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In the work commissioned by LAS, Danish artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen transforms the Halle am Berghain into a virtual wetland through a monumental digital installation in his first major solo exhibition in Europe from 10 July to 26 September.

Jakob Kudsk Steensen, 'Berl-Berl', Halle am Berghain, 2021
Jakob Kudsk Steensen, 'Berl-Berl', Halle am Berghain, 2021 © Timo Ohler


The work presents different perspectives on a lost and existing wetland landscape around Berlin, as well as its once native species and associated mythologies.


Jakob Kudsk Steensen is one of the world's leading artists to fully exploit the potential of the latest technologies for art.
To this end, he uses the possibilities of gaming platforms to tell his stories in virtual worlds and let them emerge in hybrid landscapes in analogue space.


Visitors to the exhibition can expect a journey through a virtual wetland that will take up the entire 1,435 square metre space and extend over two floors.


Various perspectives of the virtual Berl-Berl world will be spread throughout the space, visually changing and evolving from hyper-realistic images to the fictional and futuristic. In addition to the site-specific installation of the virtual world, Berl-Berl will also be experienced online, not only as a documentation, but as a work of art in its own right.

For the realisation, the artist explored the still preserved marshes of the Berlin-Brandenburg region, especially the Spreewald, for several months and created an extensive image archive by means of macro-photogrammetry.Using the Unreal computer game engine, Kudsk Steensen generated a virtual 3D world from this archive, in which relics of the Ice Age meet today's wetlands, and which, mediated by technology, at the same time opens up a new view of nature.


In collaboration with the musician Arca and the sound artist Matt McCorkle, Kudsk Steensen also developed a site-specific soundscape for the installation.

They mixed samples of Arca's voice with archive recordings of the natural soundscape of voice with archive recordings of the natural soundscape of wetlands recorded in and around Berlin from 1960 to the present day, as well as settings of numerous words for 'Berlin' from different centuries.


"Berl", the Slavic word for swamp, is considered the origin of the word 'Berlin' and is the title of the exhibition. Like many other metropolises around the world, Berlin was created in a swamp - a saturated landscape that serves as a livelihood for a variety of species.Despite their crucial ecological importance, marshes are often perceived as dangerous, murky or hostile spaces. Kudsk Steensen is fascinated by this discrepancy, as well as the history and mysterious character of these places, which are simultaneously fertile and decomposing.The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin proved to be a crucial partner for the project.
The artist was given access to the extensive archives and incorporated sound recordings and digital copies of objects from fauna and flora into his work. Together, a special educational programme was also developed, offering guided tours of wetlands and continuing insights into these ecosystems. More information will be announced soon.


The project aims to link different perspectives on the landscape from different times and disciplines. It is not only digitally and technologically innovative, but also draws on local folklore, myths and legends and incorporates the current state of research in the field of wetlands.

The exhibition invites visitors to explore the future of these landscapes and to understand the immediate need for their protection.

Berl-Berl is commissioned by LAS and curated by guest curator Emma Enderby.
About LAS
LAS is a Berlin-based art platform at the intersection of art, technology and science. Through experimental projects in unconventional spaces, both digital and physical, LAS continues to explore innovative forms of exhibition practice. In its reflections on the future, LAS follows its leitmotif of light - a symbol that stands for cross-border thinking, new knowledge and innovation.Jakob Kudsk Steensen (b. 1987, Denmark) focuses his practice on environmental work with 3D animation, sound and immersive installations. His work has recently been exhibited at Serpentine Galleries (London, 2019), Pylon Hub (Dresden, 2019), MATADERO (Madrid, 2019), Tranen Center for Contemporary Art (Copenhagen, 2018) or Times Square Arts and BRIC (New York, 2017). Among others, he has participated in the Collateral Events of the 58th Venice Biennale (Pinchuk Foundation, 2019) and the 5th Trondheim Biennale for Art and Technology (Trondheim, 2018). He was the first to receive the Serpentine Galleries' Augmented Architecture Commission award, launched in 2019 in partnership with Google Arts & Culture and architect Sir David Adjaye, OBE. In addition, Kudsk Steensen was shortlisted for the Future Generation Art Prize 2019, and as part of the prize programme he was invited to exhibit his work RE-ANIMATED (2018-2020) in the form of new installations in Kieve and Venice. He has been awarded the Danish Arts Foundation Prize, the Lumen Arts Prize, the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences Prize, the Games for Change Prize, the Lumiere Foundation Prize, The Telly Awards and a Cinequest Festival Prize. He has been artist in residence at the Luma Foundation and Callie's, among others.
Additional information
Opening hours
Monday - Thursday: 13 - 22 h
Friday - Sunday: 11 am - 11 pm

Accessibility

The entrance to the Halle am Berghain is suitable for people with limited mobility, wheelchairs and prams. A stair lift also allows people who need a wheelchair to reach the upper exhibition floor. Our Visitor Service Team can assist you with prams. A barrier-free toilet is located on the upper floor.
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