Selections from the URBAN NATION Biennale “ROBOTS AND RELICS: UN-MANNED”

“What if…”

What If… UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

That’s how curator Yasha Young began the UN Biennale in Berlin this month. A fantasy-infused ramble through a future jungle teeming with dark pop goth and an animated gorilla, the multi-featured installation by the outgoing Creative Director was meant to pose questions about a possible future, or many possible futures on an Earth deeply scarred, reclaiming itself from man/womankind’s folly.

Millenium FX Ltd. Gorilla Albert. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Spread along a 100-meter path and teeming with small surprise exhibits popping from the savage magic of two-day overgrowth, the installation appeared to take inspiration, at least in part, from the wildly successful Berlin exhibition two years ago called, “The Haus”, by a trio called Die Dixons. That one featured 175 artists creating immersive, site-specific futurist/fantasy installations on the five floors of a former bank – inviting dance troops and performances and thousands who cued for hours around the block.

INTI with Millenium FX Ltd. Gorilla Albert. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

One of artists at UN’s “ROBOTS AND RELICS: UN-MANNED”, Herakut, was also in the Haus exhibition and here under the roaring U-Bahn on Bülowstraße produces one of the best synthesis of technology and fantasy. Their sculptural painted theatrical character of Mother Nature is straight from a childs’ imagination, blinking eyes forming a blue inquisitive aura around its visage.

Hera of Herakut. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Herakut. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

No doubt many visitors winding through this late summer wildness were feeling quizzical to one another, confronting the various staged scenarios by 27 artists and asking “what if…”. Perhaps a  lush and greener version of the traveling “29 Rooms” selfie house we saw in Brooklyn a few years ago, this one blended themes of post-disaster with a glistening dark leafy future girded with idiosyncracies and Hans Ruedi Giger airbrushed human/machines locked in biomechanical reverie.

“They carry us off into barren deserts with relics of human existence,” says the press release,  “colorfully patterned animals in overgrown areas as well as spherical light worlds.”

Coderch Malavia Sculptors. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Plotbot Ken. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Frederique Morrel. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Dan Rawlings. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Vermibus. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Vermibus. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Pappas Parlor. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Ekow Nimako. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Ekow Nimako. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Vegan Flava. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Vegan Flava. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Goin Art. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Goin Art. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urs Koller. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urs Koller. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
NesPoon . Pedro Estrellas. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Filthy Luker . Pedro Estrellas. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Filthy Luker . Pedro Estrellas. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Quinte55enz . Pedro Estrellas. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Nomad Clan. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Nomad Clan. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Theater Anu. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Theater Anu. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Theater Anu . Gehard Demetz. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Outings Project. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Participating artists include:

Coderch & Malavia // Cryptik // Dan Rawlings // David de la Mano // Dima Rebus // Ekow Nimako // Filthy Luker // Frédérique Morrel // Gerhard Demetz // Herakut // Inti // Julien de Casabianca // Louis Masai // Milenium FX // NeSpoon // Quintessenz // Nomad Clan // Rune Guneriussen // Sandra Chevrier // Theater Anu // Vermibus


Special shout out to Tobias Kunz, Annette Dooman, and the entire Studio Kunz team, Jens Rüberg and team and the YAP team.

We wish to express our gratitude to photographer and BSA contributor Nika Kramer for sharing her photos with us. Follow Nika on Instagram @nikakramer

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