With one week past and one more to go, artist Agustina Woodgate and curator Anthony Spinello from Miami, collaborators George Scheer, Stephanie Sherman, and Chris Lineberry from Elsewhere in NC, and scientist Dan Margulies of The Neuro Bureau Berlin, are in the throes of an ArtMatters research project in an abandoned amusement park. Miami based Spinello and Woodgate have been collaborators with Elsewhere artists since Woodgate’s residency last fall at the thrift-store turned living museum. The group shares an interest in cultural imaginaries, the poetics of abandoned spaces, process-based productions, and artist communities that foster creative collaborations and public exchanges. Since last Thursday, they’ve been investigating the politics, poetics, and possibilities of a former GDR amusement park located within the sprawling Treptow Park in East Berlin. The artists from Elsewhere knew of the park from a 2007 trip, when they hopped the fence (a rite of passage for Berliners and tourists alike) and discovered a wonder world of trees growing through the center of Roller coasters, graffitied gangs of land-locked swan boats, toppled dinosaurs, and suspended amusement.
A giant Ferris wheel looms over the park.
A moss covered lake beneath the Ferris wheel.
Artist Agustina Woodgate gets her brain scanned at the Max Plank Institute For Human Development.
No official information exists regarding current access to the park, so the group started by casing the park perimeter. Many of the rides and attractions, including the park’s iconic Ferris wheel, sinister looking Roller coasters, partly operating spinning teacups, circus tents, more-than-extinct dinosaurs, and head-shaped cars, are visible through the metal fence. The group came across a security guard, EMGE, who offered a private tour of the park. On the tour, they befriended the guard, who, with his dog Basko, keeps out daily fence hoppers, protecting the privacy of Mr. Witte, now living amongst the abandoned rides.
The artists on the Quik Cup spinning tea cup ride, which is still manually operable.
The Spreepark crew (pictured from left: Agustina Woodgate, George Scheer, Chris Lineberry, Anthony Spinello, and Stephanie Sherman) at Kunst-Werke Berlin Institute for Contemporary Art.
Dinosaurs from another era.
The former Tempelhof airport is now a sprawling public park.
Spreeblitz coaster parked interminably in its dock.
This post was contributed by Stephanie Sherman with collaborators Anthony Spinello, Chris Lineberry, Agustina Woodgate, and George Scheer.