Auftakt 2023 Prelude 2023

25 April–5 May 2023

Online format
Event Series

Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin
nGbK (Event space, 1st floor), Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin
Raum 139, Kunstquartier Bethanien, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin
»Stadtwerkstatt«, Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 11, 10178 Berlin
Various venues in Berlin


Özge Açıkkol, Susan Azizi, JK (FATA Collective), Stella Geppert, Lara Habboub, Noa K. Ha, Ralf Michaels, Irina Novarese, Barbara Rüth, Marc-André Schmachtel, Hito Steyerl, Sandra Teitge, Margarita Tsomou

Members initiative

Which themes will make up the nGbK program in 2024? All projects submitted for 2024 will be shown on the nGbK website for two weeks. Groups applying for next year present their ideas and approaches to the association and to the public. In addition to the presentation of project proposals, the association introduces itself via a range of events. At the end of the Prelude weeks the association’s members vote for projects, deciding the following year’s program.


Tuesday, 25 April, 19:00 (de/en)
nGbK events space, first floor, Oranienstrasse 25, 10999 Berlin
Panel “Solidarity in the art field – more than just a gesture” with Susan Azizi (Fellowship Weltoffenes Berlin), Lara Habboub (Bard College), Marc-André Schmachtel (Goethe – Institut im Exil), JK (FATA Collective), Irina Novarese (Hier & Jetzt: Connections)

Welcoming: Eylem Sengezer
Moderation: Natascha Nassir-Shahnian

Amidst today’s crises, appeals for solidarity are being heard more and more often, including in the art world – as recently seen in the context of the war in Ukraine or the social upheavals in Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey. Fundraisers and events are organized, artists and cultural producers who have been forced to flee are “welcomed” with new programs of financial aid. But are these short-term measures sufficient? And how sustainable are they? Are they more than just a gesture of solidarity?
It’s worth looking back: What has changed in the way artists and cultural producers are treated in the context of displacement and asylum since the so-called “summer of migration” in 2015? Which lessons from the measures taken in the cultural sector at that time can be applied to the current situation?
Self-organizing initiatives, displaced artists, and projects offering safe spaces for cultural producers in exile discuss how sustainable structures can be established and how solidarity can be translated into lived practice, beyond a purely theoretical understanding. The discussion will focus in particular on ways of overcoming one-sided dependencies, hierarchies of power, and paternalism.

Friday, 28 April 2023, 19:00 (en)
Kunstquartier Bethanien, Studio 139, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin
Artist talk “nGbK in Kreuzberg” with Özge Açıkkol (Scholarship Istanbul-Berlin)

Moderation: Ingo Arend

The Istanbul-based artist Özge Açıkkol has been living and working at Kunstquartier Bethanien since January 15, 2023 as a fellow of the Berlin Senate and the nGbK. As part of the Istanbul-based artist collective Oda Projesi, Açıkkol works at the intersection of art, socio-spatial practices, literature, and social pedagogy.

The stipend of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe is made possible in the frame of a cooperation between the neue Gesellschaft für bildende Kunst (nGbK) and the Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien in Berlin as well as DEPO in Istanbul.

Samstag, 29. April 2023, 16:30 Uhr – 18:30 Uhr (de/en)
Meeting point: Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 13, 10178 Berlin
Walk “Von Karl zu Cotti”

The walk starts at the new location of the nGbK in Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse and leads via the subway line U5 to the station urbaner kulturen/nGbK Hellersdorf at Cottbusser Platz.

The nGbK’s location in Hellersdorf was initiated by members who have been active in this late-GDR housing project since 2014. Over time, it has become an exhibition and event space, and a place for artists and local residents to work together, with activities including forms of urban practice as well as open-air events and exhibitions in the nearby green land, known as Place Internationale.

Using the programme title “Utopian”, the station urbaner kulturen focuses in 2023 on the question of how we can think about the day after tomorrow in the face of the crises and dystopias of today. To start the year, the station will be transformed into a work and presentation space focusing on the theme “School of the Future« (until 27.5.). Here, a working group consisting of residents, artists, educators, urbanists and academics is exploring concepts for the future of education in Hellersdorf. This working process is complimented by three large photo panels by the artists Sabine Bitter & Helmut Weber (Vancouver/Vienna). These photographic “diagrams” have been specially conceived for the workspace and show campuses, learning spaces, libraries, pavilions, schools and modernist university architecture, taken mainly from the artists’ own archive. They focus on education as a societal infrastructure, a formal language and as an architecture in social use. The workspace will also be used to plan an “outdoor classroom” for the neighbouring green land called Place Internationale on Maxie-Wander-Strasse. For this purpose, a former Dresdner Bank trade fair pavilion built in 1971 by Heinz Scheid (ABB Architekten) will be renovated and erected with local school pupils from May 2023.

Tuesday, 2 May, 18:30 – 20:30 (de)
Meeting point: Neptune Fountain on the square in front of Rotes Rathaus
Route: along former projects of “Art in the Underground” at Alexanderplatz
Archaeological walk

Work group member Sandra Teitge will outline the history of the art competition “Kunst im Untergrund” (previously: AG U2 Alexanderplatz and Kunst statt Werbung) on site during a walk and simultaneously contextualize the current competition. In a dialogical exchange with two guests, former work group member Barbara Rüth and participating artist Stella Geppert, individual aspects of the competition will be anecdotally recalled and conveyed.

Wednesday, 03 May 2023, 19:00 (de/en)
Auditorium of Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin
nGbK Lecture: Screening and conversation “Die leere Mitte” with Hito Steyerl and Noa K. Ha

Following on from the nGbK Lecture “Where We Stand: European Cities, Colonialism and the Other Histories and Futures of Berlin’s Mitte”, Hito Steyerl will show her film Die leere Mitte (The Empty Center, 62 min., 1998). After the screening, the artist will talk to urbanologist Noa K. Ha.

Hito Steyerl’s documentary film tells the story of Potsdamer Platz from Berlin’s old customs boundary to the “Congo Conference” of 1884 and the Nazi period through the years following the fall of the Wall. Steyerl uses footage of central Berlin from the 1990s, portraying the megalomaniac construction projects around the “empty center”—Potsdamer Platz—as a dubious “rise from the ruins.” This highlights not only the way history and power build on the ruins of the past, but also how architecture and urban planning include and exclude national identities, obscuring the visibility of other stories behind the walls of a specific narrative and agenda. Long cross-fades are used to render upheavals in the urban fabric visible, revealing traces of anti-Semitic and racist-colonial history, of global restructuring, and of the ongoing existence of such social and political dividing lines. The history of Berlin-Mitte shows that exclusion has always been necessary in order to build a powerful center for a nation.

Thursday, 04 May 2023, 19:00 (de/en)
Stadtwerkstatt, Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 11, 10178 Berlin
nGbK Lecture: Panel discussion “What next for the freedom of art?” with Margarita Tsomou (professor for contemporary theater practice at Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences and discourse curator at HAU/Berlin) and Ralf Michaels (Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg)

Moderation: Ingo Arend (nGbK)

“Arts and sciences, research and teaching shall be free.” The clarity and simplicity of this statement from Germany’s constitution, the Basic Law, no longer seems to apply. Since the controversy over anti-Semitic imagery and exhibits at documenta fifteen and the role of the BDS movement against Israel in Kassel, there have increasingly been calls to limit the freedom of art. Following the report by an independent commission and Berlin constitutional law expert Christoph Möller, the documenta’s structure is open to debate. At the same time, many cultural institutions are unsure who they will be able to invite and what they will be able to exhibit in the future. This event will discuss the consequences of this controversy for the art world in legal and political terms.

Friday, 05 May 2023, 17:00
Starting point: nGbK, Oranienstraße 25, 10999 Berlin
End point: Karl-Liebknecht-Staße 13, 10178 Berlin
Move and demonstration „Leer nach Mitte“

nGbK in cooperation with Folke Köbberling and with the support of Chor der Statistik.

The storage rooms located in Oranienstraße must be cleared already at the end of April. This involuntary move due to a non-extended lease is to be politicized by the demonstration. The remnants of stored materials and furniture from 30 years of nGbK history will be moved as part of the demonstration “Leer nach Mitte”. All members are invited to push 17 sculptural vehicles demonstratively along Adalbertstraße, to Jannowitzbrücke via Humboldt Forum to the new location. The Chor der Statstik will accompany the move with protest songs. At least 30 people are needed. From 18:30 the basement rooms at Alex will be inaugurated.

Financed by