Notes from Berlin Art Week 2015

BAW2015-047Berlin Art Week is a huge art festival that takes place all over Berlin, in galleries, museums, fairs, expos, abandoned television complexes, river-side industrial factories, massive garages.
Attending art festivals is like… if your brain was a person, this person would eat only pure antioxidants and superfoods aaaaall the time. Spinach with blueberry ginger chutney, cooked with nuclear chili and honey from pasifist poetry bees. This brain-person would be a super healthy individual, bursting with energy and flexible joints that could bend in all directions, like a yoga ninja that works in a library and volunteers their spare time doing space-junk clean-up. But in a complicated, invisible way, this person never DO burst any energy, or bend a joint, or put a book in a shelf, or snap a broken screw out of orbit. This person just kind of look like they COULD do those things, at any moment. The person would stand completely still, just being…. the essence of potential.
My intellect feels like this after Berlin Art Week. Light and alert and full of very smart things. But I cannot explain any of it, cannot use it, cannot ACT on it. It’s like my mind is just present, filled with potential potential (yes, two words, potential potential, get it?).
I know for sure I saw a lot of completely hilariously awesome material, that exists in the categories bad, good, interesting, boring, success, fail, mostly all of them at the same time. Which is why, Art is great. (Weeks are also great, but they happen all the time.)
BEHOLD. My favorites of Berlin Art Week 2015, picked by an intellect shaped and frozen by the week itself. It’s like if Han Solo quotes his favorite Darth Vader quote, because Darth is Luke’s dad, and Luke is Han’s new friend, Luke is sometimes annoying but also cool, maybe because his father is immensely quotable, but Han does all of this while completely still, because, cryogenic stasis!
Veit Laurent Kurz of Johan Berggren Gallery at Berlin ABC
BAW2015-044Oi. Marvelous, fairytale-ish, recursive, artificial trees with eyes, mouths, fingers, USB ports, diodes, chips, electric switches. There were three trees and two wall segments with wonderful, artificial cyber-forest life. I want a full post-apocalyptic park with these, this was like a teaser trailer promising a trilogy that is not a franchise but a waking up Saturday morning cartoon trilogy that would run until school started Monday and then school would be cancelled forever.
BAW2015-041 BAW2015-040Captain by Bjørn Melhus at Arcadia, Funkhaus Berlin
Bjørn Melhus is my new favorite artist. Captain is fantastic. This is awesome. Captain is a 16 minute video installation. In the film Melhus recreates the B-movie studio stages of sci-fi movies, and re-enacts while decosntructing the original dialogue, creating a splendid, hilariously bad “alien planet / the other” setup.BAW2015-050
In this TV studio setup, a generational trio of young, middle-age and grand-old males (all of Melhus family I think) mime their dialogue to the real dialogue of old sci-fi movies, heavily edited and re-de-constructed into surreal, tiny episodes. It’s a bizarre montage, yes, but it’s bizarre, beautiful and believable at the same time, and also most important to me… it shows a profound love of the source material. Melhus is using vintage sci-fi material as brushes to paint, and the paint embraces the subject like a lion embraces the lamb on bring-your-lamb-to-school-day. With wool between the teeth. A+++ would wool again, especially for the sound design.
It also helped immensely that the whole exhibition at the incredible Funkhaus Berlin was exquisitely curated and spaced. The atmosphere in this space wins the Berlin Art Week atmosphere price.
Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin of Spruth Magers / Andrea Rosen at Berlin ABC
BAW2015-038Drones, kittens, webcams, penguin car crash with pixar panda hugging girl, intentionally bad photoshops, palette at maximum. I cannot explain why I like this, why this is awesome. It just is.
There are all these interesting labels. Hipster blog music. Post internet art. Eccojam. New aesthetic (which now is quite retro actually). Dad music. Tumblrcore. Vaporwave. I love all of it, and… these just fit like a mecha hand in a VR glove, into a common web of all these and all that is greatness but simultaneously also not. I cannot express why I like these, I just really do, they suck and rule and they are complex and simple at the same time. We are full circle, back to that brain, standing completely still, full of tapping untapped potential potential.
Expedition conclusion: Successful potential.

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