with some certainty that there are other variations of the barn images that will follow. At the same time, this apparent certainty allows you to zone out and reflect on things that are perhaps stored in the vicinity of the word “barn” or its image, or perhaps have nothing at all to do with the barn but because they lie close to the emotion of the cinematic image of the barn, they take shape and emerge.

Something might come to mind that you had forgotten a long time ago, or that you did not know you had stored in your own memory. The mind, the inner memory, conjures something in relation to the inside and the outside. An inner picture, a social image or perhaps a joke. But perhaps it is not a joke at all. Or you don’t know yet that it is a joke for someone else.

In 1995, the Berlin artist Klaus Weber approached passers-by on Oranienburger Straße and Chausseestrasse in Berlin, asking them to spontaneously tell him a joke. The resulting audio piece, the so-called Witzetape (Joke Tape), sets the tone of the second part of the program that deals with Berlin and its streets, and a drastic articulation of the burst of the pre-conscious into the conscious realm.

Photo: Filmstill Barn Rushes. Credit: Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V.


Past Activities

Ein Abend mit Starship und Gästen: Die nahe Zukunft

The Near Future is both the title of the exhibition at the Volksbühne pavilion and the subject of the evening. With this term, the Berlin art magazine Starship, which also designed and curated the exhibition, wishes to indicate a temporality that is directly derived from the present. Although the near future cannot be strategically or analytically planned like the future, it nevertheless stems from a decision, and thus represents a time in which the sum of all that is possible is reality.

The evening is made up of various vignettes compiled by former and current Starship editors. These might be conversational or performative reflections, a revisiting of texts that were published in Starship, or moving and still images in which Starship anticipates the new, lurking just beneath the layer of the present.

With Hans Christian Dany, Ariane Müller, Gerry Bibby, and guests

Opening: Starship. The Near Future

Opening: 15.03.19, 9pm-12am
Sir Henry and Herman Herrman will provide an Exotica and Space Pop environment. The artist Egill Saebjörnsson will perform live at the Grüner Salon at 10pm.
Duration of the exhibition: 16.03. – 19.05.19
Thursday-Sunday, 2pm-8pm
LVX. Pavilion of the Volksbühne at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

An installation by Ariane Müller and Martin Ebner (Starship)
with works by Judith Hopf, Christoph Keller, Henrik Olesen, Gunter Reski, Nina Rhode, Nora Schultz, Till Sperrle, Tobias Spichtig, Suse Weber, Annette Wehrmann and Florian Zeyfang

The art magazine Starship was founded in 1998 in Berlin-Mitte and exists by now for more than twenty years. In its first issue, it used six key phrases to describe the environment in which it operated: “experienced self-organization”; “halfway drafted life models”; “passing economy”; “ exhibitable introspection”; “ample contacts” and “art?”

Twenty years later, Starship continues to produce the magazine, but also looks back on a long life-span as an exhibition organizer, publisher, and producer. Within the current editorial board — which includes Gerry Bibby, Nikola Dietrich, Martin Ebner, Ariane Müller, and Henrik Olesen — Ebner and Müller had originally founded the magazine, together with Hans-Christian Dany and Gunter Reski. For the exhibition at the Volksbühne Pavilion, they have visualized Starship and invited works by artists that have been in the memory or storage of the magazine for varying lengths of time. Seen in terms of theories of relativity, as material objects, they are potential kinetic energy, and therefore, together with their authors, they are the virtual operating power of Starship, which has always also consisted of publishing what it understood as the current and new within its time. The magazine Starship has existed in the near future for twenty years. In its exhibition at LVX, it takes the form of a barn. This is not only because the area around the Volksbühne is known as “Scheunenviertel” (Barn District), but also because this is the shape the Starship builders have developed for their spacecraft as the most economical and suitable for everydaylife. In this form, Starship can function as a ‘magazine’ in its meaning as storage, but its parallel function as a spaceship facilitates movements in various time-relative relations. Either way, the barn and the spaceship are a kind of shell for everything they transport; its builders are the Volksbühne workshops.

Curator: Elodie Evers
Curatorial Assistance: Adela Yawitz
Construction Engineer: Sascha Gierth
Construction Manager: Simon Behringer
Technical Director: Stefan Pelz
Fabrication: Volksbühne workshops
Video Engineers: Jens Crull, Mathias Klütz

The exhibition is funded by Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa.

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