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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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: email@example.com
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.
Ce grand malheur, de ne pouvoir être seul.
It was well said of a certain German book that “es lässt sich nicht lesen” – it does not permit itself to be read. There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told. Men die nightly in their beds, wringing the hands of ghostly confessors, and looking them piteously in the eyes – die with despair of heart and convulsion of throat, on account of the hideousness of mysteries which will not suffer themselves to be revealed. Now and then, alas, the conscience of man takes up a burthen so heavy in horror that it can be thrown down only into the grave. And thus the essence of all crime is undivulged.
Not long ago, about the closing in of an evening in autumn, I sat at the large bow window of the D… Coffee-House in London. For some months I had been ill in health, but was now convalescent, and, with returning strength, found myself in one of those happy moods which are so precisely the converse of ennui – moods of the keenest appetency, when the film from the mental vision departs – the ἀχλὺς ὁς πρὶν ἐπῆεν – and the intellect, electrified, surpasses as greatly its every-day condition, as does the vivid yet candid reason of Leibnitz, the mad and flimsy rhetoric of Gorgias. Merely to breathe was enjoyment; and I derived positive pleasure even from many of the legitimate sources of pain. I felt a calm but inquisitive interest in every thing. With a cigar in my mouth and a newspaper in my lap, I had been amusing myself for the greater part of the afternoon, now in poring over advertisements, now in observing the promiscuous company in the room, and now in peering through the smoky panes into the street.
This latter is one of the principal thoroughfares of the city, and had been very much crowded during the whole day. But, as the darkness came on, the throng momently increased; and, by the time the lamps were well lighted, two dense and continuous tides of population were rushing past the door. At this particular period of the evening I had never before been in a similar situation, and the tumultuous sea of human heads filled me, therefore, with a delicious novelty of emotion. I gave up, at length, all care of things within the hotel, and became absorbed in contemplation of the scene without.
At first my observations took an abstract and generalizing turn. I looked at the passengers in masses, and thought of them in their aggregate relations. Soon, however, I descended to details, and regarded with minute interest the innumerable varieties of figure, dress, air, gait, visage, and expression of countenance.
By far the greater number of those who went by had a satisfied business-like demeanor, and seemed to be thinking only of making their way through the press. Their brows were knit, and their eyes rolled quickly; when pushed against by fellow-wayfarers they evinced no symptom of impatience, but adjusted their clothes and hurried on. Others, still a numerous class, were restless in their movements, had flushed faces, and talked and gesticulated to themselves, as if feeling in solitude on account of the very denseness of the company around. When impeded in their progress, these people suddenly ceased muttering, but redoubled their gesticulations, and awaited, with an absent and overdone smile upon the lips, the course of the persons impeding them. If jostled, they bowed profusely to the jostlers, and appeared overwhelmed with confusion. – There was nothing very distinctive about these two large classes beyond what I have noted. Their habiliments belonged to that order which is pointedly termed the decent. They were undoubtedly noblemen, merchants, attorneys, tradesmen, stock-jobbers – the Eupatrids and the common-places of society – men of leisure and men actively engaged in affairs of their own – conducting business upon their own responsibility. They did not greatly excite my attention.
The tribe of clerks was an obvious one and here I discerned two remarkable divisions. There were the junior clerks of flash houses – young gentlemen with tight coats, bright boots, well-oiled hair, and supercilious lips. Setting aside a certain dapperness of carriage, which may be termed deskism for want of a better word, the manner of these persons seemed to me an exact facsimile of what had been the perfection of bon ton about twelve or eighteen months before. They wore the cast-off graces of the gentry; – and this, I believe, involves the best definition of the class.
The division of the upper clerks of staunch firms, or of the “steady old fellows,” it was not possible to mistake. These were known by their coats and pantaloons of black or brown, made to sit comfortably, with white cravats and waistcoats, broad solid-looking shoes, and thick hose or gaiters. – They had all slightly bald heads, from which the right ears, long used to pen-holding, had an odd habit of standing off on end. I observed that they always removed or settled their hats with both hands, and wore watches, with short gold chains of a substantial and ancient pattern. Theirs was the affectation of respectability; – if indeed there be an affectation so honorable.
There were many individuals of dashing appearance, whom I easily understood as belonging to the race of swell pick-pockets, with which all great cities are infested. I watched these gentry with much inquisitiveness, and found it difficult to imagine how they should ever be mistaken for gentlemen by gentlemen themselves. Their voluminousness of wristband, with an air of excessive frankness, should betray them at once.
The gamblers, of whom I descried not a few, were still more easily recognisable. They wore every variety of dress, from that of the desperate thimble-rig bully, with velvet waistcoat, fancy neckerchief, gilt chains, and filagreed buttons, to that of the scrupulously inornate clergyman, than which nothing could be less liable to suspicion. Still all were distinguished by a certain sodden swarthiness of complexion, a filmy dimness of eye, and pallor and compression of lip. There were two other traits, moreover, by which I could always detect them; – a guarded lowness of tone in conversation, and a more than ordinary extension of the thumb in a direction at right angles with the fingers. – Very often, in company with these sharpers, I observed an order of men somewhat different in habits, but still birds of a kindred feather. They may be defined as the gentlemen who live by their wits. They seem to prey upon the public in two battalions – that of the dandies and that of the military men. Of the first grade the leading features are long locks and smiles; of the second frogged coats and frowns.
Descending in the scale of what is termed gentility, I found darker and deeper themes for speculation. I saw Jew pedlars, with hawk eyes flashing from countenances whose every other feature wore only an expression of abject humility; sturdy professional street beggars scowling upon mendicants of a better stamp, whom despair alone had driven forth into the night for charity; feeble and ghastly invalids, upon whom death had placed a sure hand, and who sidled and tottered through the mob, looking every one beseechingly in the face, as if in search of some chance consolation, some lost hope; modest young girls returning from long and late labor to a cheerless home, and shrinking more tearfully than indignantly from the glances of ruffians, whose direct contact, even, could not be avoided; women of the town of all kinds and of all ages – the unequivocal beauty in the prime of her womanhood, putting one in mind of the statue in Lucian, with the surface of Parian marble, and the interior filled with filth – the loathsome and utterly lost leper in rags – the wrinkled, bejewelled and paint-begrimed beldame, making a last effort at youth – the mere child of immature form, yet, from long association, an adept in the dreadful coquetries of her trade, and burning with a rabid ambition to be ranked the equal of her elders in vice; drunkards innumerable and indescribable – some in shreds and patches, reeling, inarticulate, with bruised visage and lack-lustre eyes – some in whole although filthy garments, with a slightly unsteady swagger, thick sensual lips, and hearty-looking rubicund faces – others clothed in materials which had once been good, and which even now were scrupulously well brushed – men who walked with a more than naturally firm and springy step, but whose countenances were fearfully pale, whose eyes hideously wild and red, and who clutched with quivering fingers, as they strode through the crowd, at every object which came within their reach; beside these, pie-men, porters, coal-heavers, sweeps; organ-grinders, monkey-exhibiters and ballad mongers, those who vended with those who sang; ragged artisans and exhausted laborers of every description, and all full of a noisy and inordinate vivacity which jarred discordantly upon the ear, and gave an aching sensation to the eye.
As the night deepened, so deepened to me the interest of the scene; for not only did the general character of the crowd materially alter (its gentler features retiring in the gradual withdrawal of the more orderly portion of the people, and its harsher ones coming out into bolder relief, as the late hour brought forth every species of infamy from its den), but the rays of the gas-lamps, feeble at first in their struggle with the dying day, had now at length gained ascendancy, and threw over every thing a fitful and garish lustre. All was dark yet splendid – as that ebony to which has been likened the style of Tertullian.
The wild effects of the light enchained me to an examination of individual faces; and although the rapidity with which the world of light flitted before the window, prevented me from casting more than a glance upon each visage, still it seemed that, in my then peculiar mental state, I could frequently read, even in that brief interval of a glance, the history of long years.
To be continued.