Monday, 9 June 2008

The Open Dialogues Live Review was held on Saturday 7th June.

Open Dialogues: Live Review. 7th June 2008
Choriner Str, 85/ Berlin Mitte. Photo: Christina Irrgang
l - r: Doreen Mende, Martin Rosengaard, Rachel Lois Clapham, Mary Paterson

The Live Review came slap bang in the middle of Open Dialogues: New Life Berlin, which is a two-week writing programme taking place as part of the New Life Berlin festival of participatory art. Open Dialogues: New Life Berlin brings together 20 international writers to write about the festival on the project’s blog (, in self-generated, fast turnaround printed publications (‘Issue One’ was published on 7th June), and through a series of workshops, discussions and debates. For the past week, the writers have been swarming across the city - meeting artists, getting involved, becoming participants in artistic projects, and publishing their thoughts.

The Live Review was a public event and an attempt to discuss, evaluate and showcase the Open Dialogues: New Life Berlin model, and to ask some difficult questions about how critical writing works in relation to participatory art.

Guest speakers included Cartographer 1, from ‘30 Days of New Life Berlin’, a project that sets out to map the cultural life of Berlin; Tatjana Fell and Lisa Glauer from Arttransponder, a Berlin- based non-profit collaboration that supports artistic production that reflects on its broader context; Doreen Mende, speaking as one of the co-founders of General Public, a Berlin-based network of artists and arts professionals that organises irregular cultural events; and Martin Rosengaard and Sixten Kai Neilsen, who spoke on behalf of Wooloo Productions, the organisation behind New Life Berlin itself.

There was some heated debate about the definition of terms – What is a critic? What is an artist? What is the point of definition at all? – and questions about the power of the written word, the ethics of using national languages, and the role of criticism in relation to the practice and production of art.

There will be more room for my reflections later. But first., Open Dialogues: New Life Berlin writers will be airing their views on our New Life Berlin blog:

Open Dialogues: New Life Berlin programme
31st May, 10.30am – 5.30pm Writers’ Workshop
2nd June, 2.30pm – 5.30pm Writers’ Meeting
5th June, 5pm – 7pm Peer Critique
7th June, 5pm – 7pm Live Review
12th June, 5pm – 7pm Peer Critique
15th June, 11am - 1pm Plenary Session


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