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Haus der Kulturen der Welt 2014 Program

Haus der Kulturen der Welt starts its new program year in February with the theme days Narrating War. The project asks: What is it about the experience of extreme violence that that makes it so difficult to understand and to speak about? What does describing the “indescribable” mean for the survivors, and for those who have been spared—and for the observers? Narrating War, conceptualized by publicist Carolin Emcke and historian Valentin Groebner, is devoted to this paradox.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt building. Photographer and year unknown. ©HKW.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt building. Photographer and year unknown. ©HKW.
How do mortal remains, DNA samples, and satellite images become forensic evidence? What role do imaging techniques and methods of representation play in the investigation of crimes or political acts of violence? On the basis of studies carried out in a three-year research project with around 20 participants at Goldsmiths in London, the exhibition Forensis, curated by Eyal Weizman and Anselm Franke (March 15 to May 5) explores the procedures, tools, and spatial techniques used in forensics, as well as its potential as a new aesthetic-political practice.

City – Religion – Capitalism—without these structures, today’s Western societies cannot be comprehended. From April 3 to 5, the filmmaker Alexander Kluge and the sociologist Richard Sennett trace decisive turning points in these three areas as they look back over the history of humanity.

Stupid Music. Songs for Dreaming, Sedation and Forgetting (May 8 to 11), organized by Detlef Diederichsen, head of Music, Dance, Theater Department, is not about good taste, or about “bad” music. Rather, the theme here is escapism: the flight from everyday life, from reality, from bad news, and the role music can play in this.

The Berlin Documentary Forum, directed by Hila Peleg, is a successfully established biennial platform for production and presentation of documentary works from various disciplines. The third edition of Berlin Documentary Forum focuses on the long history of narrative realism and presents recent works that redefine both documentary and realism (May 29 to June 1).

On July 3, The International Literature Award – Haus der Kulturen der Welt will be awarded for the sixth time to an author and their translator for an outstanding international work of prose translated into German.

Right on the heels of the football World Cup in Brazil, Wassermusik will from late July onwards fully immerse itself in the Portuguese-speaking world with “Lusophone” sounds of artists from “global Lusitania”: Portugal, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, China (Macau), India (Goa), and possibly East Timor.

In August, HKW pays tribute to the late Nelson Mandela in a theme weekend that will provide critical stock-taking on South Africa’s journey into democracy.

The exhibition project Kippfiguren (September 14 to November 23), curated by Anselm Franke, head of the Department of Visual Arts and Film, contrasts artistic fictions with scientific models and scenarios. It takes as its departure point the idea that in the Anthropocene, in contrast to the linear Western conception of time, the past begins to return cyclically and old oppositions are outlived, while scenarios of risk-control face their imminent collapse. Commissions by the Otolith Group and Adam Avikainen and the presentation of two years of research and production by the Anthropocene Observatory delve into the aporias of the current planetary predicament.

The Anthropocene hypothesis directs our gaze to human-terrestrial interactions and their dynamic development. The change in perspective brought on by the Anthropocene as a new “geological era of man” is taken as an occasion to rigorously apply transdisciplinary ways of working and experimental approaches.

The enmeshment of man and nature, culture and environment, bodies and objects, human and nonhuman materiality, and its implications are taken up by the publication Grain | Vapor | Ray. In October, Katrin Klingan, head of the Department of Literature and Humanities, takes this as the starting point for a discursive experiment involving 45 contributions from intellectuals ranging from Peter Sloterdijk to Jan Zalasiewicz to Tony Chakar. In talks, roundtable discussions, screenings, and performances, these artists, philosophers, and scientists will create an experimental situation room which in November will frame the postgraduate Anthropocene Curriculum at HKW. Here, over 30 international academics from the natural, environmental, and social sciences and the humanities, arts, and architecture, who will pursue questions of how knowledge is acquired and dealt with in this era of global transformation.

In 1960, Jane Goodall’s discovery of chimpanzees’ use of tools made headlines worldwide. In the program Ape Culture, by Anselm Franke and Hila Peleg, cultural and scientific representations are juxtaposed, with reference to film material from 100 years of film history and primatology.

In their conference Curatorial Things in late October, Beatrice von Bismarck, Benjamin Meyer-Krahmer, and Thomas Weski proceed from the understanding that, in its essence, curatorial practice means the production of constellations. Last but not least, three film festivals offer profiled programs of feature films and documentaries from Algeria, Korea, and Brazil, which allow audiences to grapple with cinematographic and social perspectives on these countries’ histories and futures.

With partner events—such as the transmediale 2014 (January 29 to February 2), the international festival for digital art and culture; the Generation section of the Berlinale (February 6 to 16), in which young, enthusiastic audiences of children and teenagers discover new films from all over the world; and Rencontres Internationales (June 3 to 8), showing films situated between cinema and art, organized in collaboration with the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid—this year underlines the unique position of Haus der Kulturen der Welt within Berlin’s cultural topography 25 years after its founding in 1989.

Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin