In 2010 and 2011 we produced the long-term campaign „Denkanstöße“ („Food for Thoughts“) for the green energy supplier ENTEGA. „Denkanstöße“ was a multifaceted project series that combined diverse formats such as happenings, performances, public art, and information events with elaborately edited publications offline as well as online on a large scale. For this campaign we cooperated with filmmaker Ralf Schmerberg – in charge of the creative direction – and the advertising agency DDB Berlin.
With „Denkanstöße“ we wanted to raise public awareness for crucial developments and challenges in regard to energy production and closely related ecological and social phenomena such as climate change and waste management.
Over the course of two years we set up four momenta, four main events in different German metropolises. Each of these events addressed and dipped into one of our leading topics in different ways: Global warming, nuclear energy and wastefulness. All of these were public events with thousands of visitors.
We started with a “protest“ of 870 individually created snowmen in the heart of Berlin, at Schloßplatz. These snowmen were built by our visitors from Berlin and elsewhere, each one of them articulating their very own protest against global warming. To make the consequences of global warming come alive and viewable we invited Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, an Elder and shaman from Greenland of Inuit-Kalaallit, who gave an introduction into his cultural background and the effects of global warming on his community. We organized a press center that spread the event and its documentation immediately through social media.
On the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the reactor accident in Chernobyl our second event was an extensive exhibition in the center of Stuttgart. In the forefront of this exhibition we sent an actor in a protective suit carrying a fake barrel of radioactive waste through Germany, with stops at famous public places in Berlin, Cologne and other cities, using public transport and with its final destination in Stuttgart at the exhibition place. This journey was documented and resulted in a captivating trailer. The exhibition itself, „Café Endlager“, assembled works by internationally renowned artists and scientists like Kate Williams, Yang Shaobin, Kate McDowell, Prof. Manfred Karge, and many more. All exhibits showcased specific artistic positions on nuclear energy and its long-term consequences. Over a period of two weeks “Café Endlager“ not only offered a fascinating exhibition but also a diverse program with film screenings and discussions. The famous nuclear physicist and anti-nuclear activist Hans-Peter Dürr was with us for a podium discussion. We also produced a printed exhibition magazine with insightful facts and articles.
In the center of Hamburg we created the monumental walk-in installation “Stromfresser“, a giant igloo consisting of more than 300 old refrigerators. As part of this installation we published a magazine on wastefulness that assembled articles, essays, collages and photographs by renowned journalists and artists.
Finally, in 2011, we cooperated with the International Film Festival Berlinale, setting up a huge typographical installation, this time close to Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, adapting the iconic characteristics of the Hollywood sign: HOLY WOOD. The opening press conference was held in the presence of the ruling mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, and of the Berlinale director, Dieter Kosslick. In the evening the huge letters of the installation became the screen for video works that focused on the beauty of nature and endangered species. As part of this project we founded an ongoing non-profit initiative „10.000 Trees for Berlin“ that aims to incite people to adopt trees that are already or going to be planted in Berlin and to contribute to a more balanced urban ecology that way. This initiative started with an exclusive dinner to which we invited sponsors and potential partners. Moreover, we published a beautifully designed book (“Holy Wood – A Pleading for the Tree“) that collected poems, interviews, articles, and art on the beauty of trees and nature. We and our partner Berlinale distributed these books among partners and visitors as a special give-away.
In addition to this we ran an online magazine during the whole campaign that accompanied and deepened all of our activities and topics with meaningful contributions by our editorial team and external journalists and scientists.
DROPPING KNOWLEDGE/ TABLE OF FREE VOIVES
In 2006 we produced the Table of Free Voices, a unique public gathering of incomparable dimension and logistics: Under the direction of the non-profit organization Dropping Knowledge we assembled 112 internationally renowned artists, philosophers, scientists, and activists that answered 100 selected questions simultaneously, consequently resulting in 11.200 answers recorded by 112 cameras and microphones. The event took place at the historic Bebelplatz in the center of Berlin. This place is in very bad remembrance because of the malicious book burnings in Nazi Germany that took place there and all over Germany. Our event turned a place where knowledge was condemned and burned to a place of free expression of knowledge.
The Table of Free Voices was moderated by Nigerian activist Hafsat Abiola and Hollywood actor William Dafoe. Prominent participants from all over the world included Wim Wenders, Bianca Jagger, Hans-Peter Dürr, Oliviero Toscani, Avi Primor, Susan George, Ervin Laszlo, Raymond Federman, Harry Wu, and many more.
Dropping Knowledge was founded by Ralf Schmerberg, Cindy Gantz and Jackie Wallace. In its development Dropping Knowledge became an interactive online platform for questions, concerns and initiatives from around the world. People who are usually not be heard found a platform and community to voice their individual concerns. Out of this huge pool Dropping Knowledge selected the questions for the Table of Free Voices.
This impressive event in Berlin was the culminating point of a huge and diverse long-term production. In the forefront of the Table of Free Voices we travelled the world to meet amazing people that try to make a difference with their work and living, to see and experience the effects of crucial global developments such as global warming on the ground: We went to Mumbai, Beijing, San Francisco, Caracas, New Orleans and elsewhere.
We met and interviewed climate scientist, physicists, meteorologists, activists, environmentalists and artists. We visited photographer Sebastiao Salgado in Paris, civil rights activist Oscar Olivera in Caracas and artist Yang Shaobin in Beijing. We talked to scientists at the Indian Institute of Technology and explored India‘s biggest slum in Mumbai with an estimated population ranging from 200.000 to more than a million people. We took a breath in the planet‘s most polluted air in Beijing and talked to experts at the Chinese National Climate Center. We visited green initiatives in San Francisco and the World Social Forum in Caracas. We saw the devastating effects of the hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and talked to people who were existentially affected by the natural disaster by losing nearly everything.
A. K. Dikshit
We collected manifold impressions and questions on our journey. Afterwards we promoted the Table of Free Voices in producing and spread an elaborate online magazine „Questions – Global Warming / Global Warning“ that captures and recapitulates our world journey with a fascinating variety of impressions, articles, interviews that we collected around the globe.