»Sculptural Democracy. The Forms of the We« was an international and collaborative laboratory as part of the anniversary programme »beuys 2021«. From June to September 2021, it unfolded in the public space of Düsseldorf and online. The final Live-In Lab took place from 22–29 September in the experimental architecture designed by raumlaborberlin in front of the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus on Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz. Part of the Live-in Lab was exploring and comparing the models, discussing and negotiating ideas and being, working, thinking, eating and living together on site. During the Live-in Lab there were workshops with Collectif Etc, STEALTH.unlimited, Arnold Dreyblatt, Kaltwasser/Fraas/Ronz and raumlaborberlin as well as numerous lectures, actions and performances.
Workshop with ARNOLD DREYBLATT
The Archive as Living Practice: »The Black Mountain Archive« / »Free International University Protocols«
An artistic research workshop that referred to two visionary utopian educational projects of the 20th century: the legendary Black Mountain College (1933–1957, North Carolina, USA) and the unrealised Free International University proposed by Josef Beuys with colleagues in Düsseldorf (1973–1978). These two historical educational projects – one realised and one propositional – provided a reference for internal and public discussion, installation and performance. In the workshop, the legacy of these two projects was examined and reflected upon in an active encounter between artist, audience and archive. Extensive archival materials on Black Mountain College and the unpublished minutes of the Free International University meetings served as reference material. The participants realised interdisciplinary installative and performative projects, including a final public re-enactment of the F.I.U. meeting minutes.
Workshop with COLLECTIF ETC
Fire is fascinating. In our collapsing world, images of fire are ubiquitous, from the Amazon forest on fire to riots and the weight of burning barricades. But could the images of fire be used in more productive ways? Can fire be used to produce forms, collective forms? These »forms of the we« started from fire and what it can produce with its various forms: Charcoal for nature painting, embers for cooking and flame for firing ceramics. Groups worked on welding metal to decorate a wood-ceramic kiln, painting on fabrics with artist Marion Jdanoff to create urban scenography, and sculpting clay to make ceramic tabletop grills. At the end of the workshop, the group organised a big meal together.
Workshop with KALTWASSER/FRAAS/RONZ
In a collectively built structure that corresponds to the aesthetics of a production street, the remnants of the commercialised inner city in particular and of the affluent society in general were transformed and (re)materialised. In the process, the workshop went through different processes: Openness and diversity, low-tech and accessibility, creativity and inspiration, utopia and empowerment, sharing and learning, sustainability and recycling.
In the run-up to the workshop, freely available materials were collected and compiled. The workshop participants were called upon to participate in the collection of materials: Whether packaging from the logistics sector, the Rhine ports and the surrounding shopping temples or leftovers from large construction sites and handicraft businesses. In addition to the material recycling within the workshop, interaction with the local community was planned and carried out.
Workshop with RAUMLABORBERLIN
When we talk about public space, it is the bodily and physical act, the presence and interaction that transforms a space from an open space to a public space. In this workshop, the relations of the self to the common and the public were discussed and a series of collective exercises of becoming public were invented and tried out. Themes discussed included: conflict, dissent, hosting, generosity, tolerance, agency. Objects were discussed, made as support structures for »being public« and the city was explored together in different ways.
Workshop with STEALTH.UNLIMITED
It's Wednesday, 19 September 2029. The first Space X crew successfully lands with their sophisticated life support systems to begin colonising Mars. Needless to say, as part of the rapidly growing surplus population - the unneeded - you are not there. On the same day, the remaining workers* at the Gigafactory in Berlin-Brandenburg are fired, with no support system in place. They find themselves with them. How do you build an independent community the Monday after?
The past Covid years - with distance learning, remote working and the closure of entire »industries« (including culture) - have brought the onslaught of a jobless future much closer than we anticipated. The Live-In Lab provided an opportunity to collectively simulate and anticipate this future, each day in a different setting at Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz. Workshop participants found themselves in a landscape dominated by loose associations of neo-cooperatives, in a reality of fractured consensus, dispersed coordination and at times competing survival needs. As author Adam Greenfield anticipates, a life »without a trace of boredom«. For a week, the workshop imagined and performed new democratic principles, routines and rituals, each day concluding with a piece of storytelling.
Gustaf-Gründgens-Platz from above with the architecture by raumlaborberlin, Photo: Rainer Schlautmann
Collectif Etc – STEALTH.unlimited – Arnold Dreyblatt – Martin Kaltwasser – Kaleidoskop Südpark – raumlaborberlin