Closure PODEWIL + New start TESLA
of art program in the Klosterstrasse
On December 31, 2004 the art program of the Podewil was closed down.A new crew will take over the programming under the name “tesla” in the Podewils’ Palais on April 29, 2005.
The Podewil – Center for Contemporary Arts says good bye to its audience.
12 years of art programming bear testimony to the Podewil’s effort, to
anchor the art of tomorrow – in political, aesthetical as well as technological terms – in the current art scene of Berlin and outside. Via a national and international network of cooperating partners, the Podewil initiated and supported newest developments in the field of music (curator: Elke Moltrecht), theatre and performance art (curator: Aenne Quinones, dance (Ulrike Becker/André Theriault) and media art (Andreas Broeckmann).The artistic contributions of around 2500 individual artists and groups guided the Podewil in becoming a venue for progressive and experimental projects. The spatial structure as well as the technical possibilities of the building in the Klosterstrasse facilitated this development: as it had a club, a foyer, a multifunctional hall, a small performance space, a dance studio, several rehearsal rooms and artists’ studios. More than 40 artists worked in the studios during their stay as artists-in-residence at the Podewil. Xavier Le Roy (1996-2001), zeitkratzer (2000-2002) and Gob Squad (2000-2002) are just three of those young and in thosedays not yet established artists who were provided professional work conditions by the Podewil for the first time in their careers. This initial support helped them to achieve good public reception and international reputation since then. The Podewil was a competent partner of the artists in searching for and finding new and adequate production formats and development methods. Manifold festivals, program series and projects in a lot of different forms, which evolved during the years, are evidence of the unorthodox methods and the vivid exchange that characterised this venue. To mention just a few: MontagsMusik, thematic music festivals (“Intonations -In selten guter Stimmung”, “off-ICMC”, “x-tract CHICAGO”, “x-tract Sculpture Musicale” etc.), “reich & berühmt”, “KÖRPERSTIMMEN – Tanz und Performance International” and the open-air summer program. Some of the festivals and program series that were formerly hosted by the Podewil have moved to other sites: The “transmediale – international media art festival berlin” (1993 to 2001 in the Podewil) has taken place at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt since 2002. The “Literarischer Salon Britta Gansebohm” has been presented since the beginning of this year at the BKA Theatre.
However, for the festival “Tanz im August – Internationales Tanzfest”
(since 1992 in the Podewil) the building in the Klosterstrasse will remain
a permanent venue also in the future.
We would like to thank to all artists, the critical and open-minded audiences, our partners, friends, supporters and our competitors. We are
confident that the Podewil will have left its marks in the cultural landscape of the city and far beyond.
Background information on the close-down of the Podewil
The closure of the Podewil was decided by the supervisory board of the
Berliner Kulturveranstaltungs-GmbH (BKV), the company that has been running the Podewil since its opening in 1992. The supervisory board headed by the Senator for Cultural Affairs, Thomas Flierl, initiated a public invitation to tender for the artistic programming of the venue in the Klosterstrasse in 2004. Beforehand the contract of Wilhelm Grossmann, managing director of the BKV since 1995 and program director of the Podewil since 1998, had been terminated.
The public tender made an end to the long lasting struggle to keep the
Podewil with its program profile as a platform for the whole variety of
contemporary art production. Back in 2002 the Podewil was for the first
time threatened by cuts of 750.000 € by the Senate of Berlin. This would
have meant the immediate closure. As a result of massive protests in the
art scene here in Germany and abroad the cuts were partially withdrawn. The reduction of financial support by the city were still substantial in the
years 2002 and 2003, which made extremely difficult to maintain the
programming at the acknowledged high level. Finally in 2004 the repeated
cuts resulted in a break down of program continuity. Established series
like “KÖRPERSTIMMEN” were confronted with a project budget reduced by 50 percent, highlights like thematic music festivals and the popular
“Sommerfest” had to be cancelled. On the top of that, the more unclear the
future of the venue became the more difficult it was to raise funds for
projects that depended on external funding like the performance festival
“reich & berühmt” for example did.
Among ten applications in the public tender a concept by Carsten Seiffarth,
Detlev Schneider and Andreas Broeckmann was chosen to be realised from 2005 on.
We wish good luck to the new crew and we hope that the art will have a good
place to stay in the Klosterstrasse in the long term
the former Podewil team
I would personally like to thank all artists, collaborators and friends who
have contributed to creating the profile of Podewil’s music program.
Even if the Podewil don’t exist furthermore in it’s previous shape, I would
like to inform you, that I’am still employed by the Berliner Kulturveranstaltung, GmbH.