SPEKTRUM Berlin was a space of convergence for cultural communities and transdisciplinary groups emerging and operating in and off Berlin between August 2014 and March 2019. The project aimed to bring confrontation, open knowledge, and a platform for the ideation, realisation, and presentation of technology-based artworks, science-focused events, and futuristic utopias based on the principle “do-it-together-with-others”. We wanted SPEKTRUM to be an open space where everyone would feel welcome, and where experimentation and collaborative learning was encouraged.
The reSource network has been extremely valuable in the process of establishing and running SPEKTRUM, since it allowed us to connect and learn from others along the way. As it was our aim to become a meeting point for many realities in Berlin, we started connecting with like-minded people in the city and joined networks such as reSource, to learn from people who had faced similar problems in running project spaces and to find future collaborations.
I joined my first reSource network meeting ahead of opening our space, in August 2014. At that time, we had just started the renovation of what would become SPEKTRUM: a massively neglected former bakery in a monumental building with a 5-metre high ceiling, in the north of Neukölln. Looking back, I remember feeling a bit nervous announcing our plans for the space, since at the time it was just a building site that needed an enormous amount of work. But it was great to hear how others had undertaken similar projects in the past, and how they are now running successful venues: this gave inspiration to push through ten more months of dust, chaos, and construction work.
I also joined the reSource mailing list, which became a very useful channel to connect with others and share activities. During the renovation, we started experimenting with how direct physical interaction could shape the future of SPEKTRUM: we ran a site-specific light installation, and invited people that passed by to walk through the space. We announced this through the reSource list as well, and some of the network members came by to have a first look.
Future reSource meetings I joined were often held at other project spaces, such as Liebig12, Panke, and Art Laboratory Berlin, and it was inspiring to see how others had shaped their ideas into reality. Many of the people I met at these meetings would become dear friends and collaborators in the future. Later on while running SPEKTRUM, there was often not much time to visit each other’s events, so it was super valuable to have these moments to meet up and hear from others on how they were dealing with often similar issues, such as handling GEMA administration, neighbours and noise complaints when organising experimental music events, what kind of insurance is useful when managing a project space, and how to even manage to keep independent spaces running in times of increased commercialisation.
In the spring of 2015, with the renovation nearing its end, I presented our concept for SPEKTRUM at one of the reSource meetings, and also showed photos of the space in progress. Now the nervousness of the beginning had switched to excitement in showing what was nearly ready to open. It was also great to meet Tatiana Bazzichelli, founder of the reSource network, and hear from her about the Disruption Network Lab that was about to host its first conference. Following this meeting, we established our first collaboration and started hosting additional events such as screenings and performances around the Disruption Network Lab conferences at SPEKTRUM.
In June 2015 we finally opened the doors of SPEKTRUM | art science community: a space focused on creating new links between art, science, and technology. We started organising regular performance nights, events, and exhibitions, but also concentrated on building up our community programme as a way to connect different audiences to the space. As we continued building up both our artistic programme and the communities, our initial vision of becoming a physical meeting point for different groups in the city slowly became a reality: communities were formed, existing communities found a home in SPEKTRUM, and lots of new connections were made. People from different backgrounds came together, and began discussing how they could combine their skills to create new artistic outputs. Between 2015 and 2019, 19 different communities met up regularly at SPEKTRUM and became a valuable resource to our space.