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Haus der Kulturen der Welt announces Between Walls and Windows. Architektur und Ideologie

Haus der Kulturen der Welt presents Between Walls and Windows. Architektur und Ideologie, open September 1–30, 2012.

In to the heart of Berlin’s government district, where decisions on the future of Europe are being negotiated, stands the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, formerly the Kongresshalle (congress hall): an architectural icon and relic of post-war modernity. The building and its history provide the point of departure for Between Walls and Windows. Architektur und Ideologie.

© Double Standards, Berlin.

Only this autumn, from the 1st to 30th of September, the architectural monument, understood as an ideologically determined sculpture, will be returned to its original condition. With free admission and access from north, south, east or west, the exhibition promises new insights and perspectives on form, function, and history.

The project places the local history of the former congress hall in a new global context and casts a spotlight on the Haus der Kulturen der Welt as a sculpture. Curator Valerie Smith, head of the department of visual arts, film, and digital media, presents ten new site-specific new productions by international renowned artists and architects, which turn the interior and outdoor spaces of the building into stages that question all that “architecture” can be.

The 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, Wang Shu, together with his wife and partner Lu Wenyu, will use for their Tile Theatre approximately 60,000 traditionally manufactured Chinese roof tiles recycled from their work for the 10th Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2006, thus creating an inhabitable pavilion on the roof of HKW. On the occasion of a visit by Kim Il-Sung to Indonesia in 1965 the former Indonesian President, Achmed Sukarno, presented his state guest with a specially hybridized orchid variety, which he insisted on naming “Kimilsungia.” Since then, the tradition of dedicating orchids to heads of state and political dignitaries has extended far beyond North Korea. At the main entrance of HKW, Arno Brandlhuber represents us to orchids as the transmogrification of power. Nowhere is ideology and architecture so closely linked than in embassy buildings. Terence Gower presents his research on US foreign policy as seen through architecture set in the stylized 1950s lounge interior of HKW.

In 1974, at the outbreak of the Carnation Revolution in Portugal, the 4 Estações Hotel in Maputo, Mozambique, was nearing completion. After remaining vacant and unfinished for 33 years the building was demolished in 2007 in order to make room for the US embassy. Ângela Ferreira follows the traces of destruction and reconstruction of ideologically motivated foreign policy both in Africa and beyond. The architect Hugh A. Stubbins saw his Kongresshalle, with the auditorium as its centerpiece, as the embodiment of freedom of speech and opinion. The theme of Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle installation is the influence of acoustic and spatial staging on the power of the spoken word. Immaterial structures also make a building into what it is. Marko Sančanin has improvised a ‘crypt’ of memories, of discarded or forgotten relics relating to the former Kongresshalle, arranged around an architectural drawing of the roof construction on a hidden wall of the HKW.

Eran Schaerf examines the constitution of the mass media and the space produced by it. The borders between fact and fiction, sender and receiver, user and author, become blurred questioning the production of space by means of language. From the roof terrace of the HKW there is a view of the Reichstag and the Kanzleramt (Chancellery). These two massive symbols of political power loom up as if they were cruiseliners on the brink of collision. The HKW roof kiosk drifts between them like a life raft. Here Studio Miessen creates an informal place of assembly. The kiosk changes from a hermetic vitrine to a walk-in display case. In the cloakroom the internationally operating architecture group, Supersudaca (sudaca: Spanish insult for Latin American immigrants) will stage a parody of Credit Rating Agencies, their influence on market dynamics and real estate investments taking up the cause of greater social justice.

Another way of approaching architecture and ideology is represented by the Initiative Weltkulturerbe Doppeltes Berlin (Initiative World Cultural Heritage Double Berlin), which aims to have the architectural ‘competitions’ of the once divided Berlin listed as UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The congress halls in the Tiergarten (Haus der Kulturen der Welt) and at Alexanderplatz (BCC) are prime examples of dualling architectures: between 1945 and 1989, state, residential and cultural buildings were constructed in the divided Berlin to reflect the ideology of the respective systems.

The extensive accompanying program explores the dimensions of architecture as an instrument in the history of architecture, philosophy, and politics and includes speakers and experts such as, Louisa Hutton & Matthias Sauerbruch, Ashkan Sepahvand, Joanna Warsza, and Karin Sander.

The program includes Tours de Babel, multilingual tours as well as guided tours by star architect Le Van Bo, curator Valerie Smith, and art historian Steffen de Rudder.

Further, the youth program “Gedankenräume” (Mind Spaces) encourages students from the former West and East Berlin to have a closer look at the architecture and history of their school building.

A museum edition of the catalogue will appear for the opening, published by Hatje Cantz. An expanded bookshop edition with additional pictures of the installations in situ will be published at the beginning of October. ISBN 978-3-7757-3474-5.

Between Walls and Windows. Architektur und Ideologie is supported by the Capital Cultural Fund in Berlin.
Additional support was given by the US Embassy in Berlin for Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle.

“Gedankenräume” is a project of Haus der Kulturen der Welt supported by Berlin Project Fund for Cultural Education in cooperation with the model project Kulturagenten für kreative Schulen.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media as well as by the Federal Foreign Office.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt is partner of BERLIN ART WEEK, 11–16 September 2012.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles Allee 10
10577 Berlin

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