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Where the Trees Have Numbers

Press release


Where the Trees Have Numbers

Dafni Barbageorgopoulou, Carsten Becker, Willem Besselink, Mit Borrás, Kirstin Burckhardt, Timo Herbst, Bretz / Holliger, Despina Flessa, Stella Geppert, Marianna Ignataki, Pius Fox, Thorsten Alexander Kasper, Marc Klee, Kathrin Köster, Alana Lake, Leon Manoloudakis, Katja Pudor, Nicole Wendel, Saskia Wendland, Tilman Wendland


Curated by Jan-Philipp Frühsorge

When looking for street names, house numbers or other bits and pieces of useful information in urban spaces, the eye of the searcher occasionally lingers over the numbers on the trunks of the trees. Kept small, but colourful and striking, the engraved numbers on the bark easily catch the eye. The different shapes, colours and sizes of the numbered plaques represent a complex cadastral system; most city dwellers lack the key to decipher the colonnades of numbers. Employees of Berlin's Green Spaces Office are familiar with the information and maintenance of the plaque system. It is an important tool to categorise, manage and control urban plant growth.

The exhibition Where the Trees Have Numbers takes place in the pavilion of the former training rooms of the Grünflächenamt Mitte/Tiergarten. For over six years, the site was unused, empty and free of human activity. Nature made use of time and has gradually, mischievously and freely spread out on the area of its former masters, following the motto ‚Who has the longer breath’? Thus the ensemble of pavilion, workrooms, garden, courtyard and patio in its present state tells not only of the interplay of generative drive and structural control, but also of letting go and the flow of time in an urban context.

The renewed human activity, started by the artists, curators and theorists of frontviews, brought about the name HAUNT for the complex; a name that ties together its history and its new purpose. HAUNT exists as an exhibition space for contemporary European art. A lot has happened in the past years and months. Therefore, a new approach, a new modus operandi has been added, namely the collective findings way to address our current states of emergency. How do we deal with this, how can we come together and keep each other safe? How do we reflect on the upheaval and develop an awareness for the new necessities coming into play? Perhaps it is about letting go of old certainties, and about the loss of control and meaning. If this is the case, how can we let things flourish freely? The aim is not to decelerate various wellness concepts, but rather to find an alternative way of dealing with our time, because as Byung-Chul Han remarks: ’What is necessary today is not deceleration, but a time revolution that allows a completely different time to begin’.

In light of this new era, Berlin’s art scene seems to be transforming too, therefore HAUNT exists as a space for exploring these new potentials.  Where the Trees Have Numbers is the first official group exhibition of the collective (where all current members will present works) - thus the first field is marked out and every participant will become visible.