Festival Theme: BOOM

A pointy red and yellow speech bubble in comics: an explosion, a powerful outburst and a sign of abrupt change. Open in all directions – a loud bang, but also a big breakthrough. A bass tone that drives the music, a formal visualization with party poppers. And of course, the critical examination of financial upturns and the “limits to growth” when taking into account both economic and ecological factors. The destruction and rejuvenation of an eruption are the manifestations of a boom.

Berlin is a “boomtown”, a hot spot of the art world, and Neukölln has for years been a key location for experimentation, artistic research, and unconventional presentation. The word “boom” sounds first and foremost positive. It describes an upswing and the interest in something that because of it is suddenly sought after. But who really profits in Berlin from the associated dynamics of a boom and for whom does it constitute a threat?

A boom fits as a phenomenon that focuses attention on a festival that takes full effect in a single weekend. 48 Stunden Neukölln this year offers space for art that aims to overpower viewers in an aesthetic and emotional sense, as well as deliberately drawing its strength from reduction and concentration.

Out of sheer luck the theme for 2020 arose incidentally from the intense debate of approximately 60 proposals that were submitted to an open call by participants and associates of 48 Stunden Neukölln. Many of the different ideas were about content that addressed the new characteristics of social coexistence, more precisely referencing continually insecure and threatening geopolitical and ecological situations or related to a discussion of values. The 15 members of the jury in total, participating in a two-part discussion, searched intensely for a differentiation from last year’s topic and for a formulation that invited an artistic grappling with the present day and the contemporary situation in Neukölln, Berlin, and the world beyond. Andreas Altenhof of the Neuköllner Oper picked up the unintentionally voiced word “BOOM!” as a festival theme. After a more in-depth analysis the jury could agree and was happy with the lightness and playful character that it suggested. With a closer look the festival theme BOOM is full of potential for critical and deeper interpretations.

Deadline for festival contributions is February 3rd 2020