What started as a self organised initiative by artists to fight the common perception of the Neukölln area as the criminal immigrant slums of Berlin has become an insanely overcrowded mass-event.
This year the program offered 600 events in around 340 places! Fortunately the festival’s website is quite well structured and the visitor can filter and sort all events depending on taste, time and interests – but it needs at least half an hour to get a rough overview of what’s going on up to a finalized list of marked events that one can print out together with a convenient map.
I was mainly interested in video-art, mixed media performances, photography and film, so after fiddling with the favorites list and the usual printer annoyances i was ready to leave.
My first stop on Friday night was the Die Asporas exhibition at bauer&ewald, a neat showcase of young Israeli artists with interesting drawings, prints, paintings and photographs, some reflecting on the emigration to Germany. Nothing too special for my taste but a nice atmosphere with a DJ playing popular Israeli music, the usual Tel Aviv hipster crowd and cheap booze at the bar.
I went on to Weserstr. where literally thousands of people were on the street, drinking and enjoying the warm evening. My initial motivation to see as many exhibitions as possible faded away instantly considering having to fight my way through the crowd of young artsy scene bonanza.
I stopped at O.T. Projektraum because I was interested in seeing the black and white super8 flick “Bad Luck City” but unfortunately there wasn’t any film projector around. Instead i saw the screening of a short film of the same artist Aaike Stuart called “In Character” about a male man wandering along the city, performing simple everyday tasks like making a phone call or throwing away trash.
I enjoyed the beautifully shot and edited images in the dark back-room of O.T. having a break from the loudness out on the street. There was also another nice short film by the same artist, called “Holidays in Geneva” played on a TV set in the quite small hallway in front of the bathroom.
My next destination was Das Gift to see a video installation, but again there were too many people in front of the bar and through the windows i could only see a projection of this nights UEFA football match, so i didn’t even bother to peek inside.
After seeing that the next two venues in Donaustrasse also just screened football I ditched my map and printout plan and went straight to Café Engels near Tempelhofer Feld in the Schillerkiez where I met some friends. I spent the rest of the evening there drinking beer and chatting and enjoying the warm vibes.