Blickwinkel – by Sophia Vecchini

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Publ. 01.14.2021

Blickwinkel – by Sophia Vecchini
Turning homeless people into artists / let homeless people become artists

Sophia Vecchini is currently in her final semester of her media management studies. In her last semester she has to develop and realize a project on her own. The idea of her project to turn homeless people into artists* resulted in a course during her studies and her social vein. “I was in a volunteer course a few semesters ago. It was about creative campaigns, theoretically. The professor introduced us to one of the Bahnhofsmission am Zoo,” says Sophia. Here she received a lot of input. ” During this course we were allowed to think up creative campaigns for the Bahnhofsmission. My group and I had a very creative focus, a lot was about different art forms,” she continues.

That is when she had the idea to look for people who come to the Bahnhofsmission am Zoo as people who are homeless and let them become artists*. They should create art, taking photos from their point of view and everyday life. Photographs that will be presented at an exhibition afterwards. Now the time has finally come: the planning phase has already begun and the idea is being realized. In the first quarter of 2021, the exhibition is supposed to open in the homeless center of the Bahnhofsmission am Zoo. The exhibition is also intended to become a place of meetings and interaction. A place where worlds collide that are usually ignored by the broad mass of society. It is about the artists* showing themselves and being seen as well.

Every person is worth the same, every person deserves to be treated equally. Sophia takes the first step and invites you to join her creative process. In the following interview, she tells us how far she has progressed with planning so far and what difficulties, but also opportunities, have opened up for her.

How did you get the idea?

I am in the last semester of my media management studies. During this last semester we have to develop and realize a project independently. And fortunately, we have a lot of freedom there. I was in a volunteer course a few semesters ago. It was about creative campaigns and the professor connected us with one from the Bahnhofsmission am Zoo. He gave us input. We were allowed to come up with a creative campaign for the Bahnhofsmission during the course. That was when I got the idea to find people who would come to the Bahnhofsmission am Zoo as homeless people. Let them become artists themselves, so that they have the opportunity to show what they can do and be seen. That was catchy. I have a social vein and have worked a lot with children, but not so much in the area of poverty or homelessness. But once you’ve tasted a little bit of, I’d say, blood, and got into more social areas, then you have a drive like that. I did a voluntary social year in a crisis center. There you see an unbelievable amount and an unbelievable amount of formative things, also the view of our society and the problems are changing. It broadens your view of the world in which we are living. I grew up in Zehlendorf, I also went to school there. Somehow, the biggest dramas were that you could not afford the Longchamp bag. Sure, these are clichés, but some clichés are based on truths. And then you were dealing with sheltered people. To have such a contrasting program and to see that it is not always like that has influenced me and I have noticed that in such projects. When it came to developing creative campaigns… I often have a different view on it, because for me the human being and his story is more important than how successful we are now on Instagram. Which is of course not always optimal. But of course, it changes something.

Have homeless people been included in these creative campaigns, and have the campaigns been implemented?

Unfortunately, the campaigns were not implemented, it was more of a theoretical part. So it was more about the concept and the thought processes behind it. We were able to think about how much we really wanted to involve these people and how many and in what way, because there are still many points of contact. So as I just said, with people who live in a sheltered household. Not everyone in the course was so enthusiastic about the idea of sitting in a room with five homeless people.

If you want to work with a homeless person for your project, isn’t it possible that there is a lot of distrust? I imagine it’s difficult to convince people who are homeless for a project just like this.

I have to say that I have asked myself the same question. That is why I was quite fast at the point where I said: OK, I would like to work with the social workers there on site. With the individual case helpers on site, because they know their people and they know who might be interested. But I have to say that I spent a day as an assistant in the Bahnhofsmission am Zoo and you get a feeling for the ambience. For the tone that prevails there. And I went there once for an appointment, for example, I had an appointment with one of the social workers there and at the moment it’s very confusing where the entrance is. There was a group of men who said: what are you looking for? Do you need help? There was actually not much fear of contact from the other side. That’s why I’m relatively optimistic. I also went for a walk with a homeless man who helped me a bit and gave me some advice. The social worker there, with whom I am in contact, she told me very clearly whom I can already contact. Because it is a kind of network. You usually have a relatively regular clientele. Most of them are coming back again and again. That means that internal hierarchies are formed there and that means there are certain people who have more to say than others. From the outside, you don’t have a clue. But if you also have insiders and you get to know the people a little bit, get in touch with the right people, then you get such insights. I went for a walk with someone like that and he told me what could go well…, what could not go that well…, about what I have to pay attention to etc. I had the feeling that there is a lot more confidence in me than I would have thought.

How far have you progressed with the project, what is the current status?

There have been quite a few changes because of Corona. Corona makes everything more difficult. That means it was very, very difficult to find financing. But actually I am at the point where I have found someone who wants to finance the project – thanks to Freiberger & Collegen. Now I can buy the cameras I need for my project. I have to do everything relatively quickly with the clientele that I have to deal with. So from the moment I give the cameras to the 15 homeless people, so to speak, to the finished picture hanging on the wall. It can’ t take half a year. It must be a period of not more than two or three months. Three would almost be too much. Just to keep the 15 people in line. I have to prevent that it is simply lost in the life that the people lead. And the exhibition is only in March, because actually at this time, when winter comes, they have other problems. So they are really more concerned with getting through the winter and still being there next year. Beyond that I try to find further media partners. This is the phase I am in right now. So much planning – it’s just not the fun part yet.

How long do the people without shelter have the camera? In what period of time are you allowed to capture their view on things?

The plan is not really to say: Okay, it’s just one day. I just don’t want to make the time frame so tight, because I also really want to make them artists. I want to give them a chance, and creative freedom. If they can’t find inspiration in one place, they should be able to go to another. Just take their time for it.

How should the exhibition proceed?

I would like to address many different people, but the 15 artists will also be present at the opening. I think the exciting thing about the idea is that you can easily cover several things with it. Of course, it is exciting to participate in such a project and there are people who would simply do it voluntarily. But for many of them, there would be a little bit of a loan missing. That means you usually have to give them a financial incentive as well. In most projects they say that they will get vouchers from a supermarket. Because at least they can’t buy drugs with them. I think it’s stupid that they lose a little bit of that self-responsibility again. Of course I don’t want to support that, but I will say it in this way: a normal photographer would probably buy drugs as well. What matters here is really to treat them like artists. I don’t want to write on the picture or advertising for social reasons: We turn homeless people into artists. I want them to feel that way, too. I want them to feel valued. And another thing that I think is exciting is that when they are at this exhibition and they stand next to their pictures and say: Hey, do you want to buy my photograph? The plan is to let them decide the price for themselves first. Just to see how they rate themselves and what interested people would be willing to pay. Then automatically this confrontation between potential buyers and the people that this whole project is actually about happens. And I would like to see it happen in the center at the zoo. That’s exactly the meeting place to create a situation of talks and encounters.

You say that you would like to give the homeless people just that kind of courage. But I can imagine that you also have to give courage to the other side. So that they say: Okay, I’m going to face this now and I’m just going to get out of my bubble and take a look at it now. Maybe they are also afraid of it, because they don’t know how to act; how to interact with each other? Do you have something planned there, too?

These are good points. The Bahnhofsmission am Zoo is quite well hidden. That means it’s not super central in itself and it doesn’t happen very often that someone just happens to walk by by chance. That means you really have to advertise it more. Theoretically, the center is built in such a way that you have different rooms and can use them for different purposes. Universities or school classes can go there and ask questions. But there are also consultations for homeless people. My hope is that when you arrive there during regular activities, you will also experience life there. At the opening itself, it would be nice if the social workers were also present, because then the reports will be from different perspectives and you can interact with different people. In this way the possible “fear” on both sides is maybe reduced.

The interview was conducted by Carsten Jan Weichelt.

KMA Art Walk Video – Have a look

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Publ. 12.16.2020

In cooperation with the Berlin-based design studio Strollology, the ndi network of experts and the SRH University of Popular Arts (hdpk), a series of events was developed, the prelude to which was the Art Walk on popular Karl-Marx-Allee KMA Vision

Finally, the time has come. We are happy to proudly present our video of the KMA Art Walk here on Your Art Beat. So, what was the KMA Art Walk again? We have already told you about this event. Here you can read more about it. KMA Artwalk

Video and Composition by Lars Roth
KMA Song by Kaja Riedle & Paco Bose
Video Artwork by Linda Mögel

Stay healthy and see you soon!

Ai Sato

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Publ. 10.18.2020

In this post, Ai Sato talks about the creation of her works.

In order to create my art:digital drawing, finding the objects that have the potential to be a subject of interest is an essential factor for me, so I have been archiving the photographs of everyday life here in Mexico. Most of the findings are very different, and often are rather unexpected from my point of view: the nature, color, landscape, and architecture. These scenery became one of the important factors to my works as the impression of these subjects are quite strong, and have a strong visual presence.

I took the screenshot of a couple of digital drawings that I am currently working on in order to explain one of the processes of how I create the digital drawing: First, I start off by adjusting the snap-shot photograph (*on the left bottom) from the screenshot image, rather spontaneously. Expanding the possibilities of the colors, tweaking the shapes and changing the composition in order to experiment the possibility from these mere ordinal photography. Gradually transforming the image to the one above it at some point.

For this particular work, I started to become interested in creating “spheres”, which soon after I got the idea to “transfer” to the new “canvas”, because I found that there could be more possibilities in these objects to be a part of another drawing. To me, it is not so different to work with digital images with photoshop vs work physically with paint and canvas: “Randomness” is actually an important part of how I process making my art. Therefore, handling the colors on canvas, and handling the colors digitally work pretty fairly to me in order to achieve the visuals that I want to express.

I am also interested in creating moving images and video works with the same manner mentioned above. I am sharing one of the short video works I have recently created and experimented. One of my interests on this project is to expand the visual experiment, and playing with the possibilities beyond static images.

(*The photo in the screenshot was taken at the side street of central market, in San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico, where I am currently residing. The short video footage was taken at Puerto Arista, on the north coast of Chiapas, Mexico in the municipality of Tonalá, combining with the other footage taken at home and garden.)

(*One of my recent digital drawing work, “Untitled”, was shown at Digital Arts Festival (ADAF), 16th international festival for digital arts, Athens, Greece, July-September 2020)

Exit Athena

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Publ. 10.11.2020

From November 19, 2020 Selma’s solo exhibition Exit Athena can be seen at the Museum Folkwang in Essen. With her surreal-looking multimedia installations, Selma Köran questions traditional power structures and gender relations. For her first institutional exhibition, Exit Athena. the young artist has taken a canonical text of European culture and transformed it into an exuberant cinematic spectacle: Hesiod’s Theogony tells the story of the Greek deities. The artist adds a fictional final chapter to this text, in which she turns the hierarchy of the world of gods upside down. The heroine in Köran’s feminist new version is the wise and rebellious Athena, who competes against her own father Zeus. Selma Köran creates her alternative mythology in a visual language of exaggeration. She brings out the sensuality and aggressiveness in Hesiod’s cosmos and stages it in a colorful and anarchic way. The linear narrative structure of the text gives way to a fragmentary juxtaposition of grotesque film scenes and animated sequences with clay figures.

Selma has been part of the Your Art Beat network from the very beginning and took part in the accompanying program of events at the 2019 group exhibition in Berlin Kreuzberg as part of an “audiovisual dialogue”. She holds a Master’s degree of fine arts and design from the Dirty Art Department, Sandberg Institute Amsterdam.

KMA Artwalk

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Publ. 10.11.2020

In cooperation with the Berlin-based design studio Strollology, the ndi network of experts and the SRH University of Popular Arts (hdpk), a series of events was developed, the prelude to which was the Art Walk on popular Karl-Marx-Allee kma-vision.de
In the spirit of promoting civic and local political commitment and strengthening the neighbourhood community, people of all ages, backgrounds and interests were invited to spend an evening of art and culture on Karl-Marx-Allee.
The dramaturgy of the rally was accompanied by elements of storytelling and a live program. Among other things, there were short story readings, screenings and also a fashion walk by local fashion designers. Further stations addressed the backgrounds and history of the site and recounted them in the form of musical interpretations, short films, personal stories and a quiz.
One of the highlights of the Art Walk was the Art Screening “KMA Faces” (by Strollology) in front of the Computer Games Museum. For this work, 30 inhabitants of the KMA were photographed. Their portraits were morphed with the help of a machine learning model and generated by an artificial neural network to constantly changing variants of the KMA residents. With this artistic work, the Design Studio not only wants to reflect and demonstrate the fluctuation and urban changes of the KMA. It also intends to sensitize residents to their responsibility and influence on the streets around the KMA and to make them feel part of a community (both visually and mentally) that will shape the future of the KMA. This project is characterized not only by its technical standards and artistic component, but also by its social approach, which promotes an awareness of collectivity and local political commitment.
Inga Lieckfeldt from SYLD store participated with a wonderfully unconventional fashion show format à la Berlin style – a kind of modern fashion walk, directly at the Computer Games Museum. The aim was to provide space and attention for creativity, especially local and sustainable fashion.
In contrast to well-known fashion presentations and tiring beauty ideals, the fashion was presented by Berlin designers themselves and by people from real life, beyond the conventional model norm. The goal: as colorful and diverse as possible. Beyond that, joy, showing emotions and having fun. The lively and colorful Fashion Walk was accompanied by Berlin Female DJ Diana May. https://www.facebook.com/SYLDSTORE/

The I Ballet

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Publ. 06.3.2020

“The I Ballet” by Martin Henkel
Description of the installation:
The entire installation was first visualized in a 3-D program to get an exact idea of the character of the installation. The procedure for designing in a 3-D program is based on vectors and surfaces and in this case on animation. The same procedure was used in reality and in material. That means, first a wireframe model was created in original size, then the whole thing was covered with clay and modeled. The resulting figure was then cast in plaster and taken taken out of the mould, animated or changed in shape, cast again and so on. From these negative moulds, reproductions made of paper were created and copied. Thus, a dance formation was created, called “The I Ballet”, since they all descended from one figure.
The figures themselves consist of an arm, an implied body and a head.

Meaning of the installation:
The implied body has something floating and flowing, in contrast to the arm, which symbolizes power and strength. In a figurative sense this means that processes and goals are not necessarily realizable despite one’s own will.
The small head stands for limited and – on itself – limited thinking.
The figures are captured moments of movement, such as frozen stages of a person’s life or efforts of self-fulfillment.
Placed on poles, with a thin cross-section, the figure has a flexible floor connection, but unstable grounding.
The movement efforts of this one multiple figure create an I ballet, a beautiful, active, but also absurd life form.

Exhibition Introspective in Perspective

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Publ. 05.10.2019

Lita Poliakova
Introspective in Perspective
WerkStadt Kulturverein Berlin e.V.
May 5 through June 9, 2019

Lita Poliakova’s portraits exceed all expectations regarding the genre. Each single work turns both inwards and outwards. We are able to recognize the sketch of a face looking at us like an expressive character in a science-fiction comic. At the same time it seems to turn its interior soul toward the outside at each point of its shaping and color rendering: Like some kind of psychogram which merges associations of different moods and expressions.

On another level, the exhibition is constantly blending humans and nature like some sort of hologram. It is an astonishing and fundamental common ground that comes into view: the elements that all organisms are composed of and dissolve into. These elements are the same in humans and plants. The artist makes use of these micro-components in her splendid organic recycling: She extracts color pigments from organic materials, such as left-over fruits, and applies them to her paintings. There might be unpredictable further variations of these organic colors. Finally, it is the solid, yet expanding crystal structure that could be understood as an anorganic and dynamic complement of the paintings.
Thus, between screen and crystal, the colors continue the play of depiction on a material level.

Is this a human face, whose sense of self, affections, facets and transformations shows up in the emergence of colors? Or is it a landscape or even a singular plant that can be depicted as a human with the help of our gaze? Do we identify the ongoing metamorphosis of a single individual or rather a huge family album or chemistry of humans, flora, and fauna?

Jule Böttner
WerkStadt Kulturverein Berlin e.V.

The Cut In

———— Filed under: Art ⁄⁄ Artwork ⁄⁄ Design

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Publ. 04.17.2019

»The Cut In« is a duo project formed by an artist, Saverio Tonoli, and a designer, Nona Schmidt, from Berlin.
Between Art and Design – collage is a common topic between the work of the two of them. They paint, cut and compose their images using analogue and digital techniques as part of their creative procedures.

This project investigates glass and its possibilities, not only as a material but as a medium to explore colours, forms and structures.

»Cut In« reinterprets traditional leaded windows and their immersive quality by juxtaposing different layers of coloured glass and integrating the glass collages in the architecture.

»Cut In« are in fact thought to be installed in the space, where transparent and coloured glass shapes blends, overlap and transform themselves under the intervention of light.

A starting point of the project has been the exploration of colours, discovering combinations of harmonic and disharmonic colours in relation with Runge’s theory of colours.

The collages are made out of one painted image on glass. Through different breaking techniques which they call the »Bruchtest«, the painted image is exposed to an unknown factor creating new situations to work with and finally arranged and repainted into one single piece.

YOUR ART BEAT MEETS MUSIC

———— Filed under: Allgemein ⁄⁄ Artwork ⁄⁄ Exhibition

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Publ. 04.5.2019

Kühlspot Social Club is a venue for creative music, theatre, art and culture in Berlin Weissensee. They emphasize “social” in their perspective on cultural development and try to promote an inspiring community of artists and art lovers. In the field of music, the main focus is on improvised music, jazz, dance music of all kinds, including improvised dance music, tango, balfolk, and everything always live. In the course of the season – there is a break in late summer and in winter – they have one to three events per week, two to four art exhibitions per year and occasional dance parties. Performance art, theatre events, and action painting with improvised music are also part of the spectrum of the program. The room can accommodate up to 70 people.
Kühlspot is the former studio of the Berlin artist Siegfried Kühl, who died in 2016. His son, the artist Christoph Kühl, runs the Kühlspot. The art of Siegfried Kühl is permanently exhibited and contributes essentially to the great ambiance.
For more information see www.kuehlspot.com/kalender.html
YOUR ART BEAT is happy to be part of the Kühlspot community and exhibit some of its artists, among them Christoph Kühl.