Portrait Stations, Mihaela Chiriac und Melissa Canbaz, Photo: Dan Lancea

Melissa Canbaz and Mihaela Chiriac of Stations answer our questionnaire: on historical feminist literature, neighbourliness and window vacuum cleaners

What are you working on at the moment?
Right now we’re busy researching our next exhibition, which will open in the context of Berlin Art Week. It’s a show that gives insight into the fifty-year history of A.I.R. Gallery, New York’s first non-profit gallery for women artists. We’re taking this work with archival material as an opportunity to reflect on curatorial practices in dialogue with colleagues and artists, but also to redefine our strategic positioning. We’re also looking for ways to manifest or visualise this process in the space. The exhibition will expand rhizomatically into public space as part of Musée de la Fraise, which was initiated by artists Christl Mudrak and Alexandra Müller: exhibition projects by about twelve other female artists and collectives will be on view between 14 SEP and 25 SEP in one of those strawberry vendor huts you see around the city. We are also working with musician Emrah Gökmen and Kız Meslek Korosu, a choir he initiated, on a music project.

What are you reading or listening to right now?
Part of our research involves delving into feminist literature from the nineteen-sixties and seventies. Although not necessarily up-to-date, these texts do shed light on current gender discourses and social developments. They also help put the focus on social empathy. We’re inspired by the writings of Carla Lonzi, Lucy Lippard, Griselda Pollock, and Hélène Cixous, to name just a few …

What would you do if you didn’t work in the arts?
Mihaela Chiriac: Marine biologist.
Melissa Canbaz: Ethnomusicologist.

Do you have a favourite building?
Zentrum Kreuzberg. No other building in Kreuzberg is as architecturally and socio-politically charged as this one. And even though the core of the building is totally dilapidated and needs renovation, it’s pretty great to see how such a well-functioning neighbourhood network has sprung up around it over the years. When we moved our space there three years ago, we realised pretty quickly that Stations can only work if we take this complex structure into account and actively integrate the neighbourhood into our programme. Berlin’s Social Democratic Party (SPD) has decided to build a police station in the heart of Kotti, so things here are bound to change—unfortunately! It seems the plan is being realised now, despite all protests.

What animal would you like to be?
Sparrow. The treetops under our balcony have some of the best soundscapes around.

Who would you like to meet?
Quite acutely: Iris Spranger, the Berlin Senator for Interior, Digitalisation, and Sport. For the reasons mentioned above and in hopes of changing her mind …

Do you have a daily ritual?
Checking for new water damage in the space. Then we usually head to our neighbours Lisa Herfeldt, Sarah Bohn, and Anne-Katrin Ahrens. They run Fächer, the exhibition space one door down.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve had to admit to yourself?
That we didn’t buy a window vac sooner.

What accessory or object could you not be without?
The little sign above our door that says »Labour«. It was there before we got here and it always fits.

What do you do when the work is done?
We spend a lot of time with friends on the balcony in front of the space, especially in summer. Sometimes Ercan, proprietor of Café Kotti next door, drops by to share the latest neighbourhood gossip.

Making Something From Nothing
11 SEP—13NOV 2022
awarded with the Project Space Award 2022

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