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Islands of Utopia | musuku – Museum of Subcultures shows first exhibition | 25.09.-05.10.2019

Editors’ Choice

With the exhibition “Islands of Utopia” the first phase of the foundation of the musuku – Museum of Subcultures starts. The exhibition will take place from 25.09. to 05.10.2019 as a pioneer project in the Haus der Statistik at Alexanderplatz, a historically significant abandoned site in the heart of Berlin.

Image above: Allesandersplatz, Photo: Chris Keller

The exhibition tells the story of subcultures and communities that explore new spaces from the water. While the French sociologist Henri Lefebvre called for the “right to the city” in his book of the same name in 1968, today it is also called “Reclaim the Water”. A museum of subcultures for Berlin Berlin is considered one of the birthplaces of subculture, alongside London and New York. Especially in their eventful recent history, the subcultures with their creative, innovative and often resistant potential have provided the city with important impulses. They pose the question of the possibility of a different, better life, are schools of tolerance and advocates of diversity. musuku is intended to reflect the enormous relevance of subcultures and give their narratives a space, a place of experimentation and discourse, and at the same time a message from the subcultures in the inner city, which is becoming increasingly difficult for them to play with.

The Haus der Statistik at »Allesandersplatz«

In the most central location in Berlin Mitte a vacancy is reinterpreted and filled with new sound. The reinforced concrete construction of the 1970s was for a long time the most central abandoned place in Berlin – until an alliance of committed artists, architects, creative artists and politicians in 2015 prevented the previous plans for the sale to investors and the planned demolition. This paved the way for a public welfare-oriented development on the site. Space is created for art, culture, social affairs and education, affordable housing and a new town hall for central and administrative uses. The pioneer uses are the first activations of the rooms and a unique opportunity to explore this exciting house, which most people have known only from the outside.

The exhibition »Islands of Utopia«

Time and again, free spirits, rebels and artists have gone out on the water in search of new possibilities and means of expression which they could not find on land or which were denied them there because of ownership or laws. The increasing lack of space and the simultaneous inflation and disappearance of open spaces in the cities has promoted the perception that the waters are also to be understood as public space and thus represent an option for the expansion of the living space. The photo exhibition shows international and Berlin projects and tells of repression as well as empowerment. Topics are among others:

> Swimming Cities in Photos by Tod Seelie

The Swimming Cities are fantastic looking rafts, constructed by a group of artists, craftsmen and sailors around the New York artist Swoon. In 2008 they sail the Hudson River and in 2009 board the Venice Biennale.

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Swimming Cities, Photo: Tod Seelie

> Sausalito Houseboats in Photos by Nicole Strasser

The houseboats in Sausalito, which have been asserting themselves in San Francisco Bay since the 1950s and have defied all attempts at displacement, form an amazingly well-functioning community despite the contrasts between the residents. > Rummelsburger Bucht in Photographs by Saskia Uppenkamp A portrait series shows residents of the rafts and boats in Rummelsburger Bucht in Berlin, one of the last open spaces in the city, and questions their situation in the face of new prohibitions and regulations.

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Rummelsburger Bucht, photo: Saskia Uppenkamp

> Initiative Flussbad Berlin in photos and visualizations

The Flussbad Berlin initiative takes us right into the city centre and reports on how a project initially regarded as completely unrealistic is becoming one of the most visionary projects of urban society.


25.09. to 05.10.2019, daily 12:00 – 9:00 pm, longer on event days


Haus der Statistik, Otto-Braun-Straße 70–72, am Alexanderplatz, Berlin-Mitte


Admission free of charge

programme of events

A varied programme of events deepens and expands the thematic space of the exhibition:

26.09. 2019

7 pm

— Artist Talk: Max Dax und Tod Seelie The publicist and journalist Max Dax in conversation with the photographer Tod Seelie about the creation and the adventurous journeys of the “Swimming Cities” 8 pm

— Konzert: Oddlab presents – Keller & Solter Atlantis is rising Keller and Solter interpret Emanuel Stockelborn’s vision about the resurgence of a new Atlantis


8 pm

— Book presentation: Friedrich von Borries + Benjamin Kasten City of the Future – Ways into the Globalopolis (S. Fischer) Moderation: Maria-Christina Piwowarski, Ludwig Lohmann (blauschwarzberlin) The architect Friedrich von Borries and the urban planner Benjamin Kasten create the image of a city of the future that is more ecological and just than the city of the present. Using examples from architecture, urban planning, art and design, the authors show where aspects of this future are already being tested: From vertical forests to underground plantations, self-developed houses and transnational border towns to the elevated road in Seoul, which has been rededicated as a park. Their presentation is equally critical and creative, analytical and visionary.


3 pm

— lecture series Reclaim the Water!

3 pm

Jan Edler, co-founder of the Flussbad Berlin initiative on the urban development project to reactivate the Spreekanal in the heart of historic Berlin, which has been largely unused for over 100 years.

4 pm

Claudius Schulze of Spree:publik about the situation in Rummelsburger Bucht and his studio boat “The Conquest of the Unlikely” 5 pm: Maciej Markowicz about his project “Moving Camera – nonprofit foundation and floating photographic platform”, an oversized pinhole camera in the form of a boat with which he has travelled through Europe and with which he will also offer tours in Berlin in the course of the exhibition.


8 pm

— Finissage

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