24.3.2021, 17 Uhr

Now Available: Journal der Künste 15

How can art and culture assert their fundamental importance in the pandemic society? Reflecting on the current situation in the 15th issue of the Journal der Künste, Jeanine Meerapfel and Kathrin Roeggla demonstrate how difficult and at the same time urgent it is to uphold public spaces for social and intellectual learning to secure the future of democracy.

The focus on Pandemic and Society is also reflected in two powerful photo series: In memorable black-and-white images, the photographer Maurice Weiss lent expression to the exceptional situation in hospitals right at the beginning of the pandemic at the end of March 2020, while Sebastian Wells documented the anti-lockdown demonstrations at the Brandenburg Gate in autumn 2020. Those images accompany Christine Hentschel’s research on the anti-lockdown protests, where the criminologist describes the full extent of the historical confusion and relativisations that are being expressed there. The role that cultural institutions and art can play as platforms for exchange and the communication of knowledge to society is the subject of Andres Veiel's discussion of his film Ökozid. The same idea is taken up by media archaeologist Siegfried Zielinksi in his essay on the museum of the future.

The second focus of this issue is dedicated to the Akademie der Künste's 2021 thematic programme: With Arbeit am Gedächtnis – Transforming Archives the Akademie is taking its 325th anniversary as an opportunity to reappraise its own role as a memory store. For how and what a society remembers has become critical at a time when self-conceptions are being renegotiated, as Lina Brion states with regard to the 13 commissioned works for the great exhibition on this theme that will open in June at the Pariser Platz. One of these works is the installation “Digest” by Candice Breitz, consisting of 1001 sealed VHS-cassettes. In her Carte Blanche section, the artist goes into the work’s formation background and its different levels of narration. Matthias Sauerbruch follows, with reflections on the preservation of historical monuments; Julia Gerlach introduces the protagonists of the festival Memories in Music; Njoki Ngumi und Jim Chuchu of the artist collective The Nest question the interpretive sovereignty of the Global North in connection with the restitution of cultural assets.

A rediscovered pictorial history commemorates architect and former Akademie President Werner Düttmann, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year, and to whom the Akademie owes not only its unique building on Hanseatenweg. To mark the 150th anniversary of Heinrich Mann's birth, the archive is dedicating a large-scale digitisation project to the globally scattered literary estates of the exiled author. Werner Heegewaldt introduces the project of digital calendar pages referring to 325 years of Akademie history, and archivist Katalin Madásci-Laube recalls the importance of European dialogue, taking the example of the great Hungarian literary figures Péter Nádas and Péter Esterházy, who, like Imre Kertész and György Konrád, wrote Akademie history.

You can find the digital version of the 15th issue here.

The Journal der Künste is available in German and English and is free of charge. If you wish to receive the print version of a single issue or if you are interested in a subscription, please send an email to info@adk.de.