Episode 8:

Entrenchment Tactics, Cryptofinancial or Otherwise

08 Nov–13 Oct 2018
KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, DE

SPACECRAFT addresses long-term strategies of financing and co-ownership that offer a contrast to the punishing precarity of Contemporary Art. It asks which methods of collectivization and cryptofinance, among other options, might offer sustainable working models for the field.

KUNSTrePUBLIK is a case in point. The artist collective founded their own venue ZK/U, using leasehold models securing tenancy of several decades or longer. The challenges of sustaining this infrastructure can be considered a central facet of their artistic practice. This accomplishment, however, points back to a longer history of engagement with public spaces and institutions.

25 years ago, the collective initiated Skulpturenpark in Berlin Mitte. By and by, Skulpturenpark ceded to apartment blocks built for the upper-middle classes increasingly marking Berlin. The story is hardly a surprising one. What is more surprising is that, even after decades of increasingly brutal patterns of upgrading and displacement, temporary usage and Project City romantics remain à la mode in the Berlin art world (KW are no exception here).

Can one learn any lessons from a temporary usage, two decades on, even if it paved the way for new-build gentrification in Mitte? The trajectory of the said artists suggests as much. Skulpturenpark aside, SPACECRAFT will feature expertise on the financialization of residential space in Berlin, and on the enduring importance of land trusts and collective wealth management.

This brings us to the issue of Smart Contracts. Blockchain enthusiasts insist that cryptocurrencies and Decentralized Autonomous Organizations offer a new playing field, ushering in new forms of collective ownership, even a turn towards the Commons as a political force. REALTY and ZK/U are among the growing numbers of artists and curators nervously exploring such new technologies. Be that as it may, no playing field remains level for long, and the window of opportunity may soon be closing …

Audio Documentation

  • Erik Bordeleau lecture (in English): Bringing Ourselves to Forms Irreversible, 11.11.2019, Werkstatt Haus der Statistik Berlin

  • Daniela Brahm & Les Schliesser (German, with introduction by Tirdad Zolghadr): An End to Temporary Usage, ExRotaprint Workshop, 8.11.2019,  KW Berlin