Heidelberger Kunstverein

Städte als Erlebnisräume

This year's exhibition at the Heidelberger Kunstverein is once again dedicated to a topical theme: cities as living spaces and as spaces of coexistence. Cities are seismographs of social life and of its manifold forms. In times of radical change, they become the setting of social upheaval.

The artistic contributions take a look at different cities, depicting them primarily from the perspective of the bodies that move within them. They consider cities as places of political confrontation, as spaces of cultural diversity, also with regard to racism, class and gender. They show cities befallen by disasters and increasing violence. They examine cities in order to evaluate hidden layers of memory and the effects of digital transformation.

But the exhibition wishes not only to be a space for experience, but also a place for exchange with residents of the city. Together with the International Building Exhibition Heidelberg, the Heidelberger Kunstverein is hosting several 'roundtables': during shared meals held in the exhibition, experts will give topical lectures, which will serve as basis for the ensuing discussion and further development of the topics.
Film program curated by Maya Schweizer and Ursula Schöndeling.

  • Opening October 11th, 7pm
  • Exhibition open between October 11th, 2021 and January 30th, 2022.
  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays 11am – 6pm
  • Thursdays 11am – 8pm
  • Fridays thru Sundays 11am – 6pm
  • admission fee 4 Euros, reduced price 2 Euros for club members and festival pass holders

Participating film projects:

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

In ›70.001‹ (2019, 16 min), Clemens von Wedemeyers simulates the Monday demonstrations of 1989/90 in the virtual Leipzig of today. Shouting "We are the people", the demonstrators demanded rights to freedom in the GDR. Still today, the slogan and the narrative of the Monday demonstrations are used by various political protest movements for their own purposes. In '70.001', the mass of demonstrators consists of so-called digital agents, whose number increases continuously through algorithms. The animation is accompanied by original recordings of interviews with witnesses from the time. As a contemporary reflection, the film examines the representation and formation of groups, the power of the masses and how algorithms exert control over people.

© Johanna Billing

For ›In Purple‹ (2019, 12 min), Johanna Billing and a group of dancers from Råslätt, Sweden, develop a choreographed walk through the suburban settlement where Billing grew up. Råslätt was built in the 1970s as part of a large-scale construction program. There, fields for sports that have male connotations dominate the public space. The young dancers belong to a dance school that has been run voluntarily for decades, originally founded by local residents in a basement in response to the lack of recreational opportunities for young women. The choreography, filmed in the outdoor space, shows the women carrying plates of colored tinted glass. The fragility of the plates and the impracticality of handling them become the symbol of a collective action.

© Loretta Fahrenholz

Loretta Fahrenholz’s ›Ditch Plains‹ (2013, 30 min) was shot in New York around the time of Hurricane Sandy. The film juxtaposes documentary footage of the natural disaster, filmed in the Far Rockaway neighborhood, with a series of scenes that the artist developed in Brooklyn with the New York street dance crew 'Ringmasters'. While the footage of the disaster area describes a real-life state of emergency, the dancers improvise sequences in nocturnal streets, hotel hallways, and a fancy apartment that evoke raid and search operations, as well as menacing man/machine interfaces. The dance scenes were created in direct dialog with the camera technology. Distortions or speed changes are not the result of post-production, but of the dance style ‘bone-breaking’ (a subset of ‘flexing’). The characteristic performances consist of movements that seem to spell out digital sequences. 'Ditch Plains' thus uses myriad citations, ranging from disaster movies and street dance battles to virtual computer games, which are linked to real experiences in a time of permanent crisis.


Maya Schweizer's ›Voice and Shells‹ (2020, 18 min) is a cinematic exploration of the traces of National Socialism in Munich. The collage of found footage and new footage, shot by the author, navigates between historical citations, searching for traces and city history. In doing so, it seeks out the sediments of history. Starting with the canal system, Schweizer shows façades of central Nazi buildings such as the Haus der Kunst or the Feldherrnhalle. The motif of the slinky holds the chain of visual associations together, becoming a cinematographic object that brings interior and exterior views in dialogue with one another. 'Voice and Shells' links spaces and times to render (immaterial) history and the fragility of memories visible.