After years of construction and administrative delays, one of the most expensive and ambitious culture projects in Europe - Humboldt Forum - has opened its "virtual" doors in December. The digital opening was a modest livestreamed tour of the exhibition spaces with statements by curators and other leading figures from the project. The building is likely to remain closed until Berlin's administration reopens its cultural institutions.
Receiving much criticism from all possible fronts - from anticolonial activists to average Berlin tax-payers - the Forum is housed in a newly reconstructed Baroque palace and will eventually showcase thousands of ethnological artifacts, including Mayan sculptures and wooden boats from the South Pacific and will also include exhibits of Asian art and items from Berlin’s history.
Several programs are planned for Spring 2021. The exhibition Have a Seat! explores the subject of seating objects from all over the world and is thematically structured with its historical originals, reconstructed objects, and hands-on areas providing a space for children and families to reflect on living together in different cultures. The Schlüter Courtyard will be becoming a huge projector screen for video art. For its opening program, using giant images of the present on the Baroque facades, Zara Zandieh, Sucuk und Bratwurst and Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese, three artists living in Berlin, will express their perspectives on the new building and the questions it poses, responding to themes of colonialism and coloniality, ecology and the interconnectedness of the world. The Humboldt Lab will present After Nature, which spotlights the interdependencies of climate change and societal order, and the exhibition BERLIN GLOBAL will illustrate the city’s role in an interconnected world.
You can take a digital tour of the Humboldt Forum and explore its history, hopefully very soon being able to visit Germany’s new cultural attraction equivalent to the Louvre or the British Museum.