50 Jahre neue Gesellschaft - Lernorte 50 years of ‘new society’ - Learning Places

23 June–3 August 2019

Event Series

nGbK (Event space, 1st floor), Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin


COVEN BERLIN, Beatrice von Bismarck, Anna Bromley, Kathrin Busch, Chloe Cooper, Alice Creischer/Andreas Siekmann, Jula Dech, Renate Flagmeier, Peter Funken, Paz Guevara, Christian Hanussek, Susanne Huber, Jens Kastner, Christin Lahr, Christian Liclair, Silvan Linden , Annette Maechtel, Fiona McGovern, Justo Pastor Mellado, Sandrine Micossé-Aikins, Marion von Osten, Nihad Nino Pušija, Matthias Reichelt, Aykan Safoğlu, Gabriele Stötzer, Ildikó Szántó, Jelena Vesić, Anna Voswinckel, Elena Zanichelli

Project group

Christian Hanussek, Ulrike Jordan, Hannah Kruse, Vincent Schier, Olga von Schubert, Eylem Sengezer, Anna Voswinckel

Four symposia, so-called ›learning places‹, turn the spotlight on critical issues arising from the underlying principles, methods and ethics of work in the arts and cultural sector, and of activism in the arts context. Guests and other participants pursue in-depth exchange in a participatory and non-hierarchical setting. Past nGbK projects serve as a springboard for discussion of collective, artistic and activist strategies that are fit for the future. Participants are welcome to put up for debate their own project proposals and methodologies. Members tell of past experiences and experts analyse nGbK projects in order to reassess the work of, and at, the nGbK, in the broader context of politics and the arts.

Sunday, 23 June 2019, 14:00-20:00
The Learning Place SOLIDARITY analyses endeavours undertaken at the nGbK to act in alliance and solidarity with institutions and actors, worldwide. Time after time, projects here have forged links with international political and artistic movements by adopting clear positions on left-wing civil rights and workers’ liberation campaigns, protest actions and radical social change. Likewise in Germany, the association has repeatedly lent its support to solidarity campaigns, alliances and public statements.
To what extent did revolt and revolution in Latin America or Eastern Europe serve the declaredly left-wing association as a locus of longing? How did its projects seek to overcome the class barriers and North-South hierarchies endemic to the (bourgeois) art world? What did its members project onto the places and struggles they allegedly wanted to support? And what was the relationship between the left-wing association’s ›politicos‹ (political faction) and artistic faction?
Drawing on selected projects such as »35 Künstlerinnen aus Mexiko« (1981), »Cirugía Plastica. Konzepte zeitgenössischer Kunst, Chile 1980–1989« (1989) and this year’s jubilee exhibition, the scope and impact of these fleeting alliances on the association’s structure and its degree of (non-) accessibility will be assessed. The symposium will further explore the extent to which invited artists and partners elicited new perspectives on art and political discourse within the association.
With: Paz Guevara, Jens Kastner, Justo Pastor Mellado, Nihad Nino Pušija, Matthias Reichelt, Aykan Safoğlu, Jelena Vesić
For details of the program see the PDF: Introduction and program out of the material collection for the Learning Place SOLIDARITY, 2019

Saturday, 6 July 2019, 14:00-20:00
The Learning Place RESEARCH looks at the variety of collective, artistic and activist research practices pursued within the nGbK and beyond. With its aim of using art as a means to advance Marxist social research, the »AG Grundlagenforschung« [Project Group: Basic Research] of the nGbK in the 1970s stood in stark contrast to the »RealismusStudio« of those early years, which was concerned – like current discourse – with artistic and curatorial research: art itself was taken to be an autonomous means of knowledge production and research.
How do social research and artistic research interrelate at the nGbK today? Are they mutually exclusive or is their interplay productive? How far did the association oppose and challenge the prevailing canon in tackling, in both Marxist and artistic contexts, socio-political and historical research topics largely neglected at the time in academia? How did the collective and mostly research-based methods of the project groups influence the ways content was generated? And how could such research methodologies persist outside of the established knowledge economies? In reference to »Funktionen bildender Kunst in der Gesellschaft« (1970), »Erzeugte Realitäten I–III« (1994/95), »Künstlerinnen International 1877–1977« (1977), among other projects, experts and guests discuss the parameters of past work at the nGbK, in particular the various research concepts and methods. What kind of educational hub, what kind of knowledge producer for artists and cultural workers was the nGbK in the past – and how about now?
With: Kathrin Busch, Alice Creischer/Andreas Siekmann, Christin Lahr, Silvan Linden, Annette Maechtel, Sandrine Micosse-Aikins, Beatrice von Bismarck, Anna Voswinckel
For details of the program see the PDF: Introduction and program out of the material collection for the Learning Place RESEARCH, 2019

Saturday, 20 July 2019, 14:00-20:00
Lernort ARBEITEN: ›Work‹ is a recurring topic at the nGbK: in structural terms – the association operates as a collective – as well as in the projects of the last fifty years. Mirrored here is the shifting interaction of art and work: art is work, even though the two are sometimes seen as polar opposites. Cooperation in project groups and the ensuing shared authorships influence the content of the projects and, above all, their political articulation, as does the question of whether solidarity with workers’ struggles is a feasible option for the arts and cultural sector.
The vast variety of concepts of work and working methods and decision-making processes are collectively considered in this learning place. Which forms of self-organised work are pursued in project groups today? How is artistic work under neoliberalism related to so-called immaterial work? Which power structures does the project-group structure of the nGbK break down, and which does it perpetuate? Are workers’ struggles still the key to political mobilisation?
›Work‹ has been addressed in numerous nGbK projects, to various ends. While examined in the 1970s mainly in relation to the working class, this schema soon came in for a critique informed by personal experience, from a feminist perspective or, equally, that of artists and cultural activists engaged often in precarious labour. Questions of immaterial and post-Fordist work were taken up, along with issues such as unemployment or the division of housework, including (unpaid) care work. How visible is the feminist critique of an orthodox Marxist reading of work in the nGbK today? Beginning with these questions and in reference to nGbK projects – »DIE IRREGULÄREN/ THE IRREGULARS. Economies of Deviation« (2013), »Tätig Sein« (2004), »Faktor Arbeit«, »Unbeachtete Produktionsformen« (1982) – and theoretical debates, past and present, the future work of the association will be collectively discussed, and potential methods and approaches be considered.
With: Anna Bromley, Jula Dech, Peter Funken, Christian Hanussek, Ildikó Szántó, Marion von Osten

Saturday, 20 July 2019, 20:00
Film screening: »Die allseitig reduzierte Persönlichkeit - ReduPers« von Helke Sander

For details of the program see the PDF: Introduction and program out of the material collection for the Learning Place WORK, 2019

Friday, 2 August 2019, 20:00
Film screening: Selected Films - curated by COVEN BERLIN

Saturday, 3 August 2019, 12:00-19:00
Learning Place DESIRE: The nGbK has long since regarded itself as a place where various desires can be presented and discussed – also, and above all, desires that roam beyond the bounds of heteronormative and patriarchal relationship structures. Here, art and society were (and still are) examined from a consciously queer and feminist perspective that does not reduce desire to a physical and/or interpersonal level. At stake here are questions of rising up, seeing and being seen, and challenging the status quo. Individualism, questions of identity and body politics play just as great a role as the political potential inherent to expressions of desire.
While some projects open up the floor to intimate questions of desire by crafting spaces with a heightened awareness of intersecting discriminations, others are intent on making their demands public, loud and clear, also beyond arts venues.
Which artistic and curatorial practices have come into play so far at the nGbK? Which effective strategies have projects devised to gain social leverage, and how could these be used in the future? Which aesthetic forms have been tested in the course of this contestation?
In reference to past nGbK projects, such as »Künstlerinnen International 1877-1977« (1977), »Perlen für die Säue« (1991) or »No play – Feminist Training Camp« (2016), these questions will be discussed in a broader context, also in order to provoke collective reflection on how desire can continue to assert its place within, as well as beyond, the cultural sector.
With: COVEN BERLIN, Chloe Cooper, Renate Flagmeier, Susanne Huber, Fiona McGovern, Christian Liclair, Gabriele Stötzer, Elena Zanichelli
For details of the program see the PDF: Introduction and program out of the material collection for the Learning Place DESIRE 2019