GEH8

Kunstraum und Ateliers e.V. | Dresden

Between self-organization and organization

In 2014, the conditions that had been unfavourable for the geh8 changed for the better. Through the sale and transfer of ownership of the former freight yard property to the city of Dresden, and the granting of institutional funding by the municipal cultural office, there was, for the first time, a long-term perspective to remain at the traditional place—through the promised funding better planning for artistic and cultural work. With the help of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes it was possible for us to carry out aa reorganization of our association structure. We learned a lot about ourselves in that reorganization process. We want to share this with others. In the sense of a crisis-driven development, the reorganization initiated a learning process, the results of which we documented in a publication.

The reorganization – a field report

We, an off-space undergo a coaching to reorganize. Do we also go under the risk of over-fitting? Have we arrived at the clearance of our autonomy to an ideal commercial and institutional state? We had to face these questions. Yearningly, we looked back to the lust-driven autonomous art village, which lies wild and free on the fallow land while tired in the bratwurst haze around the campfire.

We want to remain the „elsewhere“, the counter-magic to economic conquest and aesthetic mediocrity. So that it does not become staged magic, we do what’s necessary, then the possible, and then achieve the seemingly impossible. Not burning out or detaching due to inefficient organizational requirements, but rather to a common and demanding search for appropriate forms of reflective expression and presentation. We want to focus our commitment more on the arts and less on administration. That’s why we wanted to improve our organization.

After the first years of laying foundations, it was time to rethink our organization from scratch. We had to find answers to key questions – among them: How can exhibition and project operations be professionalized in the future, while retaining the quality and freedom of an off-space? How can we achieve a stable organizational base that focus on the quality of artistic projects? We sought an approach that helps overcome the balancing act between volunteer work, association membership, free artistic work, and personal livelihood.

The course and its ensuing result of that one-year reorganization process was documented in a three-part publication. On the one hand, it comprehensively traces the development of the geh8 Kunstraum and Atelier e.V., and on the other hand, it describes the challenges and potentialities of a well-balanced production and presentation venues for contemporary art.

Concept Promotion

Planning things and making things are two completely different challenges. Now we are working on making our plans into practice. Since 2017, our plans are practiced with support from the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony.

 

Image (Jasper Kettner): Performance as part of the exhibition „Bahnen“ by Tina Beifuss, Anja Kempe, Isabelle Krieg / 2016


Publication

ON [ ] OFF
Between self-organization and organization – a review

Part 1: Portrait and history of the geh8 Kunstraum and Atelier e.V. (DinA 5, 34 pages)
Part 2: The reorganization process (DinA 5, 26 pages)
Part 3: The o rganization (DinA 5, 42 pages)

The three part publication can be downloaded here.