When all culture has become mass culture, when every thought is made sensual, when everyone is a performer, a content creator, a projector, finding something worth expressing is a terrifying feat. Visual art, fashion, and text begin to blur into a single stream of collective consciousness that knows no past or present, and renders itself incapable of birthing anything genuinely new. Seconds after exposure, every idea is already a trope, every story already verbiage, and every image an imitation of something that came before. And because new media has a way of looping ourselves right back to ourselves, it seems we are largely feeding on our own excretions, shouting into private echo chambers as soon as we raise our voice.
Perhaps the only opportunity to intercept our creative feedback loops are those rare moments when two of them collide: when we are forced to encounter another, when we engage in a syndetic exchange of ideas, when we come together in the physical making of a work. Those are the moments that we want to spawn and capture. Those are the moments that made us create Gruppe. We believe that only from the friction of creative collaboration, innovation grows. We believe that only from a place of convergence can something genuinely novel emerge.
Berlin is both haven and bubble. It’s small, still small, and the scene of art and fashion can seem wholly solipsistic. But because of its economic impotence, it remains a catalyst of collusion unlike any other city in Europe, uniting vast amounts of creative potential within its narrow confines. Too often, our coming together is limited to nights of sweaty collective ecstasy, to addled exchanges in club bathrooms, to connection in passing. What if there was a point of contact beyond all that?
We want to be that point of contact. We want to be a space that allows for creating with rather than creating for, that brings together all those who work from the fringes, from in between, from deep down below. We set out to build Gruppe as a platform for collaboration, an anthology of the weird, an exhibition space for collectivity, and we hope it breeds works of art that are strange and beautiful and relevant in the process.
Our cultural common ground is ever expanding, and the dividing lines between its domains are liquefying. In the near future, there will be no genres and no genders. There will be no distinction between theory and praxis, between given and made, between real and fake. Art will be text and text will be painting and painting will be fashion. Berlin will be a denationalized metropolis of freelancers and creators. What’s left to do than to embrace the total dissolution of culture? It is up to us to build enclaves of immanence from its amorphous mass, to attempt building subculture in full daylight. It’s up to a new generation to save itself from inherited precarity and trade the dogma of individualism for the promise of radical togetherness.
And perhaps it’s all been done before. And perhaps it isn’t for you. And perhaps it will be metabolized as quickly as anything released into the current of online. But that doesn’t matter. There’s value in the process of bringing into existence. There’s value in those moments of convergence. There’s value in making together.
Words by Nele Ruckelshausen