The MdbK [next;raum], established in 2022, invites new opportunities for participation and dialogue. Together with actors from urban society, the collections, their presentation and mediation are to be critically questioned.
As part of the recontextualisation of the collection, the MdbK has created a place for participation and dialogue - the MdbK [next;raum]. Located in the room group of the Renaissance collection presentation on the first floor, it sees itself as an interactive instrument for entering into an exchange with urban society. The city and the museum come together, jointly develop content on contemporary topics and critically question the collections, their presentation and mediation. The MdbK [next;raum] provides impulses for events and initiates processes of change. In this way, the museum not only acts as an institution for imparting knowledge, but also wants to learn from the perspectives of urban society.
The MdbK [next;raum] is funded by the 360° - Fund for Cultures of the New Urban Society programme of the German Federal Cultural Foundation and is also supported by the feminist library MONAliesA Leipzig.
MdbK [next;raum] #02 – Learning | Unlearning
After MdbK [next;raum] #01 negotiated the topic of Gender in MdbK in 2022, a new group has been meeting in MdbK [next;raum] #02 since January this year on the topic of Unlearning | Learning. How does one learn to forget outdated knowledge? How can exhibitions and museum processes be linked with unlearning processes in the future?
In 10 workshops, the participants addressed various aspects of unlearning. Criteria such as class, racism, discrimination, but also aspects of the museum were to be analysed, reflected upon and "unlearned". An interdisciplinary perspective was created through discussions with colleagues, reform pedagogues, authors, activists, everyday survivors and social workers.
In its exhibition scenography, the current [next;raum] is dedicated to the theme of the garden in order to make unlearning tangible. Located in the middle of the collection spaces, it functions as a place of invitation and a field of experimentation for analogies to the theme. It collaborates with living nature, allotments and garden cultures. What do old fruit varieties and old masters, fences and pennants, showcases and abandoned plots tell us? What do permacultures taste like and how can plum jam help to make decisions in the museum more joyful and democratic?
Theme day 25.11.2023
"The [next;raum] project concerns ideas on how a museum can move forward, how it can become more open and inclusive, and what futures it can design. Currently, we are giving space to the idea that a common "unlearning" of habits mobilises new forces that lead to other perspectives: this is an exciting process for the museum.
For example, we could unlearn that nature stays outside, that art and nature go separate ways. What would happen if we unlearned separations and the garden and the museum met spatially? When their rituals, rules and orders intermingle? Then new impulses would indeed arise: the gaze would go from the wall to the sky, the doing from the head to the body, the museum bench would become a garden bench, the ground a lawn, order a game: garden is practice. And the viewer becomes a bit of a gardener, participant and activist: gardening makes community."
Stefan Weppelmann /Director MdbK Leipzig
Filipa Pontes, Cindy Orlamünde /MdbK [next;raum]#02
Stefan Weppelmann /Director
Kirsten Lemm /Project management
MUSEUM TEAM. URBAN GARDENING
Provenance: Law and Morals
MdbK [in transit]: The 360°Perspective
Restoration: Caring for works of art
Loan Management: Utopia Climate Neutrality
Mediation: From a place of education to a space of experience
12 - 5 p.m.
ALLOTMENT MUSEUM. SPIKY AND REBELLIOUS
Talks with the Allotment Garden Museum Leipzig
Participation activity: Designing garden gnomes and unlearn-notebooks
12 - 5 p.m.
GARDEN FIBULATIONS. LOUD AND SILENT
with activists of the MdbK [next;raum]#02, MZIN and the library of the MdbK
12 - 6 p.m.
FILM SCREENING. QUEER GARDENING
Film (engl.) about "Queer-feminist ecologies in North America" by Ella von der Heide
12 p.m. / 2 p.m. / 4 p.m.
IN MOVEMENT. BACK ON
with fitness coach Nora Lob /Skyline Sportsclub Leipzig
TONGUE TALK. DISCOVERING SLOWNESS
with Astrid Schroeter and Leo Einsiedler /MdbK[next;raum]#02
MULTILINGUAL READING. ARRIVING IN THE MOMENT
with active members of the project Gemeinsam MUTig at DaMigra e.V.
RELATED GAME. WITH THE BODY
Picture reading with Julia Bröker and Yvonne Buchheim /MdbK [next;raum]#02
IMPULSE TALK. UNLEARN EVERYTHING?
with Max Sand (artist), Emilia Kuczkowska /MdbK [next;raum]#02, Saralisa Volm (filmmaker) and Toralf Zinner /Denkmalsozial gGmbH
MODERATION: Amadeus Werner /MdbK [next;raum]#02
INTERPRETATION: Christine Traier /SprInt, RAA Leipzig e.V.
Admission to the MdbK is free on the theme day.
Vision and attitude
The Leipzig Museum Concept 2030 defines museums as "mediators of social change". Inclusion and participation are highlighted as central concerns. In order to enable different interest groups to participate, "rooms in the exhibition area could be made available to them on a permanent basis", says the paper adopted by the city council.
Against this background, a team and mission statement process took place at the MdbK in 2021 and 2022. It was stated: "Works of art stimulate discourse, interaction and education. Participatory offers, events and exhibitions are the foundations of our institution, which invites participation. We take up socially relevant issues and develop formats for active participation".
It is in this context that the MdbK [next;raum] came into being. The project sees itself as a field of experimentation within the presentation of the collection. It invites a broader engagement with art outside the art historical canon. Visitors become participants and can thus have a stronger cognitive, affective and actional impact on the institution as a local public. This form of project work contributes to the MdbK integrating important premises such as sustainability, participation and involvement into its museum work. People from different backgrounds are invited to realise their individual references and own perspectives on specific questions in the context of the art museum. Their own processing strategies are to contribute to the fact that other visitors will also have the confidence to adopt new perspectives. In this way, marginalised perspectives, questions, themes and artworks that are not exhibited, not collected and not represented can gain relevance.
MdbK [next;raum] #01 – Gender
.The MdbK [next;raum] started in 2022 with the project Unterm Rock. Reflections on gender issues, wich dealt with the representation and reception of gender and gender constructions in the MdbK collection. For this, associations, initiatives and individuals from Leipzig were invited, whose perspectives have so far been underrepresented in the MdbK. Anyone who was interested and willing to commit to continuous participation in eight workshop dates could take part. There was no application or exclusion procedure, which was greatly appreciated by the participants. The cooperation was remunerated with an expense allowance. The aim was to engage with the group's discussions and questions, in images and visual reflections - supplemented by background information provided by the MdbK or via literature provided by Leipzig library MonAliesA. One success is that the room with its visible results has also questioned attitudes and stimulated discussions within the museum. As a part of the project work, the MdbK Gender Day took place on 12th November 2022. This theme day was aimed at all those who wanted to find out about the above-mentioned issues and enter into conversation with the MdbK about them. The programme included performances, talks and guided tours at the MdbK [next;raum] , a panel discussion with guests and a collaborative meal at Café Treff.
"I have never experienced the examination of queer-feminist topics as it takes place here at MdbK in any other museum. In particular, the intermingling and disruption of eras and themes as well as thought patterns is extremely profitable and inspiring. The interaction of the artists with the art also leads to more interactive thinking/viewing for me. I think it's GREAT & wish for more of it!"
"As a woman, I get trepidation and nausea and want to scream out loud."
"Creating new images. Invite BIPoC flinta*. Stop being exclusive. Acknowledge and use/make room for own positions of power/privilege. Listen to yourself, only then is it possible to listen to others. PROVIDE SPACE."
"It should be for everyone. However, most images are often sexist, women are portrayed too weakly."
"Why is art, at least felt, only liked in the educated bourgeoisie -> how can art be made accessible to all classes? -> And why should one always only see art in museums and not make it? Why not let guests design the big gray walls? Let's become part of the art. Lack of understanding because the representation does not correspond to the breadth of reality, no erotic feelings because this "ideal" seems cold & inanimate; the reduction annoys me."
"I believe that a museum should be quasi-opinion-free. The role of the museum is to exhibit the works of art as value-free as possible. It doesn't have to make sure to present different perspectives; these come with each visitor. Each viewer has his or her own perspective on the art and gets involved to the extent that he or she allows his or her inner self to be influenced by the works."
"We are shaped by what and who we see. Whether in a museum or in 'real life.' I see many successful men and token women, often titled as such. I also feel in MDBK's current exhibition that these great artists* are being used to draw attention to the issue. I would so love to see them in an unframed context. Hopefully that will be possible soon."
"To be honest, it shouldn't be made into such a huge drama. I've never, in terms of art, not felt equal. It's the individual perspectives of the museums and artists, I can't influence that. I either like it or I don't, my decision, whether it's appropriate for me personally or not."
"A "neighborhood meeting" during the conception phase of new exhibitions would be exciting. I imagine a picnic or breakfast together at a long table at MDBK, where people can exchange ideas about the planned exhibitions with the curators, art mediators, etc. (open to all)."
"It should be possible to add comments to the works; there should be more discussions about the exhibitions, regular projects like the next_raum."
The MdbK regularly deals with socio-political topics in its exhibitions and collection presentations. People were explicitly invited to the MdbK [next;raum] who were interested in the topic - without any prerequisite regarding their educational background and without questioning their affinity to the visual arts. The exchange between the participants themselves and with the museum staff was central. The result of the process also gives rise to criticism (cf. e.g. Kreuzer 11/2022), which we are dealing with. Above all, it shows that we need to further explain the experiment MdbK [next;raum]. For instance, it critically asks: What is actually allowed to happen in the museum space? Who is allowed to interpret and speak there? Which concepts of knowledge and art do we allow in the museum?
Beyond exhibition formats, we also offer experimental opportunities to engage with art. Together with interested individuals and initiatives as well as with visitors, we explore alternative levels of interpretation and allow new spaces of participation to emerge. We recognize the different backgrounds of life, knowledge and experience of each individual as expertise in their own right, which is valuable and enriches the MdbK. Therefore, we want to listen to these voices in the institutional context and give them space.
Without a doubt, many scholarly topics worthy of exploration arise from the field of tension between art and society. In the MdbK [next;raum], however, it is first and foremost a matter of addressing current questions that arise from one's own subjective encounters with the MdbK's visual media.
Where artworks and collection history are supposed to form a kind of dignity formula, for which an unbiased discourse is perceived as a shameful approach, exclusion mechanisms are invoked. When museums are initially expected to exhibit authoritative knowledge, opportunities are lost.
Allowing and shaping voice can come with inadequacies and unfinishedness; that's what process work is. Museums can be unfinished places. It is no longer exclusively a matter of conducting discourses with those sub-publics that determine these very discourses, but also of entering into conversation with other parts of the public. It is about seeking the contemporary not only in the topicality of academic knowledge, but in the topicality of access to the institution.
How do we come together?
 Supported by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes - 360° Fonds für Kulturen der neuen Stadtgesellschaft, the house presents impulses, among others, on transconfessional influences on European pictorial tradition (Luther and Abba Mikael) and on the representation of body (image) and reception history of ethnic markings (Why born enslaved?). The museum's own collection history, especially the representation of so-called FLINTA artists, recently came to the fore in the exhibition Unterschätzt. Female Artists in Leipzig around 1900, 12.5.-3.10.2022). And also in the context of exhibitions, we emphasize in a special way questions such as those that were the focus of [next;raum]: For example, in the show of works by Harry Hachmeister, in which the fluidity of contemporary constructions of gender was a theme (Harry Hachmeister. From Disco to Disco, 3.2.-8.5.22).