Michelle O'Brien

art

Lichtgrenze Berlin: The power of public art

There are times when art can say what words cannot.

9th November 2014. 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. 25 years of Freedom. To commemorate, Berlin presents its largest ever public art installation: Lichtgrenze by brothers Christopher & Marc Bauder, produced flawlessly by my past employer from transmediale festival, Kulturprojekte Berlin. Stretching 15 kilometres across the city, Lichtgrenze traces the path of the Berlin Wall with 8000 white helium balloons, released into Berlin’s skies after three days on the evening of 9th November, the day the Wall fell 25 years ago.

In my mind this cultural project represents everything public art should be. Ephemeral, reflective, fragile, inviting and transformational. It offers an open invitation for people young and old to join together in common spirit, contemplation and serendipitous exchange. Walking this pilgrimage over the course of this weekend, along with tens of thousands of other Berliners and Berliners-at-heart, was an experience I’ll never forget and an inspiring reminder of why I do the work I do.

Ghosts Past: Part I

Randwick Primary School.



















Here’s a great feature on Illuminations of Wedding in Greece’s OZON MagazineKristin Trethewey and I curated this three-day event, consisting of a group exhibition, panel discussion and workshop, in January 2013 at Wedding-based creative resource centre SUPERMARKT. Click on the image to read the article as a PDF (in Greece and English).

Hello! You are invited to a special event in Berlin next Tuesday evening entitled BERLIN’S MEDIA ART COMMUNITY: A Female Perspective, curated and moderated by myself and Ela Kagel. All information on the event can be found below. I hope you can join us. Best wishes, Michelle

BERLIN’S MEDIA ART COMMUNITY: A FEMALE PERSPECTIVE
Tuesday 9 April 2013, 18:30—23:00 at SUPERMARKT

Featuring presentations from Tatiana Bazzichelli, Valie Djordjevic, Andrea Goetzke, Kathy Rae Huffman, Claudia Kefer, Julia Kloiber, Lisa Lang, Tina Mariane Krogh Madsen, Diana McCarty & Michelle Thorne // Moderated by Ela Kagel & Michelle O’Brien

 Berlin has a rich and long-standing tradition of women engaged in the fields of media arts, media activism and digital culture. Today over half of Berlin’s independent project spaces and initiatives revolving around the themes of tech, media and digital culture are run by women. A broad range of female curators and activists continue to shape net politics – initiating independent programmes, hosting events and leading research at Berlin’s universities. Despite this large female contingent, and in a city where the workforce is generally evenly distributed, it is at odds that the theoretical discourse on media art and net activism, executive roles and directorships, as well panelists and participants at events and festivals, are still male-dominated. In a forward-thinking city like Berlin, this ongoing gap should be addressed so that the wider fields of media arts and activism are fully inclusive of the multitude of female skills and viewpoints on offer.

At this event, SUPERMARKT highlights and showcases a selection of the women who have played an important role in shaping the profile of Berlin as a digital culture city. We will learn more about their history, career paths, and the narratives of their work and life. Ten inspiring women in the field will join us, and answer questions against the backdrop of their own lives and careers, including what drives them to continue the work they do, what have been the crucial moments of their careers, and who are their professional mentors, support networks, and inspirations. This evening will provide an opportunity to get to know this community, share inspirations, identify trending themes in the field, and gauge both common resources and grounds for future collaborations. Whilst the focus of this event will be on the diversity of Berlin’s female media art community, of course anyone is invited to attend.

Language: The language of this event will be English
Cost: This event is free // please email rsvp@supermarkt-berlin.net to register your attendance
Address: SUPERMARKT – Brunnenstr 64, 13355 Berlin (U8 Voltastr or U8 Bernauerstr)

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Photo: © Ars Electronica | Susi Rogenhofer, Flickr CC Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.0 license

Whistler Summer Lights

Whistler Summer Lights #1 [2012]

Whistler Summer Lights #2 [2012]

Whistler Summer Lights #3 [2012]

Illuminations of Wedding

Dear reader,

If you’re in Berlin from 2426 Jan 2013, please join us for ILLUMINATIONS OF WEDDING. This is a special (and free) three-day event celebrating urban expressionism and the role of public art and technologically-mediated interventions for evolving communities, as part of Vorspiel 2013 — official partner programme of transmediale & CTM Festival. The event consists of group exhibition, AV performance, roaming workshop and panel discussion. ILLUMINATIONS OF WEDDING is curated by myself and Kristin Trethewey.

I hope to see you there!
Michelle 

As part of Vorspiel 2013, official partner programme of transmediale festival for digital art & culture and CTM Festival Berlin

 ILLUMINATIONS OF WEDDING: Exhibition | Performance | Workshop | Discussion
Artists: 
Malcolm Levy (Hybridity/New Forms Festival), Public Art Lab Berlin, Peter Kirn (Create Digital Music), Semiramis Ceylan (Graffiti Research Lab Germany), AUTO64 (Stattbad), Hendrik Czakainski & Jemma Woolmore (Jem the Misfit)
Curators: Kristin Trethewey & Michelle O’Brien

Thu 24 — Sat 26 Jan, 2013
SUPERMARKT, Brunnenstr. 64, 13355 Berlin

Programme


WORKSHOP | ThuJan 24, 15:00—17:00: Roaming artist-led workshop on location-based video-art practice and techniques
EXHIBITION & PERFORMANCE | Fri Jan 25, 18:00—23:00: Exhibition Vernissage featuring live AV performance at 21:00
DISCUSSION | Sat Jan 26, 15:00—17:00: Panel discussion with special guests on urban expressionism, and the role of public art and technologically-mediated interventions for evolving communities

All events are free / *To attend the Workshop or Discussion, please email rsvp@supermarkt-berlin.net

Event information

As Berlin’s growth as a global creative hub continues, SUPERMARKT’s home in Wedding has taken on particular significance within the city’s cultural atmosphere. Raw warehouses and their surrounding ‘street’ stories reveal traces of history and layers of memories of a Berlin gone-by. Wedding is a neighbourhood on the verge of socio-economic transition. As young creatives begin to infiltrate this part of Berlin, fears of rising rents and living costs give way to frictions between communities past and present.

Illuminations of Wedding is a project exploring forms of urban expressionism from the perspective of Wedding and its identity, with SUPERMARKT’s facade and interior used as a digital canvas. Artists explore Wedding’s changing role in relation to their own artistic developments. How does the city and this particular neighbourhood reflect our desires and notions of identity? How can a place like SUPERMARKT remain in balance with its surrounding communities?

Illuminations of Wedding consists of an exhibition featuring video art, photographic works, projection mapping, A/V performance and sculptural works, an open workshop and a panel discussion. On Thursday afternoon, artists will demonstrate their process-based practices of video art in a roaming workshop, including hands-on camera and editing techniques to capture location-based footage from the streets of Wedding.

On Friday evening, the Illuminations of Wedding exhibition will be launched, featuring a video installation and a series of photographic works by Vancouver-based artist Malcolm Levy, all produced in Wedding’s Brunnenviertel, and sculptural works by architectural sculptor Hendrik Czakainski. Site-specific, projection-mapping and laser installations on the facade of SUPERMARKT by Semiramis Ceylan (Graffiti Research Lab Germany) and Wedding-based artist AUTO64 (Stattbad) will celebrate the community, with visual material mapped onto the physical structures in and around SUPERMARKT. The evening will conclude with an audio-visual performance from Berlin-based composer and musician, Peter Kirn, an abstract musical topography produced from words and sounds recorded in the neighbourhood. Live visual performance by Jem the Misfit creates visual collage that represents these beginnings and transformations in optical form.

On Saturday afternoon, a panel discussion with take place with artist/curator Malcolm LevyPublic Art Lab Berlin and other guests, moderated by Kristin Trethewey and Michelle O’Brien. In fitting with transmediale’s 2013 theme BWPWAP, the discussion will focus on the themes of urban expressionism, shifts within network culture and society, and the role of public art and technologically-mediated interventions for evolving communities.

All events are free, and take place at SUPERMARKTBrunnenstr. 64, 13355 Berlin.

ARTIST BIOS

Malcolm Levy is an artist and curator based in Vancouver. Levy’s curatorial, film and video installation works have been presented in India, Australia, China, Germany and Canada. His work was recently shown at the Audain Gallery in Vancouver, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, in the Occupy Wall Street exhibition in NYC and the Grimmuseum, Berlin. Levy presented on ‘Other-Frames’ at ISEA, Istanbul 2011, and his installation, A Place to Reflect, premiered at Nuit Blanche Toronto 2011. His latest installation, Passages was shown during the Transmission Conference in Victoria, British Columbia in February 2012. Other recent projects include developing a media lab for the grunt gallery in Vancouver, working on a Satellite project for the Goethe Institut Vancouver, and producing a series of commissioned artworks for Urban Screens in connection with Mcluhan in Europe 2011. In addition to creating his own art and art installations, Malcolm Levy co-directs Revised Projects to curate, commission and manage contemporary art and cultural projects in Canada and internationally, working on a wide range of creative projects spanning contemporary art, media art, online, public art and festival worlds.

Malcolm Levy on Illuminations of Wedding 
For many years I had considered that my own practice had begun in India, but what became apparent in going through my footage was that such an assumption was completely wrong. In reality it hard started many years earlier, while in Berlin. The rationale or reasoning of why I had blocked out such a moment became apparent only now, as it really deals with my history as a whole.  Before that time in my life I had really never encountered my own personal history at all. Coming to Berlin for the first time at that point gave me a completely different viewpoint on myself, loving this city, while at the same time trying to reconcile the history of my own lineage in Berlin. A world of grey certainly emerged for me at that point, from which looking at the world differently than its normative landscape came from.  Before this experience, I had been engrossed in scratch video and other very political and overt forms of video work. After going through this experience I immediately wanted to abstract, move away from the referential to a large degree, though at the same time I still found meaning in the work being created. In terms of non-indexical narratives I have begun to create stories out of interviews with people on the ground within the specific context I am shooting. Within the conceptual Framework of Wedding, the Jewish Hospital, and its history is central for me.  For the exhibition I will be creating a non-indexical documentary, video still and prints for display within the exhibition space at SUPERMARKT.

 

Graffiti Research Lab Germany is Jesse Scott, Mirae Rosner, Semiramis Ceylan, Achim Kern, Hauke Altmann, and collaborators, dedicated to outfitting graffiti- and street-artists with open source technologies for urban communication. Sharing knowledge and tools is at the very core of Graffiti Research Lab (GRL) an international federation of autonomous cells, founded by Evan Roth and James Powderly during their fellowships at the Eyebeam OpenLab. Each cell is completely independent, with its own political or cultural focus, but all share the basic idea that code and software belong in the public domain – each tool is published under a non-commercial creative commons license. GRL can be defined as an art group dedicated to outfitting graffiti writers, artists and protesters with open source technologies for urban communication, tools that can be found online and used, so long as it is for non-commercial purposes. Among the tools developed and put at the disposal of protesters everywhere, the LASER Tag, Led Throwies and Projection Bombing are the most well-known. Working within the fields of Hacktivism, Open Source, Tactical Media, Urban Interventions, and, of course, Graffiti Arts, GRL produces dozens of events across Europe.

Hendrik Czakainski is a Berlin artist working with the theme of increasing urbanisation of humanity in the dawn of the 21st century. From sculpting and painting, to architectural installations, Czakainski work searches meaning in chaos, construction, decay and new beginnings. He questions the periphery, the marginalised and the precarious existence outside the glittering urban sprawl. Czakainski views the metropolis of the 21st century as representative of a visionary future – an autonomous entity with its own rules and forces, self-perpetuating due to its own continuous regeneration. Recent exhibitions include PROJECT SPACE GRÜNERHUND, Berlin. For Illuminations of Wedding, Czakainski exhibits new architectural-sculptural work.

Public Art Lab (PAL) is based in Berlin and directed by curator Susa Pop. PAL realises urban art projects that encourage audiences to participate in the creative process and experience their daily environment from different perspectives. These projects aim at fostering community development, identity building and communication among the city inhabitants. Since 2007 PAL has focused on urban media art, exploring the communicative potential of urban screens and media facades with the Media Facades Festivals (Berlin 2008 and Europe 2010), the Innovation Forum Urban Screens 2011 and the book Urban Media Cultures (2012). In 2012, PAL initiated the Urban Media Network and the international Connecting Cities Network.

AUTO64 (Tom Phillipson) is an Australian-born, Berlin-based polyartist. Phillipson fosters a keen interest in developing a multitude of artistic genres from electronic music and sound design to video and animation, photography, illustration, painting and robotic sculpture design. He loves learning new crafts, software and processes, seamlessly integrating them into his existing skills. Phillipson regularly performs in clubs and at festivals, as well as designing and exhibiting work in Berlin and internationally. Recent live performances have included Fusion Festival, Tresor, Weekend, Cookies, Ritter Butzke, Tacheles, MIKZ and Asphalt. Recent exhibitions include Blooom Art Fair Köln, Kunstfabrik Kreuzberg, Neon Chocolate Gallery, Eastpak Artist Studio, China Heights & Oh Really Gallery.

 

Peter Kirn is an American-born composer, electronic musician, and live visualist based in Berlin. He is founder and editor of createdigitalmusic.com and createdigitalmotion.com and co-producer of the open-source MeeBlip hardware synthesizer, as well as an author on technology and creation (Macworld, Keyboard, Wax Poetics, Computer Music, Make, Popular Science). His work has been presented at venues including the Frequency Festival (Lincoln, UK) CommuniKey Festival (Boulder, CO), Devotion Gallery (New York), In/Out Festival (New York), InterAccess Gallery (Toronto), Dance Theater Workshop (New York), Boston CyberArts Festival Ideas in Motion (Boston, MA), FEED Soundspace (Berlin), LEAP Gallery (Berlin), Stereoluxe (Nantes, FR), Frequency Festival (Lincoln, UK), LPM (Rome, IT), Patch (Krakow, PL), Shiny Toys (Mülheim an der Ruhr), and others. A classically-trained composer, developer of original and open source music and visual software, he is a PhD Candidate in music composition at The City University of New York Graduate Center.

 

Jem the Misfit (Jemma Woolmore) is a video artist and VJ, currently based in Berlin, by way of Melbourne and New Zealand. Her work ranges from live audio-visual performance and music videos to installations, often utilising live video and mapping technologies. Jemma’s work explores a diverse range of ideas including synaesthesia, utopia/distopia, fantasy space and the future. Imaginative, colourful and playful, she plays with light and colour as a paint palette, using audio-scapes or specific sites as reference for her live performances and installations. As VJ Jem the Misfit she has performed at the top music festivals across Australia, bringing her unique blend of colour and tech to a diverse range of music and artists including some of the worlds top DJs and producers. Recent highlights include touring with Australia’s largest music festival Stereosonic, winning the 2012 Mapping Festival’s international VJ competition in Geneva, and taking 3rd place in the VJ battle at LPM in Rome. Jemma’s video art projects have screened in galleries and arts festivals across Australasia and Europe, including LPM (Rome), FEED sound art space Berlin, Gertrude Street Projection Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival and City Gallery (Wellington NZ).

Feature image: © Malcolm Levy, used with permission from the artist

This event is part of the reSource 003: P2P Vorspiel, presented by transmediale and CTM Festival.

      


Summer Festival, 2012.


Jericho Dream, 2012.

As an Australian-born expatriate, my relationship with my birth country is complex and in constant flux. I search for answers to questions such as: Where is my home? What is my culture? How do my roots define me and influence my life? This is the first series in an examination of my Australian identity through cultural iconography and representations.

Under the Sails (1), 2012.

Under the Sails (2), 2012.

Under the Sails (3), 2012.

Under the Sails (4), 2012.

Under the Sails (5), 2012.

Under the Sails (6), 2012.

Nebula (4), 2012.

Nebula (5), 2012.

Nebula (1-3), Process.

Bookshelf at 2649 Quebec Street Vancouver (1), 2012.

Bookshelf at 2649 Quebec Street (2), 2012.

Bookshelf at 2649 Quebec Street (3), 2012.

Main Street and 10th Ave by night (8), 2012.

Main Street and 10th Ave by night (9), 2012.

Main Street and 10th Ave by night (10), 2012.

Main Street and 10th Ave by night (1-7), Process.


Good morning, afternoon, night (4), 2012.

Good morning, afternoon, night (1-3), 2012, Process.

Keefer Street Chinatown, 2012.


Luscious Locks (1), 2012.


Luscious Locks (2), 2012.


Mountain view from Kitsilano Beach on a Sunday (1), 2012.


Mountain view from Kitsilano Beach on a Sunday (2), 2012.


Mountain view from Kitsilano Beach on a Sunday (3), 2012.


Mountain view from Kitsilano Beach on a Sunday (4), 2012.


Mountain view from Kitsilano Beach on a Sunday (5), 2012.


Mountain view from Kitsilano Beach on a Sunday (6), 2012.


Mountain view from Kitsilano Beach on a Sunday (7), 2012.

 Tears in rain [Oudezijds Voorburgwal 147, Amsterdam] (1), 2012.

Tears in rain [Oudezijds Voorburgwal 147, Amsterdam] (2), 2012.

Tears in rain [Window at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 147, Amsterdam] (3), 2012.

Tears in rain [Oudezijds Voorburgwal 147, Amsterdam] (4), 2012.

Tears in rain [Oudezijds Voorburgwal 147, Amsterdam] (5), 2012.

Tears in rain [Oudezijds Voorburgwal 147, Amsterdam] (6), 2012.

 Tears in rain [Oudezijds Voorburgwal 147, Amsterdam] (7), 2012.

Purple wall at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 147 Amsterdam (1), 2012.

Purple wall at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 147 Amsterdam (2), 2012.

Purple wall at Oudezijds Voorburgwal 147 Amsterdam (3), 2012.

Kill pages, 2012.