30 Days of New Life: Berlin (2008)

DESCRIPTION During a thirty-day period surrounding the NEW LIFE BERLIN FESTIVAL (May 15 - June 15 2008), we, as anonymous American cartographers, traveled to Berlin to map the artistic/cultural landscape. The map, accessed through www.wooloo.org/30days, is comprised of investigations, observations, definitions and information gathered through direct physical interaction and physical/virtual surveillance.

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL NEW LIFE BERLIN is a contemporary art festival dedicated to new modes of moving and existing.

NEW LIFE BERLIN is curated from the participatory art community WOOLOO.ORG, and will take place in Berlin between 1st and 15th June 2008. In addition to the published program, the curators invite members of the online community to participate throughout the festival itself.

By building participation into the program (while still retaining curatorial control), NEW LIFE BERLIN investigates the much discussed ‘online community’. How effective is this community? What binds this community together? What does 'community' mean today? Presenting projects ...

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DESCRIPTION During a thirty-day period surrounding the NEW LIFE BERLIN FESTIVAL (May 15 - June 15 2008), we, as anonymous American cartographers, traveled to Berlin to map the artistic/cultural landscape. The map, accessed through www.wooloo.org/30days, is comprised of investigations, observations, definitions and information gathered through direct physical interaction and physical/virtual surveillance.

ABOUT THE FESTIVAL NEW LIFE BERLIN is a contemporary art festival dedicated to new modes of moving and existing.

NEW LIFE BERLIN is curated from the participatory art community WOOLOO.ORG, and will take place in Berlin between 1st and 15th June 2008. In addition to the published program, the curators invite members of the online community to participate throughout the festival itself.

By building participation into the program (while still retaining curatorial control), NEW LIFE BERLIN investigates the much discussed ‘online community’. How effective is this community? What binds this community together? What does 'community' mean today? Presenting projects from both artistic and sociological starting points, NEW LIFE BERLIN uses group participation to explore real-life cultural mobility.

NEW LIFE BERLIN is an entirely artist-run festival. WOOLOO.ORG has chosen Berlin as the festival location because of its growing position as the preferred meeting place for cultural practitioners from around the world. Constantly exchanging experiences, ideas, and knowledge with other like-minded individuals within (and far from) the urban confines of the city, the artists of Berlin are forming and fortifying new human collectives that transcend the boundaries of citizenship or nationality. In this way, the city’s artistic communities are building important models for understanding how new kinds of mobile, global networks are being established today.

NEW LIFE BERLIN directly engages the effects of our unprecedented 21st century mobility and treats the exhibition venue itself as a network of past and future sites. Utilizing public spaces and soon-to-be-developed real estate for festival presentations, NEW LIFE BERLIN has taken up the challenge of connecting the transnational resources of WOOLOO.ORG with the physical geography of Berlin to address the mechanisms of globalization. In contrast to traditional art festivals and biennials, our aim is not to represent a set of cultural conclusions, but to create a model for a fluid cultural landscape.

STATEMENT Over the past 100 years and increasingly common over the last 50, artists have argued, and ultimately established, the validity of becoming their own work of art, “of totally losing the usual boundaries between ‘art’ and ‘life’ and ‘artist’ and ‘work’.” On the most basic level we understand that artist’s lives, notoriety or aura constitutes “some part of public reaction to [their] work.” However, more fundamentally and overtly, we recognize the direct actions of artists like Marcel Duchamp, Jackson Pollock, or Yves Klien as, or more directly integrated, with the art itself. Further, as is the case with Joseph Beuys or Andy Warhol, the artist’s life or living, however mundane or spectacular, was in large part, considered the work. Adrian Henri says of Beuys, “Equally his whole life is an art-work, of which the actions and objects are only the islands that show above the surface.

Moreover, artists such as Richard Long, have actually melded life performances, conceptually similar to that of Klien or Beuys, with mapping activity as art and sometimes, merely as a form of documentation. Specifically, his work A Walk Across England, “investigates the interaction between a single man and a solitary landscape” by taking “mapping to its origins: feet connected to the Earth.”

Part of what makes the examination of a map interesting is the connection established with its maker: “considering that particular terrain of imagination overlaid with those unique contour lines of experience.” Fundamentally, we cannot help but envision how are map may diverge or overlap, how similar our “image” may be. “The coded visual language of maps is one we all know, but in making maps of our worlds we each have our own dialect.” (Special note: While authors such as Katherine Harmon, deeply rooted in the traditional definition of text, may offhandedly refer to mapping as a “visual language,” contemporary cartographers are certainly not limited to this scope. In fact, as part of the reference to Long, it needs to be clarified that many of his maps, which he considers to be sculptural, are represented only through language.)

My project is an investigation, a map, and an explicit reference to the examination of life as art. The work, essentially an investigation and mapping of the cultural/artistic landscape of Berlin, one of the fastest growing, yet largely personally unfamiliar, centers of “new art,” was structured like that of a traditional residency: a culturally divergent opportunity to initiate collaborations with other artists in an environment conducive to the making of art.

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