A Change of Perspective
For 14 years now, 48 Stunde Neukölln has been a visible presence in the hub of cultural activity that is northern Neukölln. All the while, changes in the neighbourhood has had significant impact on life in the area; these changes have served as the impetus for this year's festival theme.
People from an estimated160 different countries live and work here in very close quarters. A wide range of cultures, religions and philosophies of life come face to face with each other here without the famed clash of cultures actually coming to a head.
Although northern Neukölln now enjoys the status of being a 'cult' location and myriads of people have begun to overcome any fears they once had of the area or just become curious about it and decided to discover what this once-disreputable district has to offer or even relocate here, many of the problems that have raged here for a long time (poverty, unemployment, deficits in education opportunities) remain virulent. Neukölln is still an exciting place because of the visible contrasts that define the district as a 'laboratory' for observing societal change.
In this light, our annual festival theme for 2013 is “A Change of Perspective!“, examines the confrontation between the manifold realities in which the denizens of Neukölln find themselves: by focussing on this issue, we will expand people's monocultural, monocausal perceptions of the area.
“A Change of Perspective!“ deals with human being's capacity to imagine how others think, to perceive their surroundings and formulate opinions, then acting on these for a particular period. The theme poses a challenge to artists as well as visitors to go beyond their limited “me-here-now-position“ and consider other perspectives. Perhaps this will provide insights into situations that one would never have considered under other circumstances?
A wide range of perspectives can be compared; the result is a multifarious vantage point, which is the basic goal of this year's festival. Only when one is able to consider other situations and other people's perspectives can one imagine how another group and people in other stages in life behave, then enabling social or artistic activity beyond the supposed hegemony of there not being an alternative to the status quo.
“A Change of Perspective!“ offers the possibility of shifting how we perceive our realities, thereby toying with strategies such as subsurface migration, irritations and a shifting of legal constraints. Other cultures are often described as being hermetically sealed, supposedly incontestable systems. When these meet, commonalities often are rarely highlighted; on the contrary, differences get attention and talk of a clash is rampant. At this meeting of the twains through art/culture, opportunities present themselves to engage in intercultural discourse, articulating the fact that there are common denominators between any group of humans. The idea is to have this articulated through development of art. One of the most crucial, most basic tenants of the notion of changing perspective is the affirmation of heterogeneity. That which characterises difference is ever present, generally positive and enriching/improving the quality of life.
We challenge participating artists to portray their notion of an urban, intercultural existence that is constantly coping with societal flux, thereby helping visitors as well as residents to see other ways of looking at the world through artistic processes, making them more aware of different interpretations and positions, which can, ideally be incorporated into their creative endeavours, providing access to all manner of perspectives.