Addendum: On 29.07.2022 we were informed that the event unfortunately had to be cancelled due to the austerity budget at the federal government. Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House thus, according to their own statement, meet the same fate as the Goethe Institut and the DAAD.
The Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House (VATMH) presents “Spaces with a View. Festival of Transatlantic Perspectives” from September 9th to September 11th 2022 at Silent Green Kulturquartier (Berlin-Wedding) with an interdisciplinary programme of music, film, visual arts and literature as well as a panel discussion.
Image above: Thomas Mann House, Photo: VATMH / Mike Kelley
Bernhard Pörksen is one of more than 20 outstanding personalities from the fields of visual arts, literature, music, film, journalism and science who spent several months last year in the artist residency Villa Aurora and the Thomas Mann House debate centre in Los Angeles. The scholarship holders were given space for encounters and a diverse and fruitful exchange with California and the USA. Back across the Atlantic, they brought back new art as well as fresh perspectives and impulses for current social, cultural and political discourses.
“California seems to me a unique phenomenon of condensation, a place of dramatic simultaneities: abject poverty in the tent settlements of the homeless and obscene wealth behind the high hedges, vibrant creativity and esoteric delusion, surreal beauty and roaring, all-destroying fires that announce that the climate catastrophe has long been here.”BERNHARD PÖRKSEN, THOMAS MANN FELLOW
In a three-day interdisciplinary programme of music, film, visual arts and literature as well as a prominent panel discussion, this exchange and the newly gained experiences will now be accessible to a broad audience in Berlin in September 2022.
WITH Mohamed Amjahid (journalist and author), Fatma Aydemir (author), Ulu Braun (filmmaker), Nadine Fecht (visual artist), Marc Fromm (visual artist), Rainer Forst (philosopher and political scientist), Anna Sofie Hartmann (filmmaker), Doris Kleilein (architect and author), Labour Farahnaz Hatam & Colin Hacklander (musicians: inside), Claus Leggewie (sociologist), Friedhelm Marx (literary scholar), Birte Meier (investigative journalist), Friederike Meyer (architectural journalist and author), Christoph Möllers (legal scholar), Heike Paul (Americanist and cultural scholar), Bernhard Pörksen (media scholar), Robin Stretz (visual artist), Isabelle Stever (filmmaker), Sarah Szczesny (visual artist) and Michael Zürn (political scientist).
On the history of the residency programmes
The Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. promotes intellectual and cultural exchange between Germany and the United States of America as an independent and non-partisan intermediary of the Federal Republic of Germany. The non-profit association awards scholarships in the two residences Villa Aurora and Thomas Mann House in Pacific Palisades, a district of Los Angeles in the US state of California, and organises cultural programmes in the United States and Germany. It keeps alive the memory of European exile history in California, conveys a contemporary, diverse image of Germany and facilitates joint reflection on social, cultural and political challenges.
The Villa Aurora in the former exile residence of the German-Jewish writer Lion Feuchtwanger celebrated its 25th anniversary last year as a residence for up to 20 artists living in Germany. Since its founding, more than 450 artists have realised artistic projects there in the fields of literature, film, visual arts and composition.
The fledgling Thomas Mann House was opened in 2018 by the federal government as a residence with the aim of creating a lively transatlantic debate venue where outstanding personalities explore fundamental contemporary and future political, social and cultural issues in exchange with each other and the host country.
Rooms with a View – The Exhibition
Friday, 9 September to Sunday, 11 September. Fri + Sat: 1pm to 7pm and Sun: 10am to 4pm – Silent Green concrete hall.
The exhibition curated by Hendrike Nagel with installations, video and audio works as well as photographs by Villa Aurora alumni Ulu Braun, Nadine Fecht, Marc Fromm, Anna Sofie Hartmann, Robin Stretz and Sarah Szczesny reports on Los Angeles as a promised and burnt land, as a “sugardaddy and saltmama” (Ulu Braun), as a dream world and nightmare.
Rooms with a View – The Talk
Friday, 9 September, 7 to 9 pm – Silent Green Concrete Hall.
This roundtable discussion will bring together the Thomas Mann Fellows of 2021 to talk about the polarisation of societies, the threat to democracy, the representation of BIPOC in US series, global melodrama, the gender pay gap and many other topics. But the great panel discussion led by Shelly Kupferberg and another moderator will also venture a behind-the-scenes look at Thomas Mann House and what it’s like to live for several months in a debate flat-sharing community in the same neighbourhood with Steven Spielberg, Goldie Hawn and other Hollywood notables. With Thomas Mann Fellows Mohamed Amjahid (journalist and author), Rainer Forst (philosopher and political scientist), Doris Kleilein (architect and author), Claus Leggewie (sociologist), Friedhelm Marx (literary scholar), Birte Meier (investigative journalist), Friederike Meyer (architectural journalist and author), Christoph Möllers (legal scholar), Heike Paul (Americanist and cultural scholar), Bernhard Pörksen (media scholar) and Michael Zürn (political scientist). Moderation: Shelly Kupferberg & N.N.
Grand Jeté (G, 2022)
Saturday, 10 September, 4 pm – Concrete Hall Silent Green.
Film screening and discussion with director and Villa Aurora alumna Isabelle Stever. Moderated by Jenni Zylka, section head Perspektive Deutsches Kino at the Berlinale. As a young woman, Nadja gave birth to a son with Mario. In order not to be interrupted in her career as a ballet dancer, she gave him up to her mother. Although Nadja was not capable of developing maternal feelings for her child, one day she finds herself standing in front of Mario’s door. He has not seen her for a long time. Similar to Nadja’s dancing back then, Mario steels his body daily in the gym. Interest soon turns into desire for her son and his trained body. Nadja and Mario begin to get physically closer and closer to each other. “Isabelle Stever’s contemplations of the body are hard to get out of one’s head. Her offensive portrait of a mother-son affair is scandalous precisely because it doesn’t scandalise anything, doesn’t explain or discuss anything, but only depicts it. And how intensely it succeeds! With a virtuoso play of light, blur, close-ups, unleashed camera, sometimes hardly bearable physicality. Stever is a master of haptic cinema images.” ARTECHOCK.DE
Saturday, 10 September, 7 pm – Silent Green Concrete Hall.
Reading and discussion by and with the author and Villa Aurora alumna Fatma Aydemir. Moderated by Miryam Schellbach Hüseyin has worked in Germany for thirty years, and now he is finally fulfilling his dream: a condominium in Istanbul. Only to die of a heart attack on the day he moves in. His family travels from Germany to join him at the funeral. Fatma Aydemir’s great social novel tells the story of six fundamentally different people who happen to be related to each other. They all have their own baggage: secrets, desires, wounds. What unites them, however, is the feeling that someone is watching them in Hüseyin’s flat. Full of force and beauty, “Djinns” asks about the structure of family. Fatma Aydemir was born in Karlsruhe in 1986. She lives in Berlin and is a columnist and editor at the taz. Her debut novel “Ellbogen” was published by Hanser in 2017, for which she received several awards. In 2019, together with Hengameh Yaghoobifarah, she published the anthology “Eure Heimat ist unser Albtraum”.
Saturday, 10 September, 7 pm – Concrete Hall Silent Green.
Concert by Labour (Farahnaz Hatam and Colin Hacklander). For Farahnaz Hatam and Colin Hacklander aka Labour, creative expression and philosophical enquiry are inextricably linked. Their compositions and performances focus on the transformative potential of sound. Trained as a molecular biologist, Farahnaz Hatam works primarily with SuperCollider, a programming environment for algorithmic composition. Colin Hacklander is a percussionist, drummer and composer with a background in post-tonal theory and electronic music. Together, LABOUR compose ambitious and devotional experimental aural works that require active listening while inducing a sensory heightening of consciousness. In the concert performance developed exclusively for VATMH, they react to the situation in the concrete hall of the Silent Green and the exhibition of the other alumni’s works, drawing on the experiences of their stay at the Villa Aurora.
Sunday, 11 September, 11 a.m. – Silent Green Concrete Hall.
Film screening and discussion with director and Villa Aurora alumna Anna Sofie Hartman. Moderation: N.N..
Friday, 9 September until Sunday, 11 September
Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House (VATMH)
Silent Green Kulturquartier
Admission to all events is free