GDR Trap and Fundamental Democratic Principles


Each week, we ask two protagonists of the Berlin art scene to choose a link and tell us about it. This week: Aram Bartholl and Sven Beckstette

Nadja Buttendorf, ›#robotron003‹

Nadja Buttendorf is showing her work ›#robotron003‹ in the context of the exhibition ›Gegenwarten/Presences‹ in Chemnitz. A 30-metres-long sign has been hung on the building once used as a production centre for VEB Robotron, the former East German computer manufacturer. That same site and its history are the point of departure for Buttendorf’s specially-produced music album of the same title, ›#robotron003‹, which is available online on YouTube and on the internet. The artist has also produced and distributed more than 4000 matchboxes in Chemnitz; they reference the work in urban space and corresponding album. The opposition in the GDR would use messages on matchboxes to invite members to clandestine meetings in church parishes. The music style on the album imagines »trap from the GDR« in a way that did not exist in the days of East Germany.

Aram Bartholl, artist and art professor for time-based media at HAW Hamburg, lives and works in Berlin

Mahret Ifeoma Kupka, ›Think Differently! Why Diversity is a Gamble for Everyone‹

This piece for German radio features Mahret Ifeoma Kupka—art historian, author, and curator at the Museum Angewandte Kunst in Frankfurt/Main—explaining what exactly diversity means. Kupka’s reasoning connects everyday incidents and personal experiences with sociological categorisations and historical-cultural contexts to underscore the fact that diversity is primarily about equality, co-determination, and respect—in other words, fundamental democratic principles. This process, like any that demands that we consider other points of view, naturally involves a certain amount of conflict. Diversity is a challenge—but one that anyone interested in more justice and equality must take on.

Sven Beckstette, research associate at the Nationalgalerie at Hamburger Bahnhof—Museum für Gegenwart—Berlin

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