Based on the Torah mappah, a Jewish ritual object, sideviews collaborated with schoolchildren to develop a performative exhibition in the Jewish Museum Berlin on the themes of identity, community, love, gender and migration. Prompted by the questions “Who am I?” and “What aspirations do my parents have for me and how do I want to live?” the children sought their own formats for a narrative in the museum.
The result is an interactive game of life accompanying a jointly devised pop-up exhibition. Visitors were invited to grapple with changes in perspective and anomalous biographies.
In November 2018, the game was integrated into the program accompanying the exhibition “A as in Jewish” in the Jewish Museum Berlin and also invited to the Children’s Biennale in Dresden in February 2019.
In the Jewish Museum Berlin, the debate about the crisis of the museum as an institution has been going on for some time. sideviews was invited to take this debate as a starting point for a performative project with prospective young visitors. After researching the museum architecture with VOIDS, VOIDS.MuseumVerLernen takes a step further: the museum as a whole is analyzed creatively (from curatorship to communication structures, from security to production) in order to understand which type of relationship the institution offers both to its community and to its visitors.
Based on the statements that 8th grade pupils of the Refik Veseli School collected in audio interviews with employees, visitors and passers-by, the findings of this study was staged as a performance and symposium. 45 employees of the museum, including the director, came together for a discussion with thepupils about the opportunities and scope for involving young people in the development of a “museum for everyone”.
Taking the “Golem” exhibition in the Jewish Museum Berlin as a basis, this project broadens the spectrum of scope of the museum and its visitors. The Golem is a mythical creature from the Jewish Talmud that has fascinated Western cultures for centuries: human life created by man and capable of existing and manifesting itself in society.
The challenge was to recount this phenomenon by theatrical means without using the classical theatre form. Pupils were encouraged to construct a golem together based on their ideas and desires. Formally, they could use elements of theatrical language: the scene, the choir, the choreography, the stage design. The result was a specially developed theatre form, which itself was a golem, created from a shared imagination – a mixture of golem show and expert congress, interactive and improvised.
VOIDS proposes interactive formats for the museum concerning the architecture of the Libeskind building. A strategy is collectively developed establishing the perspective that an exhibition can also be an action in space. Accordingly, everything related to this action becomes an exhibition: the sounds, the contact with the visitors, one’s own images of the spaces.
The school pupils lead visitors through the Jewish Museum Berlin, discovering with them corners, floors and empty spaces playfully, sensually and poetically. They present the Jewish Museum with a new approach for visitors: a mixture of performance and interactive guidance, a staged museum experience by young people for young people and adults. The museum is not just a stage, but is transformed into an architectural journey.
As part of the five-year program “Cultural Agents for Creative Schools” established at the Refik Veseli School in Kreuzberg, Berlin, this project looked at the interface between the students, their own form of theatre and the museum as both a field of work and storage location for memory and identity. The starting point for this staging of space and action were two three-hour workshops in the Jewish Museum Berlin, attended by the class. The students then developed a theatrical, interactive tour of the school’s stage space, which was developed as part of the theatre project and opened to visitors at the end. The basis was the graphic novel “The Arrival” by Shaun Tan (published in German as “Ein neues Land”). A specially developed form of theatre was created in the classrooms, in which themes such as immigration, exile and foreignness were enacted collaboratively.
The theatre profile of the Refik-Veseli-School came into being between 2013 and 2019 as part of the cultural agents program for creative schools. Three theatre productions were developed each year over the three year period in cooperation with sideviews: with a 7th grade class over four weeks and with 8th and 9th grade classes over two weeks respectively. The students composed both the content and also their own form of theatre. Profiling started in 2013 with the pilot, “Why is it so hard to talk about love?”. Each topic was formulated in exchange with the teachers and worked out and developed together with the students, e.g. dealing with the name of the school.
The Labor für ZwischenRäume (laboratory for intermediate spaces) was created in 2016: sideviews, the Refik Veseli School theatre profile and the Jewish Museum Berlin (JMB) investigated the cooperation between school and museum. In different approaches, themes of the JMB, e.g. Golem, The Arrival and the Liebeskind architecture were explored through theatre, performance, choir, and installation and these processes were presented in an exhibition, a performance & choral tour, a walk-through stage space, a museum in the school, etc. A total of 17 productions were created as part of the theatre profile. The process is an example of the opportunity for cultural development within a school environment.