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For the past year, our temporary space 11th Berlin Biennale c/o ExRotaprint has been a site of experiences and exchange. Here multiple stories have been told, shaped, and shared in an array of different languages that continue to be spoken and heard in the courtyard and on the street. This has been a place for experimental exhibition-making, for people to encounter one another, have conversations, drink tea, sit and read to each other, create and stage puppet-plays, draw and write, listen and dance. It has been a setting where the process of making is opened up to the unforeseeable consequences of mutual exposure. We, as incomers, have learned from our neighbors, from their careful curiosity and generous disposition—particularly the children, who were the first to claim a part of these quarters as their own. They knew it belonged to them more than to us, and they used it accordingly. We were sad to shut down when the pandemic hit the city, and rejoiced when it was possible to reopen the doors. We tried to act with care and find safe ways of meeting one another again, convinced of the importance of coming together. This place has been used as a safe house for process, a place where things could be slow, porous, and human scale. For us, it became as close to a home as we could imagine. It is a place made of hospitality, not ours to extend, but that of our surroundings, passersby, participants, guests, artists, and collaborators. People have briefly settled here, gathered, walked through, spoken to one another, and listened. What remains is a living archive of the hospitality gifted by them all.
Feminist Health Care Research Group (Inga Zimprich/Julia Bonn)
Flávio de Carvalho (in collaboration with Raymond Frajmund)
Grupo Experimental de Cine (Alfredo Echániz, Gabriel Peluffo, Walter Tournier)
Emma Howes and Justin Kennedy in collaboration with Balz Isler
Mirja Reuter and Florian Gass
The 11th Berlin Biennale space at ExRotaprint—a tenant-run project initiated by artists, bringing together work, art, and community—has been a space for the 11th Berlin Biennale’s diverse experiences since September 2019.
ExRotaprint is a model for urban development that rules out financial profit through ownership and establishes a heterogeneous, open environment for all parts of the community. The former site of the Rotaprint AG printing press manufacturing plant with its buildings dating from the 1950s is located in Berlin’s Wedding neighborhood. In 2004 visual artists Daniela Brahm and Les Schliesser formulated a concept for on-site tenants to take over the property. The goal was to develop the location to serve a heterogeneous mix of uses for “Arbeit, Kunst, Soziales” [work, art, community] and to achieve affordable rent for all. Since 2007, the tenant-founded, non-profit ExRotaprint gGmbH has been dedicated to the restoration and development of the 10,000-square-meter property. Today, ExRotaprint hosts over one hundred social initiatives, businesses, and spaces for independent artists and others working in the creative sector.