Happy Siebenschlaefer + Meet Your Berlin Artists

Germans celebrate June 27th as their version of a summer Groundhog Day. Today, we also open the Joint Custody Project Berlin. We've decided to finally share the list of 24 excellent artists who have spent the last month toiling, sharing, and arting.

[in no such particular order]

Click on them for more treats
Eve Hurford
Jules Herrmann
Katja Sonnenwend
Paul Thomas
Sophia Domagala
Kerstin Wagener
Daniel Wang
Sandra Siewert
Klaus W. Eisenlohr
Rigobert Pupacher
Anton Unai
Despina Stokou
Mike Ruiz
Enrico Centonze
El Bocho
Gert-Jan Akerboom
Jessica Gellweiler
Klaas Hübner
Amanda Vietta
Anna Krenz
Kai von Rabenau
Uwe Behrens


JCP Berlin Vernissage // TOMORROW

One of two moments you've been waiting for has finally arrived -- The Joint Custody Project: Berlin opens tomorrow (Friday, 27 June) at Raab Galerie. We spent today installing the pieces, which span from canvasses to multimedia presentations to a floor "carpet." Stay glued to the blog, as we will release the names of the artists a few hours before the reception begins.

(an official invitation to you + yours)

Join us at Raab Galerie [map] from 7-9pm for a night of surprises, introductions, and experimentation in West Berlin as we celebrate the opening of the month-long saga of the Joint Custody Project Berlin. The evening becomes a West-meets-East migration as the celebration continues late into the night at 103 Club [Kreuzberg - map], hosted by Discos Capablanca.

The Joint Custody Project landed in Berlin on the 1st of June. 24 artists from all mediums were selected by curators Jonny Coleman and Chris Cruse, and paired off into 12 teams. Each team was tasked to create a cohesive piece of art -- without exchanging a single word. All the artists were given the same theme -- "You Can Never Go Home Again" -- to think about as they developed their pieces.

Each artist worked, back and forth, on the piece over the last four weeks without any verbal communication or knowledge of his/her partner's identity. Many tears were shed; much joy was shared. These pieces are more than end-products -- they are stories.

Join us on Friday for the exciting conclusion of the pieces, as they are revealed at the Raab Galerie. As an added treat, this will be the first time the artists will have the opportunity to meet. Come have a drink with us, enjoy provocative art, and participate in what will no doubt be the most exciting night of this project. Then stay out late with us...


Los Angeles: Rounds 3, 4 + 5

In the heat of Los Angeles, 22 artists are finally starting to understand what it means to share custody. Only two swaps to go before the opening on July 5, and things are getting real. We've got partners who are playing tricks on one another, partners who refuse to communicate, artists who don't want their name on their piece, artists who want all the credit, and artists who feel like they are pulling all the weight... One thing is certain, however – everyone is nervous/anxious to meet their mate.

Included below are random smatterings from the last three swaps. As usual, you can find more images from Round 3, Round 4 and Round 5 on our Flicker Stream.

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

In other news, I witnessed the US beat Barbados 8-0 right here in LA. Made for a boring game – but I did learn that the Barbadan flag features the Maserati logo. I smell some excellent product placement opportunities.

What up Berlin?


Berlin Round 5

[photos by Tania Castellvi]

We are two days out from the final dropoff. Artworks have been changing dramatically, more and more with each round. In this particular round, 2 different artists withheld some major elements [in one case, the entire piece] and delivered brand new work, often to the dismay of their partners.

Again, the last dropoff is Wednesday, and the opening is this Friday. Click the image above to enlarge. Click here to view the whole set from the Found Flickrstream.


No soccer Monday Night --- Pecha Kucha

I am presenting at Pecha Kucha tomorrow evening in Kreuzberg [for Germans, go here] about the Joint Custody Project. The short-form presentation format is active in several cities around the world. Each presenter works under the limitations of presenting 20 images which stay projected for 20 seconds, netting a 6 minute 40 second long discussion on a given subject. Like the JCP itself, the restrictive format is very interesting. I have never been to one of these, though they have taken place in LA at the Mountain Bar.

Also, I am extremely excited to hear from the Chessboxer.



Festaal Krezber / Skalitzer Straße 130 / Close to U-Bahnkof Kottbusser Tor

Start 20:20 h / Doors open 19:30 / Entry: Eur 5, -

And here is the list of speakers so far (subject to change):


Berlin: Round 4 on the FLOOR!!!

Raab Galerie had its opening Tuesday night (June 17) for Efraim Habermann -- so instead of burdening them with our chaos we had the artists pickup and dropoff at our place in Kreuzberg. Kinda turned into a party, but with awkward questions like "Wait, are you my partner?" Made bruschetta, ate cherries, and drank beer the whole sun-drenched day. Everyone's been working mad hard turning out the work, but thanks to everyone for kicking back a second and having a silly time with us.

The rest of the pictures from the swap are up on the Found Gallery Flickr stream.


Getting Etymological

Guest blogger Sini Matikainen reflects on the origins of nostlagia and its place in Berlin, as our version of the project, 'You can never go home again,' forces the artists to confront their concepts of identity in relation to place. Above, the Trabant has become a symbolic East Berlin correlative for the GDR days.


Can you ever go home again in Berlin?

The word “nostalgia” was born in 1688, created by a Swiss scholar to describe a condition afflicting homesick youngsters. The condition was characterized by “meditation only of the Fatherland” and “disturbed sleep.” The word itself is composed of two parts: nostos, Greek for “return to the native land,” and algos, the word for pain. This was more than traveler’s anxiety or sighing over a photo album: it was believed to be potentially fatal.

Today, “nostalgia” and homesickness are considered very different concepts: while homesickness is place-specific, nostalgia is “a longing for a lost time.” It may also include “a yearning for home, but it is a home faraway in time rather than space.” Homesickness can be cured, but nostalgia cannot – and the kind of home people are nostalgic about is seriously unattainable, existing only in the past and romanticized memory.

Berlin is especially suited for a project focusing on the unattainable past, since its own history has left its share of orphans and homeless. From the 1930s onwards, Berlin has had a long history of changing in such a way that some of its residents can never really go home again. From those forcibly and tragically expelled during the 30s and 40s to families divided by the wall in the 50s, Berlin created a number of homeless and heartbroken individuals who would never find the city again as they remembered it. Berlin itself, as a divided city within a divided country, had an uneasy place within Germany and the world as a whole.

Post Berlin Wall, the GDR still has its nostalgic fans. The Ostalgie movement of the 90s (another invented word, combining the German word for east with the word for nostalgia) reflected a generation still mourning some aspects of the GDR, as exemplified by the film Goodbye Lenin. The movie shows a young man desperately trying to recreate East Berlin, ostensibly to prevent his ill mother, who was in a coma while the wall fell, from dying of shock once she realizes what has happened. It quickly becomes clear, however, that he’s working equally for himself – because his memories of his mother are tied so closely with the GDR, he hopes that preserving the GDR means preserving her.

For generations of Berliners, memories of the GDR are still inextricably linked with those of childhood. The still-present GDR fascination – from widespread Communist kitsch for sale to tours in a tiny Trabant – allows tourists and Berliners alike to experience some of the authentic Ost Berlin experience. Some GDR-era foodstuffs have even been brought back due to popular demand.

Berlin, then, is an ideal location for meditating on the idea of home. How German artists view their GDR-era childhood homes? How do people newly moved to Berlin view the city – do they still long for their birthplace or hometown, or has the city that’s constantly changing become a new home? What kind of image will arise from the collaboration – universal underlying themes about the nature of home or a highly individualistic picture of what home means?


Berlin Round 3

Berliner artists are coming to our heimat on Tuesday to dropoff --- marking the end of the first two full back-and-forths (we are holding 3 total). The second act already has seen its share of drama, but it would be a shame to just dismiss it as merely drama.

Some of the artists have become very interested in complete transformation of the pieces. Some of the work exists outdoors. Some artists have kidnapped the pieces, forcing photo shoots in very curious locations.

I'll stop talking now (that's the point, right). Look at the pictures.

---(see them all here)

In other news, Turkey won against Czech Republic in a come-from-behind 3-2 victory. The below video is what happens in Kreuzberg (where we're living) when Turkey wins:


Los Angeles: Round 1 + 2

Things in Los Angeles have gotten off to a great start. Swap's 1 and 2 turned out some great work by a crew of wildly talented artists. Swap 3 is coming up tomorrow. Can't wait to see what is in store. Here is a small sampling of what the pairs have been putting together. We won't barrage your senses with too much imagery here – you can see it all on Flickr (round 1, round 2)

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Joint Custody Project LA

Berlin: Round 2 w/ the Bs

There was much shock, excitement, and even a hint of joy as the A partners came to pick up what the B partners dropped off on Monday. A sampling of photos from this round below [rest of the set available on Found Gallery Flickr]

See you on June 13 at Raab. What up LA?


Berlin: A Partners Bring It

An exciting first showing by the Berlin A-partners (excuse the vernacular, LA). We received a handful of canvas-based pieces and another handful of sculptural. Some were raw materials passed around -- there was even an electronic PDF explaining how to find the artist's pieces planted throughout the city. B-partners, mount up. Looking forward to seeing how you listen, and what you make.

These are a sampling of the pics (rest on Found Gallery's Flickr):

P.S. -- To continue with the undiscussed soccer motif that keeps popping up...Currently we are in a café while the Euro 2008 (soccer championship, for those in US) is broadcast on a projector. The opening ceremony involved a few snow queens [yes, that's what I mean], an inflated skiier slaloming through abstract white boxes, and thousands of people dressed in leotards half-red / half-white rolling around on the field -- ostensibly changing the color of the logo they are supposed to collectively resemble (soccerball with fire -- the Euro logo). A challenging collaboration for all, nonetheless. How do they know what to do? Thinking of you!!!


Berlin project begins

[image courtesy cottonijoe]

Our Berlin artists have recently begun working on the project, as of the 1st of June. We held a face-to-face meeting with the artists last weekend to go discuss all types of questions regarding the logistics and thematics of what is to take place this month. We will share some photos of the first dropoff very soon [and subsequent ones as well]. Artists have been working in a wild variety of formats [we've had everything from stretched canvas to Google Earth files to potato to .pdf as mediums coming from the A partner].

Eagerly awaiting Monday's dropoff from B partner - jonny
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