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General information about U10, NGBK’s public art project on the Berlin Underground

U10 - from here to the imaginary and back again presents the Berlin Underground network as a parallel underground world. Routine yet full of secrets, the Underground acts as a mirror of Berlin’s history and as a seismograph of the city’s current feel. As part of an international public art competition, eight projects have been selected to explore the Berlin underground as a real and as an imaginary world. Four will be realised in 2009.

The name U10 refers to a line on the Berlin Underground which was originally conceived in the 1930s but, due to the end of the Cold War, was never been finished. Today it remains derelict, consisting of fragments of tunneling and abandoned, incompleted stations. The U10 line’s unknown existance (or non-existance) and its fantastical and historical qualities as a mystical place and a relic of divided Berlin offer the artists a number of points of approach.

From 300 applications to the U10 international open competition, eight artistic projects were
selected to explore the Berlin Underground network as a real place and an imaginary world. Projects by Roland Boden, Katharina Heilein, Yuka Oyama & Axel Ruoff, Grit Ruhland und Evi Kruckenhauser will be realised in the coming months. The collaborations between the selected artists, BVG staff of various professions and other Underground experts sets U10 within the context of an art practice acting in the interest of society and bringing art discourse into new social realms.

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Rae Spoon (CA) & Alexandre Decoupigny (D)
„What are you waiting for?“

CD-production and Live Music in Underground stations

Musicians and sound artists Alexandre Decoupigny & Rae Spoon will be playing songs at Schlossstrasse Station on 15th October from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. about the dreams and ambitions of Underground passengers. Their performance and CD "What are you waiting for?“ is the result of a careful inquiry into the desires and wishes of those waiting on platforms. Produced in collaboration with the BVG bus driver Georg Burkard and the former BVG engineer Wolfgang Adam and numerous members of the public.

Further performances in Underground stations:

14th October
8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Kleistpark (Potsdamer/Grunewaldstr. exit)
4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Potsdamer Platz (U2 platform)

15th October
8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Innsbrucker Platz (opposite supermarket)
6. p.m. to 8 p.m. Schloßstr. (opposite supermarket) (during U10 opening)

16th October

10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Wittenbergplatz (main hall)
4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Alexanderplatz (near U5, Kongresshalle exit)


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Simon Grennan & Chris Sperandino
„Invisible City / unsichtbare Stadt“

from 15th October to 31st December 2009

Comic Portraits about night staff on station billboards, in the „Plus“ passenger magazine and in the „Berliner Fenster“ in-train TV programme.

Simon Grennan & Christopher Sperandio's U10 project "Invisible City“ consists of ten comic portraits they have made about night workers on the Underground. One of the comic portraits will be shown on a billboard at Schlossstrasse Underground Station (U9 platform, direction „Rathaus Steglitz“) from 15th to 23rd October. Others will be shown at Kottbusser Tor Station (U8 platform, direction „Hermannstr.“), in the BVG passenger magazine „Plus“ and on the BVG's in-train TV programme, „Berliner Fenster“ from October to December. In collaboration with BVG, Sasse Traffic Logistic GmbH, Yadigar Flower Shop, Enis Bakery and others.


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Hans Polterauer

15th to 28th October 2009

Video in „Berliner Fenster“, the BVG’s in-train TV programme.

Hans Polterauer's video piece creates an imaginary connection to the Berlin Underground from his garden in the Austrian countryside. It evokes themes of city and countryside, periphery and centre. It can be seen on the BVG's in-train TV programme, „Berliner Fenster“, daily from 15th to 28th October (Mon. to Fri. from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and Sat./Sun. from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).


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Roland Boden
„The Kronos Project“

On thursday 12th November 2009, 7:30 p.m.

Research and multimedia-installation. Innsbrucker Platz Underground Station
(entrance from U4 platform)

The Kronos-Projekt, also known as the Steglitz Deceleration Train, is an experiment with time travel which began in 1926. A transformed, extremely slow moving Underground train with 8 passengers has apparently been travelling on the Underground in the Steglitz area of Berlin for over 30,500 days. In that period, this time machine has advanced 317 meters, in a time span that has appeared to its occupants to be only 7 hours. On 12th November the incompleted, publically inaccessible station on the once planned U10 line will be the site of a public presentation of the Kronos-Projekt. An attempt will be made to contact the experimentees via audio. A video projection and a sound installation will give an insight into the dimension of the experiment which has been ongoing since the twenties but remains almost unknown.

Installation in Potsdamer Platz Underground Station
(staff room windows on U2 platform during station opening hours)

After the attempt in mid-November in Innsbrucker Platz station to reconstruct the Kronos-Machine as an animation and to contact the passengers acoustically, U10 nows presents a comprehensive documention and a 1:10 scale model of the Kronos-Machine on the U2 line platform in Potsdamer Platz station. From 10.12.09 to 17.01.2010 (accessible during station opening hours).


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Katharina Heilein
„Construction Time Again“

On 10th Dezember 2009, at 8:30 p.m.

Research, and multimedia-installation

In 1983, negotiations between West Berlin City Council, East Berlin/DDR and the Allies led to a change of ownership of the S-Bahn (local trains) in West Berlin. The DDR passed ownership over to the West Berlin Underground Company (BVG). As a result, the BVG cancelled its plans to build Underground lines parallel to the previously DDR-owned S-Bahn line. The construction of the U10 line was therefore abandoned at this point, leaving various incompleted stations and tunnels. 26 years later, Katharina Heilein has invited witnesses of these developments to recall the curiosities of the DDR-owned, run-down S-Bahn lines in West Berlin and to reimagine the potential of the abandoned U10 line.

In 2010, her project 'Construction Time Again - Phase 2' will invite the public to help her build a model of the imaginary U10 line.


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Yuka Oyama & Axel Ruoff
„Modern Fairy Tales – the Berlin Underground“

Workshops, Questionare, Video and Installation

The artists have been collecting experiences, fantasies and thoughts from BVG staff about their work in the underground since November 2009. Based on these stories, Oyama and Ruoff are producing puppets and props for a short film illustrating a magical side to the Underground. In collaboration with the Underground Drivers' Training School.
Final presentation: Nov. 2010


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Grit Ruhland

Workshop and Performance

BVG staff and Underground passengers participating in the Sound Choir will work on the perception, reprocessing and interpretation of sounds on the Underground. In collaboration with the artist and a musician, the choir will perform interpretations, pieces, canons and gestures live in station entrances. Participants welcome! Write to
Final presentation: October 2010


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Evi Kruckenhauser
„Stereo sehen“


Evi Kruckenhauser is planning to show her ?Stereo-Sehen" video work on a train on the U2 line between Alexanderplatz and Gleisdreieck. On a split screen passengers will see the journey they are making both underground and overground simultaneously. While below ground the camera travels the U2 tunnel, above ground it moves through a busy street, a house facade and a living room!
In collaboration with the BVG Department for ?Operation and Technical Coordination".
Final presentation: Winter 2010


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