The COVID-19 pandemic may have put a temporary halt to art exhibitions, but this didn't stop a group of creatives in east Berlin from exhibiting work on their windows and balconies recently.
A collection of about 50 creatives took part in the "Die Balkone: Life, art, pandemic and proximity” exhibition in the Prenzlauer Berg district, organised by Universität der Künste Berlin (Berlin University of the Arts). The exhibition was curated by Joanna Warsza and visiting professor, Ovul Durmusoglu, on the premise of having "zero budget, no opening and no crowds." The project invited locals to embark on an intimate stroll within current regulations to search for signs of life, art and points of kinship and connection.
The organisers felt that as we are at the beginning of a new cycle that we cannot yet situate ourselves in, there are shifts in the relationship between inside and outside, and between what is private, public and political. Balconies serve as the public apertures of the private, they say, and in their political history, they have both been terraces of openness and hope, as well as platforms for authoritarianism and supremacy. We have seen this in other countries, of course, such as when Italians sang from their balconies during the lockdown there and DJs worldwide performed sets to entertain people.
"Balconies today are the thresholds from which we can encounter the world during the confinement of the domestic: which is safe and sound for some, but not for others," says the university. "They are emergency exits to take a breath of fresh air, catch a moment of sunshine or a smoke. While our freedom of mobility is on hold, they become unique sites of everyday performance or even civic mobilisation. Every architecture school has its own way of designing balconies. Everyone has their own way of inhabiting them. Especially now."
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