silent green Kulturquartier
The silent green: a new event venue and an independent project shaped by the biographies and interests of all involved parties, which has found a unique home in the historic premises of the Wedding Crematorium in Berlin.
Privately owned, silent green sees itself as a protected space for thinking, research and experimentation. Transformation is one of the key words guiding this endeavour, not only with regard to the new function of this listed building, but also in terms of work that transcends various forms: the intention is to move the boundaries of individual disciplines so that they can be interlinked in new, hybrid forms. Transformation is also found in the surrounding environment: as a venue, we culturally and politically position ourselves in Berlin, a transformative place for living and working and a nodal point in East and West German history. Aspects of aesthetic, contemporary and sociopolitical change will accompany our programme.
A conceptual questioning and addressing of artistic and cultural production, presentation and participation is planned, both in stand-alone projects and in the form of collaborations with various institutions and partners. This should facilitate the emergence of a place for intersecting encounters, in which networks and communicative spaces can develop between practice and theory, research and application. The building’s assemblage of tenants should be seen in this light, as it brings together key Berlin actors with a focus on music and moving images, with institutions like the Musicboard Berlin, !K7 Records, headquarter entertainment, the Harun Farocki Foundation (currently being established) and the public film archive of the Arsenal-Institute for Film and Video Art. In addition, from 2016 onwards, silent green will also be one of the venues for the Berlin Film Festival’s Forum Expanded.
These priorities – on the basis of which the venue is to become a permanent venue for events in the coming months and years – have also emerged from the experiences and backgrounds of silent green’s team members. In this vein, CEO and initiator Jörg Heitmann and his partner Bettina Ellerkamp were already founding members of the interdisciplinary cultural association BOTSCHAFT e.V. in Berlin in the 1990s. Between 1991 and 1999, they produced documentary formats under the “dogfilm” label and continued to pursue their own film projects under the “homeproductions” label. Jörg Heitmann has also been active as a project developer for many years and Bettina Ellerkamp is co-initiator of the Werkleitz PMMC (Professional Media Master Class) in Halle. Likewise, Constance Hahn, Hannah Osenberg, Linda Winkler, Viola Schmidt, Merlind David and Nina Rüb have backgrounds in film-making and cultural theory; among other things, they have worked in the fields of direction and production, for film festivals and in media education projects. The former employee Jutta von Zitzewitz, art historian and freelance author, has written an extensive catalogue on the transformation from Krematorium zum Kulturquartier, which will soon also be available in English.
Lastly, the building’s spatial characteristics also play an influential role: the Cupola, which was once the mourning hall, is the centre of this period building and is predestined for concerts, in particular when unplugged formats are combined with the atmospheric intimacy of the space to create an acoustic and visual experience. The Underground hall stands in architectural contrast to this. In the next two years, this modern underground building will be redeveloped as an exhibition space for motion picture art, and it will primarily devote itself to the forms and edges of documentary storytelling. Besides the Cupola and the Underground Hall, silent green also houses the Cube, which has three areas for seminars and lectures as well as bodywork such as yoga, Pilates, shiatsu, etc. In the in-house restaurant with adjoining garden, lunch, coffee & sweet treats are served by the silent green Kitchen & Bar team, everyday from 12–18pm.