Thanks to the spring, I started my work at Aedes in amazing days of April. Everything started perfect except the accommodation problem; searching for a flat in Berlin is not an easy task at all and I recommend future fellows who aim to come to this city to take care of this point.
Having five months cooperation with Aedes Architecture Forum in Berlin had different outcomes for me. I learned about the networking methodologies in realm of art and culture, and also got familiar with the latest trends in fund raising for a non-profit exhibition. One of the most important aspects of managing such great international institutes like Aedes was the attention to the Archive, the archives which encompassed 35 years of institute’s activity; I learned how to organize the raw materials for having a live and accessible archive and how it can lead to absorb new possible cooperation for the institute. Working with the main curator enabled me to know how to get benefits of different abilities of different members of the team for holding an exhibition.
As all the exhibition in Aedes was related to urban issues and architecture, the realization of concepts had to be translated to architectural discourse in which precise and structured installation of the works in space and in a meaningful way demanded. I learned from the curator how to consider the audience who should experience a new space in gallery and how to predict his/her movements and thoughts in the space in order to make a general first understanding which can lead to the further interpretations. From the tags for works to the heights of screens or frames hang on the wall, from the size of stands for sculptures or maquettes to the intensity of light on the works, all were becoming measured with computer programs and in consultancy with experts and engineers. By the way I became sure that it is impossible to learn all the trends and methods for holding professional exhibitions, but the art of curator is in managing how to appoint and use the different abilities of specialized professions to advance the realization of the exhibition.
So I had the chance to know many other institutes in Berlin who were helping our institute to hold its exhibitions. The legal contracts and the management of the procedure were all new to me as a foreigner in Berlin who doesn’t know the law. There were photo and 3D print offices, there were logistic companies specially founded for transfer of special kinds of artworks, and it was far from my imagination how professions scrutinized and who they are working more and more on details precisely.
I developed also the skill how to keep the permanent contacts with your audiences through sending and sharing updates in social media networks or sending emails and newsletters from your website. Another very useful technic I progressed from the curator was how to write a text for the concept of an exhibition or for a newsletter. Again I must say, although there were some simple points, but they were absolutely necessary and basic to have a well-structured text which normally not being paid enough attention to in many galleries.
As we went further the circle of my connection was becoming more expanded and expanded and I had this fortune to get to know the amazing art & architecture group "Realities-united" whom introduced by Aedes to me. Having same concerns in issues like urban transformation in post-industrial cities, we had several meetings and it led us to a common project which I can count as the result of my project. There were also an artist collective team “KUNSTreREPUBLIC” and a great artist Lukas Feireis who are involved in this project entitled "Cell" which would be held 2016 in my country, Iran and it consists of series of residencies and a final group exhibition of the artists and architects who would experience their first presence in Tehran.
Before leaving Berlin, and having this chance to meet many curators and art teachers in Berlin, I succeeded to get permission of having my project "Tehran Urban Hegemony’s" first exhibition in ZKU (Zentrum for Kunst und Urbanistik). After getting self-confident by the instructions acquired during my project with Aedes, now I feel I can apply what I got during these five months in my own exhibition as the main curator. A great project consists of film screening, book release, exhibition and also curator talk which are being held in cooperation with Kunsthochschule Weissensee Berlin and other international partners.
I am also thankful of my colleagues in Aedes who has introduced me how to get advantages of art resources in Berlin. Kunstbibliothek was a real treasure and I spent many hours there reading and seeing updated and newly published art books and magazines. The institute Aedes itself had a great resource of catalogs and architecture and urban design books which helped me to know different discourses in these realms.
After around five months of intense work I feel I used to live in Berlin as practitioner in the realm of Art. I used to the wonderful opening evenings in museums and galleries which were super difficult to choose among them. I used to the open and happy public space of Berlin which led me to think of new possible kinds of social interaction among citizens of a city. I used to see always for new horizons, new solutions, and new procedures. I used to not getting despaired, and try hard to reach your goal in a competitive but healthy atmosphere. I used to being accompanied by people who were kind and did their best to connect me to other professional and kind experts. I used to grow up, used to achieve and accomplish more and more. I used to go to my German language school every early morning to fight with the hardship of making correct German sentences. I used to the public transportation system which is spread all around the city. I used to the smiles of old women in metro who were awkwardly asking me where I am from. I used to another form of living which I could experience only in Berlin, the city of culture and art.
Alireza Labeshka, April – September 2015, Aedes Forum, Berlin