Text by CLOT Magazine
Berl-Berl is a live and virtual experience. From 10 July to 26 September, visitors will experience a journey through a virtual swamp that covers Berlin’s Halle am Berghain. The immersive world will be accessible on berlberl.world. Curated by guest curator Emma Enderby and commissioned by LAS, Berl-Berl is Jakob Kudsk Steensen‘s first major solo exhibition in continental Europe. Berl-Berl will transform Halle am Berghain into a vast, immersive installation of natural worlds, presenting a combination of Berlin’s wetlands, its species and ancient swamp mythologies.
The installation comprises large-scale LED screens and a custom-built sound system connected to a virtual environment simulation. The imagery will evolve and morph from the hyper-realistic to the fantastical and futuristic as one moves through Halle am Berghain.
Artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen works at the vanguard of art and technology, utilising photography and gaming platforms to create immersive, three-dimensional worlds directly related to our natural world. His works range from immersive VR ecosystems to mixed reality installations bridging physical and digital worlds, inviting audiences to enter new ecological realities.
In Berl-Berl, Steensen combines technology with human language and sound landscape. He spent months researching the remaining wetlands of Berlin-Brandenburg, creating an archive of images using a method of macro photogrammetry in which he takes hundreds of images of a single object, such as a leaf or patch of mud.
In collaboration with musician Arca and sound artist Matt McCorkle, a site-specific soundscape combines archival recordings of wetlands —recorded in Berlin between the 1960s and today—with samples of Arca’s voice and spoken examples of Berlin’s various names that have been called over the centuries. In addition, the digital world will host a live performance of Arca, which she will enter and interact with as an avatar.
Berl-Berl is a song and an organ for swamps, mourning the lost and embracing the new (being in the moment of transition), reviving wetland sensibilities and perspectives, making people appreciate the complexities and beauties of swamps around Berlin. Says Jakob Kudsk Steensen about the installation.