Urban Interface Berlin is THE event of the moment i was really looking forward to enjoy slowly under the sunny days. Both an exhibition and research project, it aims to explore the interspaces between public and private urban space. From what i’ve seen so far, the selection of projects does a fantastic job at showing how broad and multifaceted the theme can be. All the artworks are also very accessible. Although i’m not crazy for all of them (but i’m getting ridiculously picky), i think that anyone –passerby, activist or new media art lover– can engage with them and go back home with some elements to reflect upon. UIB lasts several weeks. Alas! i am spending most of that time out of Berlin.
I managed to attend the opening but ended up talking with people and didn’t see any of the pieces (well, briefly and from afar). That’s why i never go to openings. The day after i was off to that Milan design porn event. Today, hurray, i spent the afternoon chasing the UIB installations throughout the city. Tomorrow and next week i’m out of town again but i’ll spend Saturday checking out the other installations.
Installed on two abandonned pieces of lands, they proudly notify passersby that some classy condominiums are going to be built on the land. One with office spaces “right on the pulse of the city”, the other being targeted at well-off families. All amenities will be provided to ensure that buyers can enjoy a â€œsafeâ€? and comfortable life: shopping malls, a doorman, private parks, Starbuck cafe and Haagen Dazs icecream parlour on the street level, etc.).
The images of the “future buildings” are in fact caricatures of existing buildings and city quarters. They are developed by the private sector and are increasingly shaping the cityscape of Berlin.
The headquarters of UIB are on Torstrasse, at the Sparwasser HQ gallery. That’s where you can get to see and borrow for a few days The Head. The wearable sculpture, created by Finnish artist Laura Beloff, contains an â€œeyeâ€? which is a camera connected to a mobile phone which is in turn connected to the internet. Images and sounds are automatically recorded as soon as you send an SMS to The Head‘s phone (just text 0170 5544514.) The recorded files will then be relayed to you via MMS. The public can access all the images generated online.
The Head has the mission to document public and private spaces throughout the event. However the wearer has no control on this access to her/his life from outside. As you can see on the images, The Head has partially melted. Made of plastic it didn’t quite agree with the current sunny weather that Berlin is enjoying for a couple of months.
The image on the top of this post shows Daniel Jolliffe‘s Berliner Stimmen project. A yellow sculpture with a big red loudspeaker is mounted behind a bicycle. 3 times a week, Jolliffe is cycling through the borough of Mitte, Wedding and Gesundbrunnen, broadcasting previously recorded one-minute calls (digit 0800-7447000, leaving a message is free if you have a German phone number). The past realisations of the project under the name of One Free Minute in San JosÃ© and Vancouver have shown that the callers use this public platform to utter private statements and stories as well as commercial announcements and political speeches. Listen to the recorded messages.
Images on flickr.