My internship with Teena Lange from Grüntaler 9, March 5th - 13th 2017
The space is an ever evolving performance space, only able to be altered during a performance. The images above show the space as it was when i arrived, the words being traces from a performance the week previous. Some of the traces are covered quickly and some will remain for a considerable length of time as each performer has different needs and goes into the space understanding the methods by which it can be changed. The space also has two large shopfront windows, changing the dynamics of public and private as everything that happens in the space is ultimately linked to the goings on on the street outside. While I was there for meetings it was not uncommon for people who know the space to walk past and wave through the glass to Teena or others in the space, and sometimes were invited in for tea and biscuits and a chat even if we were working. The space is truly a communal one and makes a point of being open to whoever needs to be in there at whichever time.
During the week I shadowed Teena on her everyday tasks and meetings. I learnt to screenprint and printed a run of tote bags at SDW Neukölln, shadowed a meeting with the head of the Uferstudios about an arts festival they are putting on called Ausufern and spoke about Grüntaler's role as a venue when it comes to hosting events as part of the programme, and went to a talk about women in the music industry which I found incredibly personally engaging as I am a musician and feminist as well as an artist. I also went to the Hamburger Banhof on recommendation of Teena and especially enjoyed the Adrian Piper performance piece, and was very excited to see Joseph Beuys' work in person. I learnt a lot about the process for proposing ideas to larger institutions and venues and gained a lot of confidence when it comes to setting up events and proposals.
On my last night in Berlin I was invited to an evening of performance art called 3am Spring Sprouts which was being attended and performed at by members of APA-B (Association of Performance Artists - Berlin) which is the association Teena founded and runs from Grüntaler. This experience was incredibly engaging for me and also showed me a way of organising which had not crossed my mind before. As I am someone with aspirations towards organising my own events and performances (and have already done so in the past) seeing an event set up like this was an immensely valuable experience and has set in motion many plans to do something similar in London.
I decided to take part in this opportunity because I wanted to work with someone already doing what I aspire to do in the arts, which is run a space and facilitate the art of others alongside my own artistic practice. I chose to work with Teena on the recommendation of one of my course tutors and I am incredibly thankful for being put in touch with her as this experience has proven to be incredibly valuable to me. In addition to this I have a longstanding fascination with Berlin and several friends who live there so I was overjoyed at the opportunity to spend more time there. This experience has affirmed for me that choosing to follow the path I am on is a viable option, and has given me insight into the workings of a professional and successful organisation of artists who are productive and a real community. I would advise other students looking to follow this opportunity or others which are available to them to truly follow their heart and find the placement which is right for them and most aligns with their long term goals, because this way you can get real world experience at living the life you wish to lead.