Annual programme 2023
Next autumn we’ll be infiltrating everyday urban life. For the conclusion of OFFENE WELTEN Berlin-based film maker Omer Fast will be creating a cross-city intervention for Hamburg, Hanover, Herford and Siegen. And our digital network will be taking a look at public infrastructures with the help of our INTERKIT culture app.
Now at the Kiosk
In its November issue, DER HAMBURGER has a piece profiling Ellen Blumenstein. The Popular section features people and projects that lend the city its face. Available to read exclusively in our Press Area.
EXHIBITIONS, PERFORMANCE, PODCAST
Facts & Figures
Initiated in 2017 by HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, the experimental cultural programme got underway with the appointment of Ellen Blumenstein as HafenCity Curator. Since 2018, we have been operating as IMAGINE THE CITY and are supported by the independent, non-profit association Kunst und Kultur in der HafenCity. So far we have realised more than twenty projects involving almost 100 participants, co-operated with eight cultural institutions and raised more than three million euros.
The mobile cultural vehicle is able to record and broadcast podcasts directly from street level, stage discussions in public places, organise karaoke competitions and stream movies licence-free. Plus you can also borrow the bike for free for your own projects!
denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof at Lohsepark
2021 was all about the ‘gateway to the world’. In seven interviews, historian Sandra Schürmann looked at how Hamburg’s self-image is made visible at HafenCity. This podcast episode for example deals with the question of how remembrance can be kept alive within an urban space and how important ‘authentic’ testimonies are in this regard.
The City Imagined mit/with
The book series documents our work at HafenCity. Order here free of charge one of the four in-depth interviews with Terence Koh, Julius von Bismarck, Benjamin Maus & Richard Wilhelmer, Liz Magic Laser & Dafna Maimon, and Gerrit Frohne-Brinkmann about the special experience of developing art within the urban fabric.
Don’t miss any of our activities – sign up here!
IMAGINE THE CITY elaborates new formats at the interface between culture and urban planning in HafenCity. We incorporate representative artistic perspectives into Hamburg’s urban development and collaborate at the international level with like-minded people across all sectors of society. Practically and discursively, we contribute to shaping the future of our cities in ways that are vibrant, equitable and supportive.
THE GATE Editions
Still looking for Christmas presents and/or keen to support artists? If so, why not buy a work of art by Marlon de Azambuja, Eduardo Basualdo, Marc Bijl, Camillo Ritter or Svenja Björg Wassil! Send us an email to receive a list of available works.
Interactive culture in the urban space
Build your own app: our web-based editorial system INTERKIT is set to go online next year, allowing familiar features such as AR, Player, Chat, Archive and Map to be linked together as required. Simply select what you need or programme your own extensions; the open source toolbox is available free of charge for all non-commercial uses!
From our archives
Having trouble sleeping? – If so, pick a suitable lullaby from our YouTube archive: The HUSH performance by Liz Magic Laser and Dafna Maimon in the fall of 2021 armed each participant against their own personal fears about the future.
In return, they shared their personalised reassurances with all those in need.
Message from SAM
Florence Jung’s manipulative bot follows users throughout their day and communicates with them via a mobile app. The last sub-project of our OPEN WORLDS digital network runs until February 2023 at MGK Siegen – and everywhere online: available now from the App Store or on Google Play.
Our favourite video trailer
Together with two artist friends Gerrit Frohne-Brinkmann shot his own BACKDROP road movie to indicate to our audience the best way to get to his work.
The three artists thus instantly relocated the famous original C’était un rendez-vous by Claude Lelouch (1976) from Paris to HafenCity: a little work of art all of its own.
Space for dreaming
Our latest podcast feature on HafenCity’s last unplanned site brings together ambitious, whimsical and visionary ideas for one of the district’s most expensive pieces of real estate.
Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to what Annika Kahrs, Hadi Teherani and many others have come up with for this special ‘lost place’ on the Elbe.
Visit us at the Coffee Plaza: from January 1 you will be able to find us at our new address with our own terrace, directly at Sandtorpark.
New Feature: our magazine
Along with our website revamp we’ve also introduced a new category. In our Magazine we regularly post exclusive and/or special essays that use the power of language to sketch out images of cities. From all eras and from all over the world.
By bus to art
Our exhibition series plays out inside a display cabinet at the bus stop in front of the PIERDREI Hotel at Sandtorkai. Until 15 January 2023, you have the opportunity to see Saray Purto’s HAUS WANDERER colossus comprised of discarded furniture drenched in white paint.
Photo knowledge on Telegram
THE INVISIBLE HAND dives deep into the history and theory of photography with videos, chats and comics. As a virtual companion to the 8th Triennial of Photography, we deliberately aimed the festival motto Currency at Hamburg’s urban space in the summer of 2022.
The channel remains permanently accessible and is well worthwhile even without the exhibition!
Smiley over the city
A prominent text about our first project, PUBLIC FACE. In March 2020, a detailed analysis appeared in the architecture and urbanism magazine Arch+. available online anytime.
History, Technology, Infrastructure
Filter Exhibition, Performance, Podcast, In Print, Hands-on, Immersion, Sculpture, Sound, History, Contemplation, Entertainment, Stage, Technology, Event, Threshold, Outdoors, Narrative, Trade, Infrastructure, Explore, Cooperation,
From September 2023
DOMESTICITY 2: HOME WANDERER
15 September 2022 – 15 January 2023
BEE CHAPEL HAFENCITY
From Spring 2023
Javier Acevedo, Theresa Michel, Jonas Wietelmann
How To Live In The Echo Of Other Places
1 June – 4 September 2022
VOICES OF THE CITY 1: BAAKENHÖFT
DOMESTICITY 1: RUBIA Y MORENA
16 June – 15 August 2022
THE INVISIBLE HAND
Ellen Blumenstein, Harriet von Froreich, Theresa Michel, Cansu Naz Tekir
18 May – 15 July 2022
THE CITY IMAGINED WITH/MIT
Ellen Blumenstein (ed.)
2019 – 2022
ON THE THRESHOLD OF WISDOM
1 June – 31 December 2021
A CITY IN FLUX
HUSH. THE REASSURER
Liz Magic Laser and Dafna Maimon
16 – 19, 23 – 26 September 2021
THE GATE. ART WALK
Curated by Ellen Blumenstein, Mona Hermann
1. June – 31. October 2021
THE GATE. AUDIO LIBRARY
Curated by Ellen Blumenstein, Theresa Michel
19 August 2020 – 21 December 2021
17 April 2020 – 11 April 2021
Liz Magic Laser and Dafna Maimon, Playful Commons
19 December 2019, 5 February 2020
Julius von Bismarck, Benjamin Maus, Richard Wilhelmer
23 November 2018 – 27 September 2020
IMAGINE THE CITY & FRIENDS #2
Curated by Cornelius Altmann
25 July 2019
IMAGINE THE CITY & FRIENDS #1
HAFENLESUNG GOES SEUTE DEERN
4 July 2019
ON-BOARD KIOSK SURPRISE
Curated by Raphael Dillhoff and Nina Groß
11 July 2018 – 29 August 2018
from Marc Bijl: THE WORKS. 1984 : 2084
Jap Sam Books Amsterdam (coming soon)
Women, violence and the HafenCity
Also available as Podcast
On the Threshold of Wisdom
The Self-Image of a City
Initial release: Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, 1840
The Man of the Crowd
Edgar Allen Poe
IMAGINE THE CITY
Am Sandtorpark 2
Tel 040 883 536 58
We will be available again by telephone from mid-January 2023. Please feel free to contact us by e-mail.
For press inquiries please contact email@example.com.
Our press section has all the latest press material available for download.
Currently in DER HAMBURGER magazine: a profileof IMAGINE THE CITY.
The Hamburger Abendblatt featured Annika Kahrs's installation in the old dockside warehouse.
DER SPIEGEL interview with Terence Koh, talking about his BEE CHAPEL HAFENCITY.
Understanding the PUBLIC FACE: in-depth analysis in Arch+.
The BOTBOAT in the practical test of the ADAC travel magazine. Published in issue No. 181.
WHO WE ARE
Initiated in 2017 by Hamburg’s largest development company, HafenCity Hamburg GmbH (HCH), the experimental cultural programme got underway with the appointment of Ellen Blumenstein as HafenCity Curator. The following year she adapted the programme to create IMAGINE THE CITY, a project orientated less according to her own personal input and more towards the content-related tasks with which she had been entrusted. The project itself is funded by the independent, non-profit association Kunst und Kultur in der HafenCity. HCH provides the basic funding during the pilot phase and is represented on the Association’s Board in a bid to facilitate the co-ordination of the various projects. A significant portion of the required budget is secured through the acquisition of third-party funding. Since 2017, we have realised more than twenty projects involving almost 100 participants, co-operated with eight cultural institutions and raised more than three million euros.
WHAT WE DO
IMAGINE THE CITY elaborates representative new formats at the interface between culture and urban planning. We incorporate artistic perspectives into the HCH’s urban projects in an illustrative way while collaborating at the international level with like-minded people across all sectors of society. We look at the city from a user perspective and enable encounters with, in, and through its built-up environment so that, together, we can reformulate society’s expectations of culture. In doing so, we target an aspect of the city that planning cannot ‘plan’ for: informal urban spaces highly charged in terms of both narrative and imagination. Practically and discursively, we contribute to shaping the future of our cities in ways that are vibrant, equitable and supportive.
WHERE TO FIND US
In January 2023, IMAGINE THE CITY will be relocating to new headquarters at Coffee Plaza in HafenCity. Our premises are open on three sides, allowing us to interact directly with the outside space and enliven the site for our neighbours, cultural workers and other interested parties, whether it’s through performances, film evenings, lectures or workshops. These events are aimed at everyone living a city who is keen to reflect on seemingly unconnected aspects, track down their own blind spots, and as a result help develop images or ideas of the sort of city we would all want to live in.
WHAT MAKES US TICK
Our work ties in with a broad spectrum of cultural initiatives that were incorporated early on into HafenCity’s development, e.g. the founding of the Oberhafen Cultural Quarter, the establishment of a number of festivals, and the promotion of temporary and/or subculture-based usage concepts. At the same time, IMAGINE THE CITY has gone beyond the scope of these previous approaches. Indeed, for the first time, we deliberately took action in a systematic, long-term, cross-project and cross-genre way, specifically in those areas where the course for our future lives together is being chartered, i.e. urban development areas. This orientation calls for new concepts, new alliances and new infrastructures that mediate between culture and urban development, stakeholders and clients, representation and activism.
We are regularly on the lookout for interns. Please submit your applications to: firstname.lastname@example.org
DIRECTOR (on maternity leave)
Always in search of new formats that convey cultural issues to a broad audience, Ellen is utterly committed to the task of thinking about culture and urban development as a consistent entity for Hamburg. At the same time, she is also associate curator at Spreepark Berlin and oversees the Reallabor Kunst im öffentlichen Raum at the University of the Arts Bremen until 2023.
Jonas relocated from Dresden to Hamburg in spring 2022 in a bid to help make the infrastructure of IMAGINE THE CITY shipshape. He is tasked with turning interesting concepts into doable projects, looks after our fundraising, and is also in charge of networking us far beyond the borders of Hamburg. His main focus is on digital strategies and art education technologies.
Theresa has been a member of the IMAGINE THE CITY artistic team since 2019, working as a research assistant and co-curator for three years focusing on Hamburg’s past and its trading history as well as helping to develop digital formats. Since 2022 she has taken on curatorial responsibility and is the first point of contact for project and format ideas, joint ventures – and the coining of creative titles.
Lea has been working on her Master’s in Urban Design at HafenCity University since autumn 2022, elaborating repurposing strategies, urban meeting spaces and cultural formats beyond traditional institutions. Besides her office management duties, she also contributes her experience from the Hamburg Office for the Protection of Historic Buildings and as a mediator at documenta 15 to the programme work of IMAGINE THE CITY.
Nele is studying Metropolitan Culture at HafenCity University and doing her work experience at IMAGINE THE CITY. She came across our programme during the Covid pandemic while looking for cultural offerings beyond the scope of the institutions that been forced to close. She liaises closely with Theresa on forthcoming projects and assists Lea in running the office infrastructure.
ACCOUNTS AND ADMINISTRATION
The website was funded within KULTUR.GEMEINSCHAFTEN. The program is funded by the NEUSTART KULTUR rescue and future package of the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien and the Kulturstiftung der Länder.
Who decides who decides?
For permission to place two larger-than-life female comic figures on temporary guard at the entrance to Hamburg's HafenCity, the event organiser must provide a statistical certificate proving mathematically that the steel sculpture Escape to from HafenCity by Marc Bijl will not fall down, injure anyone, or block local flood defences, even under maximum force storm conditions. The regional body overseeing roads, bridges and waterways (LSBG) will not allow the harbour safety agency to approve the project without this documentation. In addition, the police department must certify that there are no concerns about traffic safety, meaning the sculptures must not obstruct vehicle or pedestrian traffic. Most importantly of all, the Monuments Preservation Office must confirm that the sculptures in no way interfere with the view of the Speicherstadt warehouse complex, now a UNESCO world heritage site. A downloadable map available from the Hamburg municipal authority shows the areas considered part of this historic structure, designating "Kern" (core) and "Puffer" (buffer) zones with dark red, red and grey colour coding. Putting up artworks is prohibited within those zones and along the lines of sight. This makes finding a location even more difficult, given the Speicherstadt is visible from almost everywhere in the HafenCity. Many of the entry and transit points are protected as monuments, because these buildings – erected for customs controls in and out of the free trade area – are among the few solid buildings remaining from the HafenCity site's formative and transitional periods in the last third of the 19th century. That commercial events routinely take place on the site, that the entire area serves as a parking lot and the new headquarters of Spiegel magazine stand there – all this is another matter, of course.
The final, decisive obstacle is the requirement that the municipal district office approve the presentation once all other agencies concerned have provided written consent. There is too little space here to discuss the potential differences of interest between these particular agencies (whereby, for example, the Monuments Protection Office might approve a location unacceptable to the police department, or the LSBG endorse a compromise which no-one could know that the municipal district council would reject, having already received an application for the summer period from Hamburg Dom, a half-yearly fair displaced from its regular site by the Corona pandemic). All these factors bear directly on the character of the sculptures, whose appearance, height and construction the artist can only finalize in relation to a specific site. Nonetheless, in a two-year process, the organizer accounted for all conditions, found a site, obtained a statistical certificate regarding the objects' harmlessness in their particular location, reworked the draft in collaboration with the artist, and finally, two months before the planned opening, handed all the documentation to the relevant official at the municipal district office.
After which: nothing. the official in question implacably ignored repeated queries via every channel of communication. Given that the date of the exhibition opening was stated in bold on the front page of the application and had been restated many times over, the technical manager assumed that he would by this point have been informed of any outstanding concerns, and decided to interpret the official's silence as agreement. He rented a low-loader truck equipped with a crane and installed the artwork with the help of six workers, just in time for the opening weekend of the over-arching exhibition THE GATE. The next Monday, the technical manager received the following communication:
you erected two steel figures last week without authorisation, despite the application still being under consideration, with no permit issued. See my earlier email cited below in which I explicitly state that you may not erect the figures. Further, the Niederbaumbrücke LSBG flood control department has not granted approval (see attachment). The location could endanger pedestrians and vehicle traffic, on which grounds the project cannot be permitted.
The guard figures must therefore be removed immediately.
You must make all the necessary arrangements for the safety of public spaces and road traffic. You must reimburse the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg for all costs resulting from your use of the location to of Hamburg, including compensation and any damages legally incurred by the City.
The following conditions must be met during the dismantling of the structures:
– the entire road and the installation areas must be covered with plastic load distribution sheets, which must be removed once no longer in use.
– work areas must be cordoned where they meet the highway RSA 95.
I would like to point out in advance that unauthorized use of this road is an offence under § 72 of the Hamburg Public Highways Code [Wegegesetz], incurring a fine of up to € 50.000.
[name of official]
To be continued.