Berlin, the Mecca of performance art, a site of reconciliation and growth, and a community of refugees finding their safe space nestled between street art and reclaimed historical spaces. Continuing my work of performance art documentation, I traveled to Berlin to explore current trends in the medium. During the month of May, many performances take place around the world, but MPA-Berlin really caught my eye because of the intensity of its programming for the month. I love performances that act as public interventions, and MPA-Berlin was a great community that was really taking advantage of Berlin’s public areas as a space for dialogue and interactions with the public.
I began my travels with one goal in mind: a documentary. I had always wanted to create one, especially about communities, collaboration, and the exploration of self-expression in spaces with much historical meaning. Francesca Romana Ciardi, one of the founders of MPA-Berlin, was very excited for my project, and once I landed in Berlin she helped me navigate the different actors within the performance art platform. The festival was the perfect tour guide of Berlin, leading Francois Huyghe, my cameraman and partner in the project, and myself through the city.
While there I also wrote about my experience with the program Surveillance: Invisibility and Visibility, curated by Emanuelle Nedelcu in collaboration with Gaby Billa-Günther, which featured 19 artists and was held in Funkhaus, the former headquarters of the German Democratic Republic radio station. Many of the performances dealt with issues of censorship, surveillance, and the history of the GDR. This being my first day in Berlin, I was in awe of the fearless programming, the relevance of the work, and the fact that I ended the night playing hide-and-seek in a forest with Viviana Druga.
Over 10 days we interviewed 10 collaborators/co-laborers of the MPA platform, documented 20 performances, and met some amazing individuals from all around the world that came just to perform or be involved. Watch the documentary below. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and savor a taste of the Berlin performance art scene.