Author Jo Mcleish - The Media Room
- Artist Interview
Kollektiv Kubik (Henriette and Franziska)
Tell us about yourself, where are you from and what do you like to do in your spare time?
Henriette: I’m a real ‘townie’ of Berlin. I was born here, and I grew up here. After my studies in Weimar, where the collective was founded, I moved back home. In my spare time, I like to craft and repair stuff. My VW bus also always needs working on. And I have a 4 week-old baby – I guess you’d say she’s very much my new ‘side project!’
Franziska: I grew up close to Frankfurt and for 8 years I have been living in Weimar (the home of the Bauhaus Art School). But I’m ready to get on the road again and move somewhere new to try out new things. In my spare time, I am currently working on a project with a friend. She’s a singer and a composer and so we work together on producing art – I’m doing the visuals to her compositions and she composes music to my visual pieces.
Tell us about your practice – what’s your favourite piece you’ve worked on, or performed?
Henriette: So within our collective there are so many great projects. One that stands out for me is the piece ‘Over the Walls’, which was a project we developed over the course of an intense week. We invited a clown to do a workshop with us for a day- it was weird, quirky and explorative. Then we developed an urban, interactive performance piece and went out into the city of Weimar and invited people to re-think their perception of the city in which they live.
Franziska: In our collective there are seven women from a range of artistic backgrounds, art, design, craft, urbanism, theatre and cultural science. Our overall goals are to invite people to get engaged with their environment and show them a new perspective. That’s what ‘Over the Walls’ is about, which Henriette mentioned. We do this through things like creating interactive installations, urban theatre, performances, interventions in public spaces, and also through artistic workshops. It’s a big part of what we are about- to share and learn collectively.
What opportunities do you see in the LIBERTY EU programme for young artists?
Henriette: Being invited into the LIBERTY EU programme endorses our work and strengthens the value of it. And for that we are really grateful. It supports us to make our work visible and I also see it as an opportunity to connect with others. It’s a wonderful chance to make a network right across Europe – alone we wouldn’t have the chance to connect to people in that way.
Franziska: I agree. That network across Europe is super cool. We have been focussing really on a specific place and the people who live and spend their time there. To extend that onto a European level is a new opportunity for us. It will, I hope, give us the chance to make future collaborations. We need to be part of a network to do that. Within this artistic community, it would be interesting to explore the similarities and differences within Europe. I also think the topic of ‘Liberty’ is close to our hearts – and we would like to explore this with the community we connect with across Europe.
Why do you feel it’s important for young artists to be able to travel and work across Europe?
Henriette: I always felt it was so beautiful to meet people across Europe, to make new friends – it’s very powerful. It gives you a connectedness, and at the same time, it’s really important to be able to understand different cultures.
Franziska: I think often, we are not aware of how valuable and easy free travel is for us as Europeans. When traveling you always bring something of yourself to a new place, but you also take something back with you as well.
What do you feel are the three key factors affecting young artists today?
Henriette: Covid – it has to be said. So many artist friends that I have are starting to feel depressed. They have lost the opportunity to express themselves and they feel shut down. Funding is another important factor. It’s so taxing and time consuming – as independent artists we are always looking for project funding to apply for. I guess as a collective we can share the load, not all artists are lucky enough to be able to do that.
Franziska: I would add digital media. New technologies can of course really inspire you, but it can be quite hard for a lot of artists to transfer to the digital world. Not all work that is created in physical matter or material is easily transferable. But I know that many people made digital media work for them in this year of Covid.
Do you think that Brexit will impact on artistic relationships?
Henriette: Hopefully not, but probably yes. Luckily we are still all people – we want to keep influencing, and growing and working together. But, from a practical perspective, it might become harder to travel. I think it will make funding much more difficult too – because the connection between the two countries, (one being the UK), will have changed. I also think that a lot will depend on what you practice, some art forms may not be as easy to show in the UK.
Franziska: Yes, I think it will. I have been lucky to have taken part in exchange trips, one being in Scotland. Will these opportunities still exist for young people? I’m sure connections that already exist will hold, but it will be more difficult to build new ones and institutional obstacles will increase. That is why a programme such as LIBERTY EU is so important right now.
Images of Kollectiv Kubik.