Welcome to AIR Berlin Alexanderplatz, a research-focused, artist-run initiative, founded by Susanne Kriemann and Aleksander Komarov in 2009. We seek to foster community, creativity and dialogue within the constantly evolving environment of Berlin’s art scene. ABA itself is an organism that thrives on the communication of new ideas. Whether you are joining us as a researcher-in-residence, as an attendee of our frequently held salons, or as a reader of one of the many publications produced by residents in the course of their ABA stay, your attention is already a contribution to the development of ABA as a safe, cooperative space where artists, curators, designers, theorists—and anyone who is interested—can come together in support of each other’s endeavours.
Conducting fieldwork, delving into archives, drawing parallels, testing hypotheses, creating photographic documentation and compiling new “findings” have all become integral parts of the contemporary term “artistic research”—defined by Mika Hannula as “methodological abundance” which sets itself apart from traditional scientific methodologies. The very idea of artistic research has prompted theorists such as Paul Feyerabend (Against Method) and Bruno Latour (Laboratory Life: The Social Construction of Scientific Facts) to call static notions of “method” and “fact” into question, giving subjective, interdisciplinary and experimental approaches to research particular relevance.
At ABA, we have set out to investigate how “artistic research” has become increasingly engaged with fields of knowledge that lie beyond what has traditionally been considered the “artistic sphere.” Through our salons and residency program, we explore the possibilities of collective processes of gathering and mediating knowledge. ABA offers residences to researchers from Switzerland (through Pro Helvetica), The Netherlands (Mondriaansfonds) and Belgium (Kunstenenerfgoed) and serves as a living space, production studio and meeting point for residents and their extended communities.
Today, when the majority of communication is done online, often between people who will never meet and always with the threat of being monitored, ABA strives to create spaces where people can freely express their ideas in a comfortable, aesthetically stimulating environment. At ABA, residents are encouraged to present their projects in the form of a salon, so that there is always a jumping off point from which discussion can unfold. People who have moved to Berlin from abroad to find their place in Berlin’s art world are brought together with more established members of Berlin’s art community, providing a democratic space where ideas, new projects, politics, urbanization, theory, etc. can be discussed face-to-face. The border between the public and private spheres is blurred as like-minded strangers are invited into the living rooms of our Berlin apartments, where history is already pressing in from all angles.