Canoe Club

Travelling through the city together on the water: paddling, rocking, observing, chatting, learning, identifying, reflecting, envisioning, researching.

The Canoe Club for Exploring the City

In 2011 the artist Birgit Auf der Lauer and I founded the "Canoe Club for Exploring the City" with Martin Düspohl, the former director of the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum in Berlin. In the field of tension between aesthetic research and artistic mediation, this artistic project allows the most diverse groups and the canoe club team to examine urban history, urban development and ecology on the water of Berlin's River Spree.

We approached the different fields of knowledge in canoes. We developed experimental tours on the Spree as well as various participatory projects for and with schoolchildren, refugees, students, urban researchers and many other interested people.

The joint work resulted in films, complex mapping, exhibitions, performances and countless drawings. People from all over Europe took part in these somewhat unusual canoe tours. The project "Canoe Club for Exploring the City" existed until 2016.

The canoe club started with the project "Child of Poseidon", an artistic work by Birgit Auf der Lauer and me. Can canoeing function as an aesthetic-critical practice to re-construct the city figuratively and narratively? What does the city look like from below? Experts from different fields were invited on canoe trips to interpret, explain and classify phenomena we encountered on the water.

Drawing on this experience, we implemented countless ideas and projects in which canoeing was more than a mere tourist attraction, for example, a classroom on the water:

The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, ETH Zurich, the Archive of Youth Cultures, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain Schools, Citizen Art Days, nGbK, Goethe Institute, Circus Schatzinsel, B Tours Festival, Month of Performance Art Berlin, Kulturprojekte Berlin and many more cooperated with the Canoe Club for Exploring the City.

Photos: Daniela del Pomar und Paul Holdsworth, Oskar Neumann, Birgit Binder, Unbekannte Autorin

More Workşops

A small nutshell on the water gives everyone a notion of their own vulnerability. If how and what we are fractures in the context of where we are - let's change the context.

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