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From the catalogue of the 3rd Berlin Biennale

complex berlin

Ute Meta Bauer, Gabriele Horn, Sønke Gau

The frame of reference for the 3rd berlin biennial is Berlin’s heterogeneity, deriving from the myths of its past, from the alternative, subcultural and critical practice of the 1980s and early 1990s and from politically and economically motivated redefinitions and shifts due to the city’s role as the ‘new’ capital. A broad international spectrum of fine art, architectural, cinematic, performative, sonic and urban stagings enters into dialogue with Berlin-specific discourses. [...]

The goal of the 3rd berlin biennial for contemporary art is to take local contexts and circumstances, the art production that results from them and their relations to similar structures elsewhere and condense all of these in a temporary arrangement as a structure of interlocking discourses. In this way we aim to exploit the potential for the production of cultural knowledge, to insist on the relevance of artistic statement to our perception of contexts, and to generate a community of shared interests by calling on the public to participate autonomously. The incorporation of older artistic works produces connections to the situations and constellations of the early to the situations and constellations of the early 1980s seen from Berlin in the here and now.

The artistic positions represented at the 3rd berlin biennial, most of which are shown as series of works, appear alongside ‘hubs’ that have been produced by cultural workers: Migration, Urban Conditions, Sonic Scapes, Fashions and Scenes and Other Cinema. The metaphor of the hub is borrowed from the language of information technology, where it refers to a distributor of data within a computer network, and from its use as a name for a centre for air traffic. The hubs consist of specially designed spaces in the exhibition that function as nodal points or distributors of themes that are potent in Berlin – themes that emerge more clearly because of the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification have that certain urban and social changes have taken more rapidly here than in other large European cities. The connection of the hubs to the artistic works produces a ‘neighbourhood’ that enables an audience from all walks of life to establish cross-references between the works exhibited, to raise questions, to see the contexts differently, and to discover their own links in the subject matter of the contributions.

3rd Berlin Biennale, 14.2.–18.4.2004; catalogue