Friday, 31 August 2012

Our first week in Berlin....

We have been in residence at Kunst Stoffe for a week now and already feel inspired by the urban landscape, history of the different districts and the general relaxed attitude to life here. We are staying in Prenzlauer Berg and so far have visited the Bauhaus Museum, East Side Gallery (Berlin Wall), taken part in various workshops relating to reusing materials and preserving our environment as well as spending time taking in architecture and public art by bicycle.


When not exploring the city, we have been in the studio creating models and prototypes for various ideas which make links between Berlin and Peru. We are creating a large dome shaped sculpture out of discarded plastic, woven posters and billboard papers and an accompanying sound piece  The piece could be transported to different urban spaces where the viewer can take time out of the city underneath its canopy and listen to the orchestral sounds from the diverse nature in Peru. It is very exciting for us to realise ideas during this residency in Kunst Stoffe for sculptures and installation which were originally conceived in Peru. The interesting aspect is that the piece will (hopefully) have resonance and meaning for both places but for different reasons.

 Our artwork is all being created using the material supplied by Kunst Stoffe#s waste centre and its many rooms filled with everything from plastic toy parts and old jigsaws, to huge reams of paper, wood/metal/cloth and tile rooms filled to the brim and an abundance of electrical and domestic items. The centre is open to the public to purchase materials which are privately donated or received from large companies locally.

 We are exploring the link between nature and the urban environment and the point at which these two co-exist and will be looking to the architecture of Berlin, and its unusually high amount of green spaces (for an urban centre) and creating artwork that reflects this. We are interested in the idea of valuing the handmade, tactile approach to art making and being resourceful in order to highlight ideas around sustainability and what it means to be ‘connected’ to your environment.

Recycling is a normal part of daily life in Berlin rather than an afterthought or a 'chore' and the city has a feeling of resourcefulness and creativity that you don't necessarily see elsewhere; quirky cafes using hay bails as seating, large scale graffiti that are regarded as artwork rather than spoiling the landscape or beach cafes on top of buildings.  This could be due to the high quantity of artists, as there are disused buildings full of studios in abundance and it feels like everyone is always doing something or there is always events/festivals happening not too far away.