Through debates, presentationslectures, and readings, the participants and guestes of Re:Writing the Future engaged with and learned from one another. We have learned, for instance, that we associate emptiness, despair, and even death with culture in Covid-times, but also innovation, creativity, and solidarity. And to the question “What does a dynamic cultural eco-system need?” We agreed that it must be diversity.

Concerts, spontaneous online chats, interactive polls among viewers as well as engaging conversations in our workshops made the festival all the more lively despite (or perhaps even thanks to) it being held virtually. Accordingly, we are delighted that many report newly gained awareness (“Artists and social work should get closer”) and of being inspired to ask new questions (“How can we tell peoples’ stories while protecting their dignity?”). But most importantly, we are glad that we were left with an impression that the “world feels closer” and a feeling of “growing hope” after the festival. 

Re:Writing the Future was an event by those who have been forced to leave home because they make art. Those who have been working to keep cities open to new voices. And by those who offer creative and open spaces to develop new voices. May four days of open exchange and hope make a contribution to re:writing a future toegether! Among the participating artists and guests were Svetlana Alexievich, Ghayath Almadhoun, Mohammad Ashraf, Khaled Barakeh, Can Dündar,  Ali Hassan, Wolfgang Kaleck, Esra Karakaya, Herta Müller, Rasha Nahas, Marina Naprushkina, Milo Rau, Hakan Savaş Mican, Nazeeha Saeed, Elisabeth Wellershaus, Eyal Weizman et. al.  

Highlights from the Program Archive

Berliner Korrespondenzen Spezial with Svetlana Alexievich and Herta Müller

Two of the most important authors of our times meet on stage in Berlin: Svetlana Alexievich and Herta Müller have both created exceptional literature out of experiences of dictatorship, persecution and injustice. Both have continuously been looking for ways to give voice to those that are heard too rarely or those forgotten too frequently. During the Festival “Re:Writing the Future” they discuss how history can be re-written and how a praxis of resistance can give birth to a language of hope.

Arts in Exile - Challenges, Experiences and Cultural Practices in Berlin

The city of Berlin has a lot of cultural experience in working with artists in exile. Moderator Esra Küçük talks to Khaled Barakeh (Visual artist, founder CoCulture) and Ali Hassan (musician, perussionist) - both Syrian-born, Berlin based artists - about the challenges and realities of living and working in exile. How can art remain the central point when discussing questions of relocation, migration and institutional frameworks?

Artist Talk with Esra Karakaya #2 - Mariana Katzarova, Maryna Rakhlei 

In the second of three artist talks at teh festival Re:Writing the Future, award-winning moderator Esra Karakaya talks to journalist and human rights advocate Mariana Katzarova (RAW in WAR) and political analyst Maryna Rakhlei (German Marshal Fund) about how to practice solidarity with activists and journalist under threat worldwide, about the difficult situation of the anti-authoritarian protesters in Belarus, and about working as women in the field of human rights and political advocacy. 

Freemuse Report on the State of Artistic Freedom 2021

The State of Artistic Freedom 2021 report is Freemuse’s premier report, launched this year at the festival Re:Writing the Future. 
With: Srirak Plipat (executive director, Freemuse), Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara (visual artist), Shahidul Alam (photojournalist, teacher and social activist), Rita Dewan (Baul singer), Shurooq Amin (visual artist), Aslı Erdoğan (writer), KAK (president, Cartooning for Peace), Christian Mihr (Reporters Without Borders). Presented by: Nazeeha Saeed (journalist)

Solo Performance of 'The Fall" by Rasha Nahas | From the album "Desert"

Few artists have been hit harder by the coronavirus lockdown than musicians. Stages are closed, crowds not allowed. But music helps us through the pandemic. Watch the special solo performance by Berlin-based Palestinian singer-songwriter and instrumentalist Rasha Nahas. The unmistakable sonic landscapes and unique artistic identity that she has constructed were shaped  by the underground scene of her hometown, Haifa.

Undoing prison | Panel with Zehra Doğan, Can Dündar and Aslı Erdoğan

Many texts have landed their authors in prison or were composed during or after their time behind bars: Rosa Luxemburg wrote essays and letters, Nâzım Hikmet translated Tolstoy’s War and Peace and wrote poems. The experience of the extra pressure put on thinkers in an authoritarian system connects the artist and journalist Zehra Doğan, writer Aslı Erdoğan and journalist Can Dündar. They share the same fate of living in exile, charged with being »enemies of the state« in Turkey. Moderation: Nil Mutluer.

The festival Re:Writing the Future was carried out by Allianz Kulturstiftung, in cooperation with the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program and Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, in partnership with ICORN – International Cities of Refuge Network and funded by the Senate for Culture and Europe of the City of Berlin.

A curatorial team consisting of the poet and essayist Max Czollek, Silvia Fehrmann (DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Programme), Esra Küçük (Allianz Kulturstiftung) and Johannes Kirsten (Maxim Gorki Theater) was responsible for the conceptual development and the overarching idea of the festival. 

© Marcel Wogram
All online elements of the festival were realized by polisphere. The live stream was produced by 65 Studios, headed by Esra Karakaya, directed by Ibrahim-Utku Erdogan. The project website was designed by Youssef Adlah, content management by Philipp Schwarz. The responsible project managers were Nino Klingler, Leila El-Amaire, Basma Baghat; assistence: Friederike Schneider, freelance project manager: Nazeeha Saeed. Public Relations were handled by Julian Hellebrand, Feray Halil and Tatjana Kirchner. The team of Allianz Kulturstiftung was involved in all stages of production: Alban Genty, Katrin Thomaneck, Katharina Thomas, Dennis Vogel.  Guest management: Heidrun Paape.