Credit: Timo Ohler

The legendary nightclub Berghain in Berlin, Germany has been closed for some time due to COVID. So, in the meantime they’ve turned the club into an art exhibition celebrating the city’s wetland origins, dubbed Berl-Berl.

Danish creative, Jakob Kudsk Steensen, is responsible for bringing this exhibition to life. It’s a tribute to Berlin’s origin as a wetland before it was drained in the 1700s.

So that’s the focus and the exhibition itself takes up two floors which showcase Steensen’s research of what remains of the wetlands. What he’s done is use photogrammetry, which takes hundreds, maybe even thousands, of images of one object/subject. He then uses this to create a 3D visual experience in the Unreal Engine.

Steensen said of Berl-Berl, “[it’s] a song for the swamp, a place for the undefinable – morphing, liminal and mystical. Berl-Berl mourns what is lost and embraces what is new.”

To provide a little bit of mood, a soundscape has been created by audio artist Matt McCorkle and Venezuelan singer Arca. You might be wondering, “Why would a wetland need music?” Well apparently, songs and music were a large part of ancient wetland culture and it doubled up as a way to navigate the area and to share mythologies and stories.

The official exhibit description reads,

“Berl-Berl is not only an image of the wetlands – it holds the memories of its past mythologies. Before it was drained, this saturated landscape proved ideal for the settlement of Slavic communities. This history, notably Sorbian folklore, permeates the work’s narrative wherein a Triglav (a deity) appears as a great tree.”

“The artist connects the mythology of this three-headed deity representing three dimensions of Slavic cosmology – Prav (Heaven), Yav (Earth), Nav (Underworld) – to his understanding of the swamp. In Berl-Berl, the ecology is also a Triglav… it moves from undergrowth and fungi to water, leaves, and trees and sky – an entire, holistic landscape.”

It certainly looks like it will provide a unique experience and it is certainly a departure from the nightclub it was before and will (probably) be again. For the time being at least, the exhibition will be taking place of the nightclub until September 26 2021.

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