It is difficult to be in this tower. There is nothing other than you. It is difficult even to enter, and hard to work on anything. There is no Internet connection, no one visits and, at the end of the day, no one is asking anything from you. The intensity of the space allows for little other than the experience of the tower itself and the views from it. It has its own pace. It takes its own time. It is as though the space itself is hallucinating a fiction and obliges those within its walls to work in a gap between times. (Clément Layes in: The Watch, 2017)
A trace from the border apparatus during the division of the city, the former GDR watchtower on Schlesischer Busch has had a long tradition of cultural and artistic production ever since Reunification. Under the care of FLUTGRABEN e. V. since 2004, the building has hosted several exhibitions, talks, screenings, and residencies.
In recent years, the building has become a place for reflection rather than mere production: artists, writers, choreographers, and other thinkers have been invited to spend time within and around the tower to think about the building’s texture, its history, its future, as well as its present position within Berlin’s cultural and political landscape. More than a remnant from the Cold War, it is a container for the conflicting narratives of the past 30 years, and even serves as a projection surface for the future. The tower appears as quickly as it disappears, squeezed in on the one hand by an area of fast-paced gentrification, and in limbo on the other – its dormant energy, therefore, carries desires and failures, breathing in, breathing out.
The Watch invites producers to take time to watch, observe, contemplate and inhabit the tower, to adopt the building’s passivity, and watch – watch for, over, or out.
The Watch consists of a group of artists and cultural producers working on a voluntary basis. Every year this group decides on the thematic content, formats, and programming of the watchtower either through direct invitations or open calls. Open calls are usually announced on our website at the beginning of each year.
The Watch is currently Jean-Ulrick Désert, Franziska König-Paratore, Dominique Hurth, Irina Novarese and Jo Zahn.
Further information: thewatch-berlin.org