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Neue Heimat Let there be light

Whether you’re familiar with the RAW complex from supplying your guiltiest weekend whimsies or as a faux alternative tourist pit, chances are that the deepest corners of this concrete-filled playground weren’t part of the experience. For your own safety, they shouldn’t be. So thought many people, and dark things continued to linger in the shadows of RAW.

Then came superheroes Sebastian Baier, Danny Faber, and Andreas Söcknick, the miracle builders of Bar 25 and Chalet. Since putting aside their turntables, their surging levels of serotonin have been devoted to Neue Heimat, the newly minted night market in town. As of August 2014, the three took over the spacious east end of Revaler Str. 99, illuminated it with dangling lightbulbs, an unmissable sign, and successfully scared the Boogieman away.

Every Sunday it’s a village market flooded with local food vendors (who also partake in Street Food Thursday, Bite Club, etc.), musicians, artists, and a good load of people, who look as though grocery stores not opening on Sunday was and never will be an issue. If you’re lucky, the massage therapist from Michelberger Hotel might even be there to loosen those knots.

Neue Heimat won’t be just another Markthalle Neun though. At the moment visitors only see at most two-thirds of the property, but the founders are cooking up some amazing ideas for additions to the space. These will be actualized in the near future, with the dream of creating a village community out of graffitied shambles.

KW Institute for Contemporary Art Full-frontal Kunst featured

Kunst-Werke (KW) is one of Berlin’s most consistently impressive contemporary art institutions. They excel in presenting the kind of exhibitions that those who take their art more seriously than a little eye candy will drool over. Art for the artists, if you will. Divergent enough from the mainstream to retain its sex appeal, yet of sufficient conceptual depth to continue sparking a few neurons off during the U-Bahn ride home.

KW is a million miles away from being a museum; that means no dust-gathering permanent collection, allowing innovation and curatorial creativity to run wild across five floors of malleable space, occasionally even spilling out into the large courtyard. A spicily mixed crowd — comprised of studious art fanatics, clutches of backpack-toting tourists who stumbled in off of Auguststraße, and a seasoning of bespectacled bohemian intellectuals — wander the interconnected series of spaces.

From mixed media retrospectives to overblown installations, festivals and sound performances, it’s fair game to expect the unexpected, assured in the knowledge that it’s going to be high-quality stuff. Past exhibitions have included the freaky-as-hell films that made up the cinema of transgression, the biting political satire of Christoph Schlingensief, and the talk-of-the-town beer pyramid from Cyprien Gaillard (pictured).

It was their initiative that kick-started the Berlin Biennale, and now as a collaborator of PS1/MoMA in New York, the Venice Biennale and Documenta X, Kunst-Werke is putting the city on the international art map as a heavyweight epicenter that’s here to stay.

Agora Collective Zeitgeist Zentrale

Since opening in 2011, Agora has become one of the bastions of creativity in Berlin. Housed in a freestanding, yellow-and-red-bricked Altbau, this café, restaurant, co-working space, artist studio and event location ends up as way more than the sum of its parts.

With the German capital firmly established as one of the world’s elite creative cities, here you can peek into the inner workings – the people and the projects – of a zeitgeist in the making. It’s edgy, original, and inclusive without being ‘oh-kumbaya’. Operating as a true platform for interaction and inspiration, Agora evolves and adjusts to the needs of its members while remaining open to the public at large.

Extra curricular activities include frequent cross-media art exhibitions, film nights with up-and-coming directors, yoga and pilates sessions, and an all-star evening restaurant. With a revolving chef policy in operation from Wednesday through Saturday, you can feast on the likes of lamb steak with honey cabernet sauce and red beet purée as part of their 16€ three-course meal deal extraordinaire.

Curious about how the creative set of tomorrow go about their daily business? Hop on the U8 to Agora, immerse yourself in a multinational soup of 80+ co-working personnel including nattering artists, programming wunderkinds and big-thinking designers, and then take some time to ruminate on your own awesome potential whilst basking in their apple-tree dotted garden.

Urban Spree Off the Kunst-rails featured

Sunken at the forefront of the RAW maze-like compound, Urban Spree is a graffiti-laden brick and concrete self-proclaimed “(re)creative space”—but don’t let that put you off. Pretentious parentheses in the description aside, if you walk on by you’re missing out. Upstairs, an artist’s laboratory and workshop rings with buzz-words of Berlin’s urbanization: engage, interact, collaborate, fuck off Media Spree etc. With the multifaceted city itself as an inspirational source, the program of events is fittingly schizophrenic. Previous times have seen the space give a temporary home to a Flohmarkt, a short film festival, Berlin fashion week, even a Korean food night, plus all the usuals – so keep your eyes on their schedule as there’s no telling what’ll come next.

The Wye Post office modernism

A waste of space: so would the eulogy sound for the 20,000 sq.ft. Skalitzer Post building if it wasn’t dragged back from the pearly gates by global powerhouse art curator, Leah Stuhltrager. A long time unused and unappreciated—apart from it’s iconic outer shell—the structure has had its act pulled together, been given a fresh lick of paint and a new purpose in life. Et Voila: The Wye is born.

There’s a lot happening here and plenty in the pipeline, so to avoid confusion let’s call The Wye an international art house. Yet, beneath that umbrella term lies its charm: spanning five floors are artist studios and residencies, a gallery, a library, an event hall, a concept store and even more room for who knows what. You’ll have to attend their multi-discipline events and projects to find out.

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