Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin
The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now – James A. Baldwin

The second edition of Future Nows 2017 → ∞ took place in Berlin last week bringing together over 100 international artists in a four-day event of live encounters. Located in the grandeur spaces in and outside Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, the current edition was a collaboration between Danish-Icelandic artist and all-around innovator, Olafur Eliasson, Institut für Raumexperimente e.V and the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

The festival is dedicated to experimental and innovative practices, where at times, at flash-mob speed, visitors engaged with the unexpected, through immersive and diverse interventions including performance, happenings, actions, music, dance, experiments, and perception exercises. All of these spontaneous occurrences meant that there was a nonlinear route through the festival thus allowing for the ‘density and diversity’ that the festival sought to create.

Eliasson led the Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments) between 2009 to 2014 and the organisation experimented with new approaches to arts education and research. The festival extends this research lab and continues its ethos based on the broad artistic network the Institut für Raumexperimente established in Berlin and beyond. Eliasson sees the festival as a platform for experimentation that ‘doesn’t necessarily fit into the conventional strategies and ideas about what is art and what is not art… It is a festival of the future that is here and now, of the consequences of art.’

Highlights included Yves Mettler’s Europacity intervention questioned through spontaneous discussion the status of the new future neighbourhood of the same name which will develop around the current Hamburger Bahnhof site. A project particularly poignant due to the ways in which cities are becoming sterile and standardised. Cinema Lada made a stop here in Berlin having first appeared in the Modern Art Museum Addis Ababa in 2015 as an open-air cinema. The Lada, a recognisable 30-year old car model that populates the streets of Addis Ababa now serves as part of an installation connecting both African and European artists through moving image.

For their performance, Mi Cupero Es Mio/My Body Belongs To Me, Tomás Espinosa and Artúr van Balen queered and temporarily transformed the exterior of the Hamburger Bahnhof into a scene of ethereal objects. Performers carried black-painted, inflatable figures across a catwalk created in in the courtyard choreographed with light, sound and movement with elements from vogueing, fetish, fashion, and the carnivalesque. The Festival of Future Nows 2017 → ∞ is curated by Sven Beckstette, Natalie Keppler and Christina Werner.

by Jareh Das

Feature Image: Festival of Future Nows 2017 © State Museum of Berlin  Maximilian Meisse, design BASICS09