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Ben van Berkel & the Theatre of Immanence - Portikus, Frankfurt am Main
Start Date 25/11/2007
End Date 13/01/2008
Location Main 
Country Germany 
Description Exhibition opening: 24 November 2007, 8 p.m.
Duration: 25 November 2007– 13 January 2008
Press conference: 22 November, 2 p.m.

Ben van Berkel & the Theatre of Immanence is a combined art and architectural exhibition wherein the different parts in the exhibition are synthesised into a complete whole. The exhibition stages a theatre or space of communication: communication between the visitors and the exhibited works, between the virtual and the real, between the different visitors in the gallery and between the different parts in the exhibition. Throughout its period, the architectural installation will serve as a hub for various events including lectures, art performances, and hosted talks with invited guests, DJ-sessions that are to be broadcast and more.

The architectural installation, entitled “The Thing”, is designed by Städelschule professor for architecture Ben van Berkel together with Prof. Johan Bettum and Luis Etchegorry. The Frankfurt-based design-groups MESO Web Scapes and MESO Digital Interiors have developed a projection work that elaborates on the installation by dynamically embellishing it with moving images and thereby activating its surfaces. The projection work, "On Things Off Things On", is a case study in augmented architecture. It is an attempt to create a reactive surface of extraordinary spatial complexity. The installation, The Thing, consists of an upper and a lower level. The upper level serves as a form of theatre and the lower level as a more traditional exhibition space. The two levels are separated by a volumetric surface which is perforated by open holes. These holes serve to connect the two areas visually and audibly. On the lower level, the exhibition presents a group of works by artists and architects who have participated in the one-year long experimental project, entitled the Space of Communication, a project by the Städelschule Architecture Class (SAC). This project has been generously supported and hosted by Deutsche Telekom.

The exhibiting participants in this project are the architects Asterios Agkathidis, Brennan Buck & Igor Kebel, , Holger Hoffmann, Jonas Runberger and Gabi Schillig and the artists, Florencia Colombo and Dani Gal.

The synthesis of the architectural installation and the light projections is present in the Internet via inter-active, live feeds at the address, Journal 3 is the last of three Internet-Journals that are presented by the project group in the project, the Space of Communication. Journal 3 has been developed by MESO Web Scapes.

‘The Theatre of Immanence is a project with a multidisciplinary character; an interchange between ideas, theories, and communications of artists, architects and a cultural theorist. This Theatre is about a continuous world of emerging realities. The interplay between individual artists’ work and ‘The Thing’ reflects a worlds-in-worlds condition, where times, lives and cultures overlap. Yet the Theatre is not a cultural representation: what it does is produce concepts, reflections, and expressions.’

The exhibition Ben van Berkel & the Theatre of Immanence marks the end of the one-year long exploratory project the Space of Communication which has consisted of a group of international artists and architects investigating various aspects of the contemporary conditions for social interaction and communication. The exhibition aims to present the artistic and architectural results of this project to the public. While some of the projects inherently engage with new electronic technology, some take it for granted and others merely reflect upon it in a distant fashion. Common to all the projects is that they address the social and inter-relational aspects of communication or spaces of communication. In this manner the projects insist on the relevance of art and architecture to which new technology can only add but not change the basic missions or functions. Needless to say, the emergence and current ubiquity of electronic media have had a revolutionary influence on the nature of spaces of communication. Even today, the electronic and digital technologies continue to change the conditions in which we relate and communicate with one another. These facts underlie the existence of the project, the Space of Communication, and it has been developed with a keen interest in the many relevant historical and contemporary achievements within the arts and architecture. The investigations in the Space of Communication have been undertaken in an ongoing discussion conducted through a series of seminars, Internet-exchanges and in project development efforts. The investigations have been guided by a series of invited specialists, first and foremost professor and architectural theorist, Sanford Kwinter (Rice University, Houston), and artist and professor Peter Hagdahl (Royal Academy of Arts, Stockholm).

Events program on the opening-day Saturday, 24 November 2007

- Round table with Ben van Berkel, Sanford Kwinter, Daniel Birnbaum & Peter Hagdahl, 3 p.m.
- Lecture by Sanford Kwinter, 5 p.m.
- Exhibition opening, 8 p.m.
- with a live performance by Dani Gal & Achim Lengerer
For the upcoming events program, please see:
A catalogue will be published in early 2008 to accompany the exhibition. For further information and guided tours, please write to:

The exhibition and the previous project the Space of Communication have received generous support from Deutsche Telekom. We would like also to thank for the generous support of Vitra, the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Heinz und Gisela Friederichs Stiftung.

For further informations click on the link below.


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