Representing Germany - within the context of Performing Architecture, a programme of Goethe-Institut on the occasion of La Biennale di Venezia. 

“Performing Architecture” is the name of the accompanying programme of Goethe-Institut at the 15th International Architecture Biennale in Venice. The programme series is closely linked to this year’s exhibition in the German Pavilion entitled “Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country”. How does a multicultural society change a city? How do people with diverse cultural, religious, social and political backgrounds encounter one another and how can they all make a city their shared home?

Photo © Christian Bartsch

This year the focal point of “Performing Architecture” is a project by the theatre-makers Björn Bicker, Malte Jelden and Michael Graessner, who have been working for many years at the interfaces of art, politics and social practice. For “The Veddel Embassy: Representing Germany” they will be bringing the migratory, multicultural reality of the Hamburg district of Veddel to Venice: some 60 inhabitants of Veddel will come to Venice for a week and open “The Veddel Embassy” in the Chiesa della Misericordia. The Embassy is place of encounter – with the local population as well as with the Biennale’s international guests. In the context of diverse projects - such as the Language Café Nova, the Intercommunal Orchestra or a newly established Travel Agent’s that organises excursions to multicultural Venice - the issues being addressed on a theoretical and conceptual level at the Biennale are actually experienced under the guidance of the residents of Veddel. The message is as clear as it is complicated: Germany is an immigration land and it is necessary to organise the needs of the various minorities (religious, ethnic, sexual etc.) fairly and peacefully. 

Veddel, the small island in the river Elbe, is situated only two stops away from Hamburg Central Station. Almost 5,000 people live here. In times past, German emigrants set off from here for overseas, now it is the arrival quarter: all migration movements of the last 70 years have passed through this district, immigrants from over sixty different countries have been living here for generations in peaceful co-existence. Many ethnic and religious European minorities encounter one another in this quarter and form a new society. Yet the social injustice of the globalised world is also evident on Veddel. Precarious living and working conditions make life difficult for the people here. On Veddel the future of Germany and of Europe is negotiated on a daily basis.

“The Veddel Embassy” invites everyone to become part of this process. The willingness of the Veddel residents to regard borders not as barriers but as flowing places of transition and of transference and to conceive of (cultural) differences as an enrichment and a chance will make the Veddel Embassy a place of bewildering and enlightening encounters.

Delving into the reality of life on Veddel conveys an idea of what the future holds for Germany as an immigration country. The residents present their projects, their ideas, their ideals, their home in Venice and seek an exchange with both the international guests of the Architecture Biennale as well as with the multicultural citizens of Venice.

Partners: German Pavilion “Making Heimat. Germany Arrival Country”, Robert Bosch Stiftung, Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain, Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg 

18 - 22 October 2016
Tuesday – Friday: 12.00-3.00 pm and 6.00-10.00 pm, Saturday: 12:00 pm-12.00 am 
Chiesa della Misericordia, Campo de l’Abazia, 3550, Venezia, Italien

Source: press release

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