December 10 | Exhibition Opening: IMMORTALITY FOR ALL

December 14 | FILMSERIES: Session N° 12 with Antje Majewski

December 15 | SPEAKING FEMINISMS with Ewa Majewska

December 16 | Lecture Performance with Kristof Trakal



OBSERVATORIUM LABORATORIUM #1 - Curated by Juan Blanco, Ana María Millán and Esteban Rivera

December 11, 2016 – January 15, 2017 (Thur – Sun 2-7)

Opening: December 10, 2016 | 7pm

Lecture performance by Kristof Trakal: December 16, 2016

Free entry: Donations welcome

SAVVY Contemporary | Plantagenstraße 31 | 13347 Berlin-Wedding

With Tom Bogaert, Juan Blanco, Jan-Peter Gieseking, Kinga Kielczynska, Kristof Trakal, Ana María Millán, Paula Niño, Lydia Paasche, Esteban Rivera, Rizki Resa Utama.

IMMORTALITY FOR ALL is an exhibition that addresses the notion of death as well as concepts of immortality and their forms of management – death as capital and economy, the representation and celebration of death in architectures, sculptures, images. The artworks featured here speak of death not as the end process of life, but as a perpetuation of life through symbols.

IMMORTALITY FOR ALL has been developed as an associative dialogue on death and monumentality between the artists and curators Juan Blanco, Ana María Millán and Esteban Rivera with a selected number of peers, mostly based in Berlin. Their exchange was inspired by SAVVY Contemporary’s location in Wedding´s former crematorium (the first of its kind in Berlin): a protected building, a historical sign of the changing cultural measures around death management in the early XX century.

IMMORTALITY FOR ALL marks the first in the laboratory format OBSERVATORIUM LABORATORIUM, in which emerging curators or artists propose exhibitions inspired by SAVVY Contemporary‘s concepts and visions, as well as its forms of sociopolitical reflections and speech.

Curatorial statement

In 2015, Diego Alejandro Botero López, a young Colombian student, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in his left leg. After the doctors had cut off his leg, he went to court to claim the right to keep his amputated member and avoid its incineration. His plan was to be buried together with this leg after his death. He won the cause, but unfortunately the leg was already incinerated. This story is just one of plenty examples of how taking care of a body or a part of it has political, social and cultural implications, how it involves the State and the law.

Meanwhile, the funerary industry continues to expand in different directions, towards new and imaginative ways of profiting from death. Bios Urn for instance, is a „biodegradable urn, that takes your ashes and turns them into a tree.“ It is is one of the many companies that promise a new kind of bio-reintegration of a corpse in the environment. For $145 you can even decide what tree you will become out of 6 available on their website. Biodegradable processes, cryonics, embalming, or any other procedure that promises a way out of death via a compensatory eternal life, are not just ideological projects, they are also business ideas.

IMMORTALITY FOR ALL is an exhibition and temporal lab-space that encourages us to reflect about death and immortality from multiple artistic perspectives: what does it mean to be denied the right to decide over our own death? How can we, should we, will we determine the future of our own bodies? The artists will reflect on the notion of preservation, and look at monuments as a patriarchal way of deciding what is worth to be remembered. IMMORTALITY FOR ALL is an opportunity to invent new ways to look at death and to gather artists whose works stand as forms of empowerment to our right to perform, visualize or materialize death.

Sun Ra’s legendary visit to Egypt and the Pyramids of Giza in 1971 is addressed in “Pepsi, cola, water?” (2015) a short experimental documentary by Tom Bogaert. Here, the multicoloured lights game played against the facade of the pyramids and the sphinx since 1961 is put in relation to the music of Sun Ra and archive footage of his visit to Egypt. “Die Versteinerten” (2015) by Esteban Rivera is a film where an interview with David Stodolsky, a member of the Cryonics Institute, guides us through Walter Gropius’ former house in Dessau which was renovated by Bruno Fioretti Marquez Architects. The reflection on this building-monument becomes a metaphor for what is fossilized, where Modernism is in a fossil state, and survives as a trace of what once was. Paula Niño moves from buildings to the human scale, brutally reminding us of the spatial relation our bodies have with architecture. “Reecuentro” (2012-2015) is a series of minimal cement sculptures that present pillows of people that died alone in their homes in Germany.

The works of Juan Blanco and Jan-Peter Gieseking address the relationship between the mind and the body in a technologically accelerated society. In their works captchas and digital interfaces are pretexts to question human existence in the digital age, and what parameters are used to define what is real.

The Occult Acting Group (OAG) of Kristof Trakal is a research endeavor of acting techniques as a means of resistance. His video-installation and lecture-performance “Theme Park of Death” (2016) proposes performative ways of inhabiting a cemetery. Its possible inhabitants appear as ghostly bodies in the images of Kinga Kielczynska who reminds us of early photographic experiments through a new age iconography in “Digital Enlightenments” (2013).

“Hielo Negro” (Black Ice) (2015) by Ana María Millán is a video in which images of Black Metal in two different countries are juxtaposed and associated, those of the Norwegian and Colombian scene. The artist underlines the artificiality implied in the concepts of death and nature, while Lydia Paasche and Rizki Resa Utama instead reflect and offer new visions on the concept of the body. Bodies or their absences are depicted as a reflection on narcissism, considered as a consequence of hypercapitalism.


Session N°12: Touki Bouki

Antje Majewski presents Djibril Diop Mambéty

December 14, 2016 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Touki Bouki by Djibril Diop Mambéty (1973, 1 hour 35 minutes, French and Wolof, with English subtitles)

Antje Majewski choses Touki Bouki to watch with us "because it is one of the most important films I know. It has a style that is unique and a rhythm of acting and editing that are all very important for me as an artist. All that this film is about is still relevant today, and will be relevant tomorrow. I also have a more personal connection with the film. I encountered the spirit of Djibril Diop Mambéty through his friends of the Laboratoire Agit Art in Dakar, of which he was - and is - a member. During this evening, I would like to present not only the film, but also a short homage to Mambéty, that I filmed at his house at the île de N’Gor, Sénégal."

With a stunning mix of the surreal and the naturalistic, Djibril Diop Mambe?ty paints a vivid, fractured portrait of Senegal in the early 1970s. In this French New Wave–influenced fantasy-drama, two young lovers long to leave Dakar for the glamour and comforts of France, but their escape plan is beset by complications both concrete and mystical. Characterized by dazzling imagery and music, the alternately manic and meditative Touki Bouki is widely considered one of the most important African films ever made.

Djibril Diop Mambéty (1945 – 1998) was an actor, orator, composer and poet. Though he made only a small number of films, they received international acclaim for their original and experimental cinematic technique and non-linear, unconventional narrative style. Some of his most acclaimed movies are Touki Bouki (1973), Hyènes (1992), and La Petite Vendeuse de Soleil (1999).

Antje Majewski was born 1968 in Marl/ Germany, she lives in Berlin and Himmelpfort. She is an artist who works with painting, video, texts, and performances to explore anthropological and philosophical questions. Her recent work focuses on questioning objects, territories and plants, and exploring alternative knowledge systems and storytelling as well as the possibility of transformative processes. She studied art history, history and philosophy in Cologne, Berlin, and Florence from 1987 to 1995, and has been professor of painting at Muthesius Kunsthochschule in Kiel, Germany since 2011. Since 2009, her works takes the seven objects of her “Gimel World” as a point of departure, and are accompanied by complex research. Majewski often collaborates with other artists and ecological and urban groups, and has also curated exhibitions.

Selected publications include: Aleksandra Jach, Joanna Sokolowska, Antje Majewski, Amy Patton, Susanne Titz: Apples. Over and over and once again / Apfel. Wieder und wieder und immer wieder; Museum Abteiberg Mönchengladbach and Berlin / New York: Sternberg Press, 2016; Antje Majewski: Der Meteorit / The Meteorite (Heidelberg: Heidelberger Kunstverein, 2014); Antje Majewski, The World of Gimel: How to Make Objects Talk, edited by Adam Budak and Peter Pakesch.

how does the world breathe now? is a 52 week film series at SAVVY Contemporary inviting artists, thinkers, activists, poets, scientists, curators and other practitioners to select movies of our nows. READ MORE HERE.

SPEAKING FEMINISMS - a series in preliminary excercises

Second Exercise with Ewa Majewska: #Blackprotest as weak resistance. On recent women's mobilizations in Poland and globally.

December 15, 2016 | 6pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Do you want to bring your kids? We will provide a self-organized child care. If interested please send an email until Monday December 12 to with subject line child care and tell us the age of your kid(s). The child care will cost a small fee, the amount of which will depend on the number of children.

The #BlackProtest, which started this September, and led to the Women's Strike on the 3 October 2016 and now inspires the International Strike of Women, planned for the 8th March 2017, was about reproductive rights. The Polish government currently plans degrading women to the role of incubators, mere equipment for the prolongation of the species. In this necropolitical perspective the life and health of women are totally instrumentalized, reduced to the role of supportive elements of „national reproduction”. The #BlackProtest started as an internet campaign, invented by Gocha Adamczyk, a member of the Razem left wing party. She suggested, that women should wear black on the 21 September, and that photographs of people wearing black should be collected in social media, together with words of support and solidarity. The black and white photographs of women from all social contexts started to fill the #BlackProtest's social media and became a massive mobilisation of some 200 000 people alltogether, for many the first political gesture in their lives. Than, the General Women's Strike was announced and some 150 000 women in cities big and small stepped in the streets, demanding respect for women, rights and safety and expressing solidarity. It was by far the biggest social mobilisation in Poland after 1989. Later, women in Argentine, Mexico and Corea went on Strike. On the 26 Nov women in Itali held massive demonstrations. Now, a plan for an International Women's Strike was set up and on the 8 March 2017 we expect women from at least 20 countries to go on strike.

The next revolution we look at will be a feminist one. It demands basic rights and resepect, expresses international solidarity, welcomes political activists and women who never participated in politics before. In the simplicity of this mobilisation the commonality – of the participants, of the protest, of the internet activities, of the demands leads to a conclusion, that the common in revolt is the common of the non-heroic, of the ordinary, of the weak. Women and those, who support us, challenge the patriarchal conceptualizations and political practice of resistance, practicing heterogeneity without paternalism, solidarity without hierarchies and politics without exclusion. It is time to discuss and verbalize these strategies, these aims and needs. Let's do it together.

Dr Ewa Majewska – feminist philosopher and activist, currently lives in Warsaw, where she works at the Artes Liberales Department of the Warsaw University. She published several monographs, collected volumes, articles and essays on politics, culture and women, she was active in queer, feminist, anti-border and antiglobalist movements and in the art scene. Her recent publications include: So Far, So Good and La Mestiza from Ukraine? Border Crossing with Gloria Anzaldúa

On SPEAKING FEMINISMS: How does the meaning of ‘feminism’ change in different contexts and times? And, what can we learn from historical feminist practices? “Feminism”, Yemisi Aribisala writes, “cannot be globally defined because Pangaea broke into pieces 250 million years ago and many wild waters and hazardous bush must be traversed to evangelise my kind of savage. The world is not one.” On the other hand, Science-fiction writer Octavia Butler describes it in terms of the act of writing yourself into the world: “You got to make your own worlds. You got to write yourself in it.”

How do we – women, men, transgender, not-men – write ourselves into the world? And, how do we unwrite an already written page? How do we imagine a different language, another collective politics from the perspective of feminist practice today? When vulnerable communities continue to be threated by racism, xenophobia, acts of bullism, and violence against women, gay and trans-people, we feel the urge to address these and other questions in an attempt to mobilise and develop new feminist politics and practices.

For this series of preliminary exercises, our point of departure is the acknowledgement of a deep, and we hope productive, disagreement on the meaning of and the contemporary valence of this term. Perhaps this is already what feminism is about, a form of collective non-alignment.

Through a series of performative events, talks and workshops, together with the audience and the participants we are aiming at exercising critical thoughts on some of the most pressing discourses and reflections on the topic, but also attempting to enact the multiple histories, struggles, and voices that define ‘feminism’ as both a practice and a concept.



Lecture Performance by Kristof Trakal

December 16, 2016 | 7pm

Free entrance - donations welcome

Lecture performance in the framework of our current exhibition IMMORTALITY FOR ALL

The Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles has been at the forefront of the funerary business for the past 100 years. Its first manager Hubert Eaton was an art collector and attracted many celebrities to be buried in his theme-park-like cemetery as a business strategy (among them Michael Jackson and Walt Disney).

Since the civil war embalming has defined the US context of the death care industry. Embalming is a practice which preserves a body short term for especially orchestrated viewings, that multi-national corporations have tried to introduce into a European market in the 1990s but failed.

The election campaigns to the US presidency 2016 have resurrected political formats that were long thought dead. They have used an unprecedented amount of big data as well as fake news to target voters. In post-truth politics national polls were not able to predict the outcome of the election, which led journalists to declare the death of data.

Kristof Trakal is an artist and writer, who lives in Berlin. Trakal’s work is process-based and often collaborative and participatory. It includes strategies such as acting, writing, LARPing, film-making, installation-making, dialog, research or photography. He is the founder of the Occult Acting Group and currently working on the film project Preparations IV. His works have been shown at Raumerweiterungshalle, Berlin (DE) 2014; the Sims OST. article in Till Wittwers collection: Songs for immaterial labourer, group show: Kongress der Artikulation, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (DE) 2014; Power House, collaborative participatory event over 5 days, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia (US); The jaw is beeing screened at God is Love, exhibition curated by Ben Marvin, sunset terrace, Vancouver (CAN) 2013; Money on Monday. talk series about alternative business models and economies, held at Udk, Berlin (DE) 2012; CASINO. participatory installation, over the course of 4 days held at the year end show, UdK Berlin (DE) 2011; The Scottish Pub. interactive/relational installation, UdK Berlin (DE) 2010.