WE SHALL OVERSWIM?
Where or what is home?
This is the central question of the multi-media installation, WE SHALL OVERSWIM, by Borjana Ventzislavova. The artist, known for work that tackles the subject of borders and the overcoming of them, is showing her search for different perspectives on home through the stories of 15 migrants in a way that dissolves borders.
People in water can be seen on monitors. In their own language, they relate the migration stories of others. From the chaotic babble of 15 different languages, order appears as one nears individual monitors, which each have a second soundtrack in English.
The water surrounding the people as a boundless, always identical element in space and image stands in contrast to the individual and subjective answers that each person has to the question of border experiences and the resulting feelings about the home.
Ventzislavova’s installation, which also crosses the barrier between inside and out when it can be seen through the windows of Project Space Kurt-Kurt and Open Space LS43 from 9p.m., touches on considerations of anthropological constants:
geographical/national borders and global migrations, individual experiences and political systems. geo-social differences and European identity - and the individual need for a home.
What appears to be Ventzislavova’s reaction to the current refugee situation is, however, a work from 2008. Its timelessness and at the same time constantly renewable relationship to current events are blatantly obvious through her staging of it in Berlin in 2016, and ultimately also allow the borders between concrete events and universal phenomena to dissolve.
Borjana Ventzislavova was born in Sofia, studied IT at Sofia and Vienna Universities, and graduated in 2005 with a degree in ‘Visual Media Design / Digital Art’ from Vienna University of Applied Arts. She lives in Austria and Bulgaria. Her works deal with the themes of identity and collectivity, the marginalisation of individuals and different social groups, migration and coexistence.
Perfomer: Elli Brumen, Ingunn St. Svavarsdottir, Lucian Peterca, Oleg Mavromatti, Melisa Maida, Zaneta Schmiedale, Alexander Kwale, Gabriele Heller, Rene Beekman, Vulcho Kamarashev, Alessandro Vincentelli, Violeta Januskievica, Cecilia Stenbom, Zuzana Hruskova and Gareth Harding
The video work WE SHALL OVERSWIM was funded by: ISIS Arts (UK), BMUKK (AT)
The exhibition is supported by the District Cultural Fund, Berlin-Mitte, the Senate Chancellory - Cultural Events and the Federal Chancellery of Austria.
It is supported technically by cine+ and is a cooperation with the project room, Open Space LS43
Information about the series of exhibitions:
sans papier – Das Leben ist eine Reise
without papers - Life is a Journey
A project by Simone Zaugg and Pfelder in Kurt-Kurt | Art and Context in the City Lab Moabit
(‘sans papiers’ literally means without paper(s) and is a term used to describe immigrants without legal status and without legal documents)
The art project, without papers - Life is a Journey, is transdisciplinary in approach and involves protagonists who have themselves experienced migration and flight at different levels, some of them also ‘without papers’. The two-year project, initiated and curated by Simone Zaugg and Pfelder, takes the form of exhibitions, lectures, discussions, dinner lectures, readings and interventions in the Project Space Kurt-Kurt | Art and Context in the City Lab Moabit, and contextually in refugee accommodation or in public spaces. In addition, the project focuses on artistic positions that do not rely on paper - installation, performance, direct on the wall, digital, with sound, film, etc.
The series is conceived in three parts. In Part 1, from the end of May 2016 artists will be shown who have experienced migration and flight and who have since set down roots in Berlin and established themselves in the Berlin art scene, or artists who question, combine and artistically focus on old and new identities, homelands and ways of living.
In Part 2, artists will be contacted who have recently arrived in Berlin and are in this sense both refugees and new protagonists within the Berlin art scene. They have come without papers, sans papiers, and without work. This part consists of three dinner lectures from newly arrived ‘without papers’ artists who will present themselves and their work to a wider audience from January 2017.
Part 3 takes place from the summer of 2017 with three tandems consisting of the three dinner lecture artists and three Berlin artists who will develop new situations, and in this sense site-specific projects, with the curators of Kurt-Kurt which will be presented in the Kurt-Kurt rooms, in spaces from cooperation partners or in public spaces.
With the experience of being direct neighbours with Lageso on Turmstraße for the last nine months, the Project Space Kurt-Kurt wants to connect with this situation on an artistic level and identify and present ways, potentialities, chances and the necessity for an integrated discussion about our ‘common language’, the language of art. Central to this is art, artistic dialogue and collaboration on an equal footing, so that chances and eventually also risks with long-established and recently arrived art protagonists are tested, examined, questioned, worked on and presented to the public.
The project, without papers - Life is a Journey, creates encounters, enables collaborations and exchanges, tackles the possibilities of society-changing processes, and activates political debates with the aim of overcoming the division into ‘us’ and them’. It develops structures for the occupation of space and room, the acquisition of social and artistic possibilities and the adoption of survival strategies in a new place.
Looking, thinking, speaking and working as common experience. Artist and visitors meet in Project Space Kurt-Kurt because they can no longer meet each other in places like Damascus, Aleppo or Baghdad.
Programme and participating artists
DThe project, without papers - Life is a Journey, consists of a series of three presentations and a broad range of associated events.
Part 1.1 - 1.3
Three exhibitions with artists established in Berlin on the subject of migration and flight.
Part 1.1 | Exhibition 26.05. - 11.06.2016
Borjana Ventzislavova/BUL „We shall overswim“ (http://www.borjana.net/)
Part 1.2 | Exhibition 07.07. - 23.07.2016
Hans HS Winkler/GER (http://www.hswinkler.de/Hans_Winkler/index.html)
Manaf Halbouni/SYR (http://www.manaf-halbouni.com/)
Mona Hatoum/PAL (http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/mona-hatoum)
Part 1.3 | Exhibition 13.10. - 05.11.2016
Anri Sala/ALB (http://www.hauserwirth.com/artists/26/anri-sala/biography/)
Lerato Shadi/RSA (http://www.lerato-shadi.net/)
Khaled Barakeh/SYR (http://khaledbarakeh.com/)
Part 2 | January, February and March 2017
Three dinner lectures with refugees and newly arrived artists in Berlin
Teil 3 | from June 2017
Three exhibitions/tandem presentations by established Berlin artists and refugee artists.
For further information on the special events and current programme see:
Kurt – Kurt | Kunst und Kontext im Stadtlabor Moabit
In 2016 the Project Space Kurt-Kurt is ten years old. After quickly, visibly, professionally and internationally finding its feet in the first four years with Projects in Public Spaces in Moabit, it remained true to its aims in the following years with exhibition projects, festivals, and discussions within the framework of Art and Context in the City Lab Moabit. It located art in surrounding city places, communicated with, involved and integrated members of the community into the artistic dialogue, and in addition to this collaboration and exchange with its immediate vicinity, also acted beyond city and national boundaries to cooperate with artists on an international level.
For Kurt-Kurt and its founders, Simone Zaugg and Pfelder, political themes and political art have always been a part of its agenda in Kurt Tucholsky’s sense: that we sharpen our gaze and encounter the present consciously and critically, examine and reflect upon it before we present something in artistic form for discussion. In this sense, we are convinced that art must not be primarily political, rather that art that with open eyes opens the eyes of others has strong powers of expression and a political effect.
It is therefore our aim to work with artists whose work is based on this challenge of the current and very acute and explosive political situation, not to illustrate it but to translate it in their own artistic language into convincing, emotionally effective interventions, images, videos, sound works, etc.
Deshalb ist es unser Ziel, mit Künstler_innen zusammenzuarbeiten, die sich dieser Herausforderung der aktuellen und sehr akuten und brisanten politischen Situation grundsätzlich in ihrem Schaffen stellen und diese nicht themenbezogen illustrieren, sondern in ihrer eigenen künstlerischen Sprache in überzeugende, unter die Haut gehende Interventionen, Bilder, Videos, Soundarbeiten etc. übersetzen.