berlin hazing

curator tim goossens talks about curating in the german capital

Tim Goossens is a Europe import to New York whose curatorial work made an appearance in Berlin in the form of "Larger than Love," a temporary exhibit part of the 7th Berlin Biennale. As many questions raised by the Biennal—of provenance and belonging—were left unanswered by the unorthodox format, we caught up with Goossens to learn about his experience as a foreign curator working on a satellite exhibit under the umbrella of the controversial 2012 incarnation of the Biennal.

Alonso Dominguez: Berlin has a knack for annoying foreigners, I hear. It's been said that when you work or move here, the set of rules must be adjusted—from work ethics, to moral boundaries. Do you find this to be true?

Tim Goossens: I am originally from Europe myself, albeit not German, so maybe I don’t have so much of an adjustment problem to a new set of rules. It doesn’t necessarily strike me as that different in any case. In general, I think having lived and worked in New York, or perhaps the US in general, for so long, one gets used to a certain efficiency driven behavior and work ethics, which is something you start doing as well and come to expect elsewhere, which is almost never the case. This is however not always a bad thing—sometimes one realises that better things come from a different pace, and not every message needs an answer within ten minutes. It might often make for happier people that live healthier lives. [Laughs] I must say, though, that having that New York efficiency fully incorporated makes one get so much more done compared to others, but it causes—of course—annoyance if those others don’t move as fast as you want them to.

AD: Flat out: What was your experience with curating "Larger than Love"?

TG: I think for all of us involved—the artists and producee—we started it as a small project created through a mix of circumstances and the passion for each others’ work. And by bringing all of our talent, connections and drive together, we created something that, just like the sculpture, kept growing bigger and bigger. It started with Shony's cloud and then me introducing Lindsay into the project to create the sound.
Given the time frame and geographical distances between the two artists, the producer and myself, a lot was done through our contemporary modes of communications, which of course makes something like this possible at a faster pace. We then also relied on a ground team in Berlin to prep everything before our arrival.

AD: Let's reflect for a minute on "Larger than Love"'s effect in the city. Where did the concept come from? What is the role of a project from "elsewhere" like this one in the Berlin scene?

TG: This is the first time “Larger than Love” has been shown, the two-person project was conceived for this time and space, so perhaps it is not what one could define as being from elsewhere. I don’t really believe one can still think in those terms these days, especially in a city with some many people from all over as Berlin. Lindsay Compton might be originally from France, but has lived in Berlin for many years now, and Shony Rivnay’s main home is in Tel Aviv, but was also in residency at the end of last year. These circumstances make those things [provenance] seem to become vague to define, and hopefully then open up questions about the actual work and not the national origin. As an exercise: how would we define a Polish or Argentinean artist in a KW project for the Biennial, curated by, say, a German curator? As local or as “elsewhere?”

[Image: Installation view of "Larger than Love," courtesy of Tim Goossens and the artists]