Kopf Kino

Kopf Kino

In the spring of 2012 we made a series of experimental excursions into our city, Berlin. Our idea was to activate the potentials of our urban setting; the blank facades, the busy streets, the characters that comprise what we understand as our city.
We designed a tool, an amplifier, that could be animated by the activity of the people in the area. Finding ourselves with limited resources, we turned to improvised, spontaneous methods of fabricating the object. We used a shopping trolley as our main body, and then filled as seemed best all the components necessary for the projection. Borrowed car batteries, projector and laptop, fixed in place with cable ties, and recycled wood, the new era of the amateur professionals is personified! “Kopfkino” is a German term that refers to an imagination left untamed, often magnifying and looping the disturbing thoughts best left dormant.The Kopf Kino amplifies live actions with a camera and projects this action 10x enlarged onto the surrounding building facades. Curious passersby, inhabitants of the space begin to see the power of this object and spontaneously interact with its possibilities. Suddenly they become performers in their normal environment. They are empowered by their discovery and are able to use the object to mediate their role in the production of urban space. Layering the actions and life of the street back onto the structures which in-part form it, has the effect of suspending the reality of the space. 7 teenagers from the Turkish district share images of their family, homes and girlfriends with the passers by on Sonnenalle in Berlin. A young rubbish collector stops to smile, to wave and make fun of the shoppers along Istikal street in Istanbul. In Birmingham, curious couples hesitate to interact with the object, to see their actions played out on the walls of the bank, of the supermarket or office building. The Kopf Kino is both experiment and proposition, the interactions with the object teaching us about the city whilst showing the city itself aspects hidden within its complexity. The motion of the Kopf Kino in real time means that its suspension of reality is only fleeting. For each participant its actions represent a just a moment, a question to think about or an idea to consider. For the documenters, the experiment is experienced as a route through the city, as a sequence of encounters and this allows for another scale of abstraction from its results. For the privileged reviewer, for the exhibition goer or essay reader the project is comparative of multiple urban conditions and in hindsight the findings can be cross-referenced, edited and analyzed. In each case, it is the citizen who is transformed to an amateur expert, entrusted with the responsibility of mediation. Whether performer, interpreter or analyst each role opens up a space for contribution to the shared authorship and production of the city.

Until today Kopf Kino has already been exhibited during the Design Biennal in Istanbul,
Art Spin Berlin, the Venice Design Biennale, the Wired Festival in Milano and has furthermore rolled through the cities of Sarajevo, Birmingham, Berlin, Frankfurt and Mannheim.

A project by Berk Asal, Nicholas Green, Sam Carvalho.
Video by Andrew Bateman