Oscillations. Cape Town – Berlin. Sonic Inquiries and Practices

Exhibition, 27 April – 19 May 2024
Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg 10, 10557 Berlin

Exhibition opening on Friday, 26 April 2024, 7 pm

Oscillations Workshop, CHR Cape Town, September 2023

Critical listening is the first step toward an ethics and aesthetics of care and freedom. Discarding listening habits and accepting new sound qualities allows access to other layers of history and experience. Artists from South Africa and Germany share their listening experiences in new sound works.

They reveal fractures in post-apartheid society in South Africa, offer forms of transformation and healing, and question the ownership of sound in a postcolonial transhemispheric frame of reference. Their collaboration aims to counteract stereotypical views on and about Africa that define the continent as a place of exploitation and extractivism. In a two-year process, the project partners Akademie der Künste, Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape and Deutschlandfunk Kultur have created a space for exchange, residencies, collaboration and the creation of new works for the exhibition (27 April – 19 May) and the radio.

With Muhammad Dawjee, Garth Erasmus, Zara Julius, Nkosenathi Ernie Koela, Christina Kubisch, Mpho Molikeng, Gabisile Motuba, Neo Muyanga, Denise Onen, Kirsten Reese

Steering Committee: Aidan Erasmus, Julia Gerlach, Marcus Gammel, Heidi Grunebaum, Valmont Lane, Lee Walters

Oscillations is a project of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape (Cape Town) and Deutschlandfunk Kultur / Klangkunst (Berlin).

Sponsored by the TURN2 fund of the German Federal Cultural Foundation. Sponsored by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

Supported by the DAAD arts & media programme, Kulturstiftung Schloss Wiepersdorf and National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS).

Poesie der Zeit. Michael Ruetz – Timescapes 1966–2023

Exhibition, 9 May – 4 Aug 2024, Opening: 8 May 2024
Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin

Michael Ruetz, aus: Timescape 162 – Pariser Platz, Berlin, Phase 00, Mo 04.02.1991, 17:30 Uhr, Phase 16, Mo 28.08.2023, 10:33 Uhr © Michael Ruetz

Michael Ruetz, from: Timescape 162 – Pariser Platz, Berlin, Phase 00, Mon 4 Feb 1991, 5:30 pm, Phase 16, Mon 28 Aug 2023, 10:33 am

How to make visible the passage of time and transience, how to document the ruptures and changes that occur in societies and urban environments? These are the questions that Michael Ruetz – like few other artists – addresses in his work. Since the mid-60s he has observed the transformation of natural and urban habitats in locations in Berlin and elsewhere in Europe in a large-scale photographic study, capturing the changes in a series of photographic snapshots and inventory images. His Timescapes came about over a period of nearly sixty years and comprise more than 600 series made up of thousands of photos. The central concept of Timescapes is that the position and visual axis of the camera always remain the same, while only the time intervals of the photo series vary.

At the heart of the exhibition are the Timescapes of Berlin. The photo series present a particularly powerful consolidation of the far-reaching transformation of German society in the post-war period, after reunification and up to the present day. Sites of power or historical relevance such as Potsdamer Platz or the Brandenburg Gate, the Schlossplatz, Gendarmenmarkt, Berlin’s government quarters or the Berlin Wall have undergone radical change, particularly since 1989/90. Buildings and visual axes disappear or are built anew, streets are returned to previous states or renamed, squares are radically redesigned, open spaces built upon, vacant spaces given new life.

Ruetz’ images of Berlin are an expression of how architecture can shape and redefine our environment, thus giving it a prerogative of interpretation over our perception. His photo series develop their own aesthetics beyond documentary sobriety, revealing a poetry of time in the process. At the same time, Ruetz’ photos admonish us, in these times of environmental and social crises, to rethink the principles of urban planning and development.

Photo leporellos with selected Berlin Timescapes will be published with the exhibition.

The documentary film Facing Time by Annett Ilijew supplements the exhibition programme.