2018, Axel Obiger, Berlin (D)
A project with Mika Hannula as guest artist in Axel Obiger
Axel Obiger is an artist run project space that showcases contemporary art from Berlin and abroad. A continuous programme of double exhibitions, where a project member invites another extern artist, is completed by several group shows.
Axel Obiger, Brunnenstr. 29, 10119 Berlin
Egoism in its various forms such as populism, exclusivity / luxury, vanity, wellbeing etc. has been of our interest for a longer time as in starting point for internal discourse and concrete artistic works such as United Against Populism, Wait we’ll meet again, Because I’m Worth It, Nordic Walking, etc. In finnfemfel’s collective work process, we constantly struggle with our egos and the relationship within the group, we share, dissect and recompose our ideas in order to develop an unified form and concept – THREE people ONE work.
The announcement “Zurückbleiben!” (Stay back!) is irritating. Especially for foreigner visiting Berlin, it is incomprehensible and therefore catchy. For native speakers, the word “zurückbleiben” has a clearly negative connotation – you stay behind, others go, or you’re left behind, can not keep up, you’re superfluous, retarded?
It is very strange that you are ordered to such a passive activity, earlier live and very harsh by a supervisor, today by a neutral and sexy-sounding defused recording and with the addition “Please”.
By their own statement, the S-bahn in Berlin try to prevent the commuters “increasing willingness to take risks” at any price “to catch already departing trains.” The red flashing lights over the doors and the famous S-bahn sound-triad alone are surely not enough. Perhaps it’s not all about the facts, not about getting involved, not about the closing doors, but about being left behind as an action, an approach, a feeling?
This announcement give you many things to contemplate about. About social Darwinism, the failure of the big city (or the big city itself), Prussian obedience, global and local, transport conditions… The organized chaos in this announcement is part of the Berlin feeling, it provides the vital space for ambivalences that threatens to become smaller and smaller through the destructive chaos of political populism.
In Hamburg, the announcement was abolished in 2014, Berlin keeps them.
Probably because it is as ambiguous as the city itself.
(A free translation of Maja Rohwetters text for Axel Obiger)
“Oh what a gregarious joy, such an evil pleasure
A sight for the sore eyes and honey for the restless ears
Oh what a reminder of the endless depths of empathy
that the true blue human soul can reach and master
There were where, and here we met – again and again.
Like strangers, but not in solitude – and never alone.
Passers by linked in urban anthropology of the near
and no, no fear, no fear – stay back, stay back
Oh dear, how I long for those tenuous moments
those everyday monuments of useless aggression
Oh my how I manage to miss that celebration of misunderstandings
a clash and a collision that always promises another turn, another rerun
Its rhyme, rhythm and repetition
Its rhyme, rhythm and repetition
Humanity reduced to a function that no longer matters
The unintended parody of the cruelest kind,
disasters derailed and deliriously diluted
so graceless and lame, like those tears in rain – in vain
A moment of desired glory where and when
we all join in the chorus and we sing along:
happy as a has-been horse we are,
happy as a has-been horse we are”
The project was funded by:
Axel Obiger, Frame – Contemporary Art Finland, Art Promotion Center Finland, Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland