In the spring of 2018, District Berlin has launched D’EST: A Multi-Curatorial Online Platform for Video Art from the Former ‘East’ and ‘West’, which will be accessible online until the end of 2020. The project first opened with a prolog entitled O’ Mystical East and West hosted in the autumn of 2016. Initiated by cultural studies scholar Ulrike Gerhardt, the curatorial research summit will kick off to a new start in April through an open-access framework. Between June and December 2018, the online platform will publish a total of six screening chapters reflecting the post-socialist transformation. Their thematic focal points delineate post-socialism along post-geographic, horizontal, and gender-critical perspectives. In collaboration with fifteen curators, fifty artists, and other cultural experts, D’EST maps out artistic forms of historiography, especially from the perspective of female and collective production.
Questions about the significance of the phase of post-socialist transformation for today’s Pan-European or even global condition have met with unsatisfactory answers. The title D’EST (eng: From the East) borrows from the eponymous 1993 work of recently deceased film-maker Chantal Akerman (1950—2015). In From the East’s sensitive, cinematic travelog of transformation, the artist – the daughter of survivors of the Holocaust in Poland – captures emblematic images of people waiting in a moment of hiatus just after the end of the Cold War. In the six curated screening chapters, the artists here deal with time, language, and semantics, corpo-fictionality and urban rejuvenation practices, indexical reading exercises, retro-utopia and post-genetic families of choice. The curators responsible for the project include Kathrin Becker, Eva Birkenstock, Miona Bogović, Ulrike Gerhardt, Naomi Hennig, Suza Husse, Nataša Ilić, Bettina Knaup, Katja Kobolt, Inga Lāce, Suzana Milevska, Xandra Popescu, Jana Seehusen, Creative Association of Curators TOK (Anna Bitkina & Maria Veits), and Jelena Vesić.
On five separate release dates in 2018 – in June, September, October, November and December – the platform will introduce six screening chapters in collaboration with each of the respective partner institutions in Germany (Düsseldorf), Russia (Moscow), Poland (Poznań) and at DISTRICT Berlin. The day after D’EST has shown the screening chapters publicly, the respective video works and curatorial texts will be accessible online on the video art platform. These online launches take place in association with several online-magazines and blogs which accompany the chapters.
All video works in the chapters D’EST Prolog: O’Mystical East and West, The Suspension and Excess of Time (#1) as well as Performing Words, Uttering Performance (#2) and their accompanying texts are already accessible. Programmed by Modem Studio, the website serves as an artistic space, research tool, and information resource for art connoisseurs, institutionally based and freelance curators, artists, historians, journalists, and critics. To be able to see all content available on the website, visitors will first have to register with the site.
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D’EST: A Multi-Curatorial Online Platform for Video Art from the Former ‘East’ and ‘West’ is a project initiated by Ulrike Gerhardt with DISTRICT Berlin. D’EST is also hosted in cooperation with the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), the Goethe Institute Moscow, the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Filmwerkstatt Düsseldorf, the Galeria Miejska Arsenał, Poznań, and the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein Video-Forum. This project was made possible through the generous support of the Senate Chancellery Berlin – Department of Culture.