Tell It to the Stones.
The Work of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub

14 Sep 2017 – 19 Nov 2017
Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin
Tue – Sun 11 am – 7 pm
Admission: 6/4, free admission for visitors under 18 and Tuesdays from 3 pm to 7 pm

Exhibition Opening: Wednesday, 13 Sep 2017, 7 pm, free admission

In a collaboration that spanned nearly 50 years, the duo of filmmakers Danièle Huillet (1936-2006) and Jean-Marie Straub (born 1933) created one of the most influential and, at the same time, controversial oeuvres in modern cinema.

Their films always grew out of a critical engagement – and often a fundamental disagreement – with the works they took as their inspiration: Not Reconciled, or Only Violence Helps Where Violence Rules (Nicht versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt, wo Gewalt herrscht) (1965), an adaptation of a novel by Heinrich Böll; Class Relations (Klassenverhältnisse) (1984) based on Kafka’s unfinished novel Amerika; The Death of Empedocles (Der Tod des Empedokles) (1986), Hölderlin’s “communist utopia” (Straub), filmed at the foot of Etna; The Antigone of Sophocles after Hölderlin’s Translation Adapted for the Stage by Brecht 1948 (Die Antigone des Sophokles nach der Hölderlinschen Übertragung für die Bühne bearbeitet von Brecht 1948) (1991), first performed on stage in Berlin and, in the classical theatre in Segesta on Sicily, transformed into a film as recalcitrant as its heroine; and the writings of Cesare Pavese and Elio Vittorini, which they constantly returned to over the years for their work with the Teatro Francesco di Bartolo in Buti, Tuscany. Since Danièle Huillet’s death, Jean-Marie Straub has continued this work with the same intensity, offering a new reading of the central moments of their joint oeuvre in his 2014 film Communists (Kommunisten).

The programme comprises a two-month exhibition dedicated to Straub/Huillet’s method of work, and relating it to current artistic positions. For the opening in mid-September and again in November, Rencontres offer several days of discussions, lectures and film programmes. In the second week of October, the focus is on links to the works of Arnold Schönberg. In a parallel event to the film Introduction to Arnold Schoenberg’s “Accompainment to a Cinematographic Scene” (Einleitung zu Arnold Schönbergs Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielscene) (1972), the Neue Musik Berlin chamber ensemble (KNM) presents the world premiere of a Schönberg arrangement. From 15 October on, a complete retrospective of the films is shown in Berlin for the very first time. The films are screened at four locations – the Akademie der Künste and the Brotfabrik, Zeughauskino and fsk cinema.

Today, Straub/Huillet’s oeuvre, often misunderstood in the past as hermetic, proves to be open, playful and radically contemporary.

An Akademie der Künste, Berlin, programme, curated by Annett Busch and Tobias Hering. In cooperation with BELVA Film, Zeughauskino, Kino in der Brotfabrik and the fsk Kino.

Funded by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds

Within the framework of the Berlin Art Week

KONTAKTE '17 – Biennial for Electroacoustic Music and Sound Art

28 Sep 2017 – 1 Oct 2017
Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin

Festival pass € 32/17, Day pass € 15/9
Events: € 6/4 (Studio Foyer, Hall 1), € 13/7 (Main Auditorium, Hall 2)
Entrance to the exhibition only with ticket
Sound installations and further events: free admission

For four days, the Akademie der Künste on Hanseatenweg will be a creative lab for musical experimentation, staging concerts, sound installations, artist talks, and workshops. With its 28 debuts and premieres, and more than 100 artists from 27 countries, the 2nd edition of KONTAKTE is the hub for electroacoustic music and sound art in Berlin.

The programme’s historical focus is on Hermann Scherchen’s Electroacoustic Experimental Studio in Gravesano, Switzerland. Highlights include three new productions by Wolfgang Heiniger, Kirsten Reese and José María Sánchez-Verdú, among others, which premiere in two concerts with the Ensemble ascolta and the Neue Vocalsolisten, and feature Hermann Scherchen’s rotating loudspeaker sphere. Further key topics are new productions of electronic sound art, which trace the creative process and the interferences of music and research as driving forces, including works by José Manuel Berenguer, Christina Kubisch, Hans Peter Kuhn, and Gerriet K. Sharma.

A special international guest this year is the Laboratorio Nacional de Música Electroacústica in Havana, Cuba, which will present a new coproduced concert project with Cuban artists at the festival.

Apart from in-house productions and premieres, KONTAKTE ’17 brings together works by outstanding living composers and sound artists with classical works by contemporary music pioneers ranking among the composers supported by Hermann Scherchen.

In addition to the international and trans-regional projects, Berlin’s vibrant music scene, including Berlin PianoPercussion, the Berliner Lautsprecherorchester, Les Femmes Savantes, and others, also forms an integral pillar of the festival. KONTAKTE ’17 also highlights Berlin’s live-coding community and network-based music performance, with interventions in public space, sound installations, and the workshop Share Control, Share Influence, whose motto the festival is glad to adopt this year.

The programme is complemented by the launch of a new CD and the inauguration of a new composition prize awarded by the German Society for Electroacoustic Music, as well as by artist talks in which programmatic topics of KONTAKTE ’17 are discussed. This year KONTAKTE ’17 expands the proven partnerships with the DEGEM, the Artists-in-Berlin Program of the DAAD, the Berlin University of the Arts, the Hanns Eisler School of Music, and the Technical University of Berlin by collaborations with new partners too, such as the Lebenshilfe Berlin, or the Berlin-based initiative Heroines of Sound.

The four-day programme of events is, moreover, accompanied by a presentation with materials from the Hermann Scherchen Archive as well as a wall installation from the series Das imaginäre Studio by Johanna Diehl, which showcases apparatuses from the electronic studios of the post-war period, including Scherchen’s legendary rotating loudspeaker sphere.

Benjamin and Brecht. Thinking in Extremes

26 Oct 2017 – 28 Jan 2018
Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin
Tue – Sun 11 am – 7 pm, admission: € 9/6
free admission for visitors under 18 and Tuesdays from 3 pm to 7 pm

Exhibition Opening: Wednesday 25 Oct 2017, free admission

Bertolt Brecht and Walter Benjamin, Svendborg 1934

With their very different backgrounds and influences, the relationship between the critic Walter Benjamin (1892–1940) and the writer Bertolt Brecht (1898–1956) was an unusual one. They came to know each other personally during the years of the Weimar Republic, discussing fundamental issues in art and politics in a way that is excitingly provocative and raises questions still relevant today. During their years of exile, they became trusted friends.

The exhibition shows the topicality of this friendship, the historically documented aspects, the resonances from friends and enemies, and moments of reception in ideas and art. Starting from their close personal relationship, this exhibition responds to Benjamin’s and Brecht’s names becoming ciphers, models for art and a particular view of the world.

The exhibit includes a number of unfamiliar original items: Brecht’s chess board and a Chinese figure of Lao Tsu, manuscripts of poems, diary entries, letters and photos – key documents illustrating the pivotal and conflictual points in this relationship. The historical material is supplemented by original film and audio documents, as well as recordings of early Brecht productions. A series of art works comment on events from present perspectives. Confirmed participants include Zoe Beloff, Adam Broomberg / Oliver Chanarin, Edmund de Waal, Felix Martin Furtwängler, Friederike Heller, Alexander Kluge, Mark Lammert, Jonas Maron, Marcus Steinweg and Steffen Thiemann.

The exhibition is in German and English. It is generously funded by the Society of Friends of the Academy of Arts, the Hamburg Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Culture and the FRIES Group.