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building Utopia


building Utopia

at kunstraum tapir

©urated by Carrie McILwain

15.9.-23.9.2012
opening: Saturday, September 15, 2012, 19-22h
open hours: 20th, 21st 12-17h, 22nd, 23rd 12-16h

Eunhyea Choi
Ramiro Davaro-Comas
Seth Goodman
Michael Greaves
Mariko Hori
Mia Dahye Kim
Gimena Macri
Kyougo Matsumoto
Francesca Rosa
Heather Schmaedeke
Kevin Yaun
takt at tapir
kunstraum tapir * weserstr. 11 (corner to Müggelstraße) * 10247 berlin f-hain

building Utopia

In Friedrichshain at the corner of Weserstraße and Holteistraße stands a nearly vacant lot to become a redundant shopping center.   Redundant, because the plans have already been denounced by the public (the soon-to-be consumers), as the new structure will inevitably create a radius of desirability and higher rents. Over the last two months, we watched as the brick structure was humbled and erased by the labour required for gentrification, the process yielding magnificent vista views to a crumbling interior, the still-clinging exterior allowing the spectator to achieve an intimacy with otherness.
As an ephemeral physical binary, the site as a whole is stunning. Unusual but not wholly unfamiliar in its accelerated decrepitude, this is a space that is coming apart more than it is coming together. It is an interruption of the mundane and a slow revelation of something you can only usually glimpse: the moments in between which are hardest to describe because they are flux.  Yet still there is gravity in the situation, the site becoming less and less, simultaneously revealing more and more, finally transformed into rubble, existing as a landscape now. It awaits the value to be applied by the architects of profit.

TAKT is a temporary home to a constantly rotating group of artists and it is upon this site in the position of outsider that we have collectively gazed and occasionally entered into the tableau among the permanent residents of the neighborhood.  Captivated by the destructive, transformative force, which is also creation and the same impetus for art. As participants in this artist residency, as a group of artists we have played our unwitting part as a gentrifying force of urbanity, and yet at the same time we exemplify one of the most exploited groups both from within and without. It is artists that consciously choose to venture, live and or produce in circumstances deemed to be impoverished, dangerous and undesirable.  The rhetoric of the starving artist is alive and kicking, coexisting alongside the opposing well-funded stereotypes.  Artists products and lifestyle are subject to the same mechanics of capitalism that rule the lives of consumers, and laborers outside of cultural spheres. As a result, dialogue between artists can become replaced with veiled competition, a flexing of conditioned academic strength, and a focus to display stations in a hierarchy or market. These reactions to the pressures inherent in the system, are an attempt to assign values with a latent hope to corner the profits for the individual. More often than not these profits remain circulating in the hands of those outside the sphere of cultural production.
This process is complicit with gentrification as simply the presence of artists or art infuses the necessary value into a neighborhood. Art is expected to be available for the visual consumption of the public, without remuneration to the creators. Which is to say, the display of art within the city creates the desirability necessary for the consumption of formerly un-valuable space. The artist is too soon pushed from the nest, and the urban space and the art re-purposed on behalf of the profiteers.
Berlin in its recent history has shown a capacity for valuing artists and cultural producers, inclusive of the alternative lifestyles that generate art and stem from out of its productions.   Currently there is exponential opportunity for participation in Berlin's diverse art scene.  So as moths to flames artists from around the world come to participate, to find inspiration, or as an outsider to glimpse the artist utopia.  It is the hopes of this exhibition to display the impacts and dialogues between this city and the artists that have observed the transformations and have in some works literally re-purposed the rubble.  Artists whom through their individual practices become conscious of the terms and states in which they exist. It is an invitation to the public to complete the cycle and to bestow with their spectatorship the highest and often the only reward garnered by artists. This is an opportunity to share with the public and to participate in discussions about this city.

Carrie McILwain