Tickets go on sale May 25.
The images of the three new video installations on the history of the Berliner Festspiele show the cracks and ricochets, extremes and experiments of a 70-year history of work that began on September 5, 1951 in the Schiller Theater.
Emerging from the tradition of various summer festivals, but also from the cultural-political competition with the GDR, which also brought the "World Festival" to East Berlin in 1951 and invited 26,000 young people from all over the world, it was not long before the "Berliner Festwochen" filled an entire calendar year with its innovative theater and music platforms.
Since then, the Berliner Festspiele have been laboratory and experiment, seismograph of the zeitgeist, exhibition venue and debating club.
Culture from Europe, Africa, America and Southeast Asia has been presented, as well as the artistic and political examination of history, the avant-gardes and the arts of the present.
What can be gleaned from the traces of time? All the past orchestral and jazz concerts, theater and dance productions, urban space actions, exhibitions, discourse series, circus performances, rituals, youth competitions, cinema projects, pioneering new media arts, musical gradations, full-dome films in planetariums and VR worlds, all the dramatic conversations and celebrity speeches - what of them speaks to us today?
Many projects have become legends, milestones in Berlin's art and cultural history.
The exhibition also traces their relevance, but above all understands the festival organism itself as a thought-provoking phenomenon: all the formats, festivals, venues and competitions - what dreams and pretensions, struggles and mistakes do they actually bear witness to?
The exhibition attempts to present a simultaneous history of the Berliner Festspiele and also recalls the East Berlin Festival, which, equally rich in tradition, was not to survive the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Among the precious, partly unpublished recordings of about 120 individual artistic positions in the video installations are the performance "Music Walk with Dancers" by Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Carolyn Brown and David Tudor (Berliner Festwochen 1960), "La Lupa" by Giovanni Verga directed by Franco Zeffirelli with Anna Magnani (Berliner Festwochen 1965), La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club New York in front of and at the Neue Nationalgalerie (Berliner Festwochen 1975), "Frankenstein" by The Living Theatre (Berliner Festwochen 1966) and "Bremer Freiheit" by Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Berliner Theatertreffen 1972), Luca Ronconi's "Orlando Furioso" in 1970 at the Deutschlandhalle, the performances at the Berlin Jazztage by Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Africa 70 in 1978 and by Sun Ra and his Solar Arkestra in 1983 at the Philharmonie, a rehearsal by Claudio Abbado with the Berlin Philharmonic for the premiere of a piece by Luigi Nono in 1978, or the music of the griot duo Penda Diabaté and Arafan Kayouté (Horizons - Festival of World Cultures 1979).
Other positions and discourses in the video installations come, among others, from Pina Bausch, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Brasch, Miles Davis, Gustaf Gründgens, Tatjana Gsovsky, Allan Kaprow, Martin Luther King Jr, Hildegard Knef, Udo Lindenberg, Herbie Mann, Gordon Matta-Clark, Jonathan Meese, Meredith Monk, Bert Neumann, Nico, Nam June Paik, Steffie Spira, Sarah Vaughan, Wolf Vostell, Robert Wilson, Vegard Vinge, and Ida Müller, as well as Nō- and Kabuki-theaters from Japan.
- Concept and dramaturgy: Thomas Oberender and Jeroen Versteele
- Video installations: Thilo Fischer and David von der Stein
- Visual concept: Eps51 (Ben Wittner, Sascha Thoma, Marcus Bücken, Julia Kemperman)
- Illustrations: Eps51 (Julia Kemperman)
Edition #31, a research by Angela Rosenberg on Gerhart von Westerman, art manager and first artistic director of the Berliner Festwochen, entitled "Pragmatist on Hot Ground," will be published to coincide with the exhibition opening. The edition describes Westerman's activities during the Nazi regime.
The exhibition booklet is available for download online, as well as the history of the Berliner Festspiele at a glance and the biography of an institution on the website.