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Symbol of a new beginning: Speicher XI A inaugurated

Symbol of a new beginning: Speicher XI A inaugurated

On April 19th, 2023, around 200 guests from the fields of culture, society, politics, and research joined students, faculty, and staff of the HfK Bremen to toast the opening of Speicher XI A. The new building will provide the HfK with a long-awaited, tailor-made extension in Bremen's Überseestadt, which interlocks the fields of art, design, media and music even more closely. Polytope XIa, a large-scale sound and light production, was presented at the opening.

Speicher XI A, with its striking architecture, large window fronts, exhibition and concert hall, is an open and light-flooded building that opens up a wide range of possibilities for studying and teaching and at the same time provides a continuous insight into the work of the university. This will create a new, lively cultural meeting place for Bremen and the Überseestadt.

"Here we can bring design processes to life. Our claim to carry cultural impulses into the city is now taking on new forms in the truest sense of the word," said Professor Roland Lambrette, President of the HfK Bremen in his opening speech. Speicher XI A is like a "permanent shop window" that makes people curious about what is happening at the HfK.

In Speicher XI A, workshops, individual workplaces, exhibition and concert spaces will be created in close proximity, flexible and adaptable to the respective needs. "A design laboratory will develop here, where students and lecturers from all disciplines can meet, cooperate and explore new forms of interdisciplinarity," said Lambrette.

The HfK is a university of seeming opposites. While deeply rooted in the region, the institution is extremely international in its basic orientation. The HfK is spread out over a number of locations throughout the city with significant differences among them, ranging from classicist in Dechanatstraße (Faculty of Music) to floating and contemporary on the Dauerwelle – our exhibition ship on the river Weser – to the Speicher buildings in Überseestadt (Faculty of Art and Design). These different urban contextes are of special quality and create a framework that allows strengthening artistic development among its students on a collective, as well as on the individual level. At the same time, the university continues to face the challenges posed by the distances between campuses.

This is different in Speicher XI A: Through the joint use of the building by both faculties, the Open Lab, the spatial proximity of workstations and workshops, and the large, flexible spaces, Speicher XI A opens up potential that is important for the further development of teaching in the degree programs in Fine Arts, Integrated Design, Digital Media, and Music.

The new space makes it easier to show yourself and your work. The proximity of the exhibition and concert space to the workshops makes it possible to develop, build and present exhibitions and musical productions on site and in their own spaces – not having to transport them to other performance venues, as was previously the case.

The opening event impressively demonstrated the range of topics that can already be worked on simultaneously and jointly in Speicher XI A: the construction of cargo bicycles for special purposes (Hall 3), the design of seating furniture made of wire and art in public space for Bremen's large scale districts (Hall 2) to the "measurement of space" with the sound and light production Polytope XIa (Hall 1).

The HfK Bremen – a cultural think tank

The HfK Bremen brings with it the best prerequisites for driving developments forward as a cultural think tank. "The University of the Arts stands for experimentation, inspiration, open-mindedness and dynamism. With Speicher XI A, it now also has a melting point in Überseestadt where teaching, artistic practice and scientific research can take place together and become visible to all Bremen residents. After all, art and culture are not just ends in themselves, but are there to provide inspiration, draw attention to issues and also to help shape social discourse," said Tim Cordßen-Ryglewski, Deputy Minister for Science and Ports Bremen.

The opening ceremony was moderated by Christina Scheib, curator of the MS Dauerwelle and Speicher XI A. In a conversation with the Dean of the Faculty of Art and Design, Prof. Katrin von Maltzahn, and the Dean of the Faculty of Music, Prof. Dr. Florian Edler, the potentials of the cooperation between the two faculties in Speicher XI A were emphasized. Filling the new premises with life together is a challenge that both faculties are happy to accept.

Dr. Antje Stephan expressly thanked the guest of honor of the evening, Lore Hübotter. She was the wife of the building patron and honorary senator of the HfK Bremen, Professor h.c., Dr. jur. Klaus Hübotter, who died in 2022. Together with her husband, Mrs. Hübotter had made a significant contribution to the construction of Speicher XI A. Speicher XI A was the last building that Hübotter got underway for the university. Klaus Hübotter often made seemingly impossible building projects possible and thus had a significant impact on Bremen's cityscape. Among other things, he was responsible for the renovation as well as the conversion and expansion of Speicher XI as the location of the University of the Arts and the private harbor museum in Überseestadt.

Polytope XIa

For the opening of Speicher XI A, Polytope XIa, a large sound and light production was presented. Students from the faculties of art and design as well as music, together with Dennis Paul (professor of interaction in space), Kilian Schwoon (professor of electroacoustic composition) and Lorenz Potthast (media artist, alumnus and lecturer), explored Iannis Xenakis' "Polytope de Cluny" (1972). At the time, visitors experienced the performances of this early milestone of immersive digital media art in the Roman baths of the Cluny Museum in Paris. Fifty years later, the original sound tracks were reinterpreted on a 3-D loudspeaker setup in Bremen and overlaid with a light installation specially developed for the Speicher XI A. In addition, new spatial sound compositions by HfK students were heard on the days of the event as reactions to Xenakis' world of ideas.

Before the staging, the three lecturers gave an insight into the artistic creative process and tips on how to experience the staging, with its special visual and sound stimuli in interaction with the space.

Eva Hornauer of the Weserkurier judged in her review of April 21st, 2023:
"With light and sound, Polytope XIa transported viewers to a stormy world. Mingled with the howling wind, lightning, and thunder were soft sounds reminiscent of wind chimes."
Through the strengthening of interdisciplinarity, the new opportunities for on-site collaboration and encounters, and networking with urban society, "Speicher XI A is a symbol of a departure, of the development of the role of the HfK and its sense of responsibility towards society. Speicher XI A is a workshop for new thoughts and solutions of the kind that the roof under which they are created is: with teeth, corners and edges. I would like to see not only wood and metal being sawn here, but also conventions and thought patterns," said Roland Lambrette.

About the University of the Arts

Around 1.000 students from more than 50 countries, 89 professors, 83 staff members in administration and over 150 teaching associates make the University of the Arts Bremen (HfK) a vibrant place.

The HfK is a university of seeming opposites. While deeply rooted in the region, the institution is extremely international in its basic orientation. The HfK is spread out over a number of locations throughout the city with significant differences among them, ranging from classicist to floating to contemporary. The HfK is an art university and a university of music at the same time. These parameters form the foundations of the university and create a framework that allows to strengthen artistic development among its students on a collective, as well as on the individual level.

The range of studies offered include Fine Arts, Integrated Design, Digital Media, as well as Musical Education for Artists and Teachers. Since 2020, the HfK also offers a post-graduate program of study, an art- and science-based PhD program with a special focus on Integrated Design and Digital Media.

Open courses, shared conduct of exams, as well as work shops, studios and projects on specific themes all are focussed on fostering dialogue and collaborations. With some 400 events annually the HfK is a pillar of cultural and communal life in the City of Bremen
The relationships among members of the university community, their multi-facetted collaborations, the close knit support provided to students by faculty and staff, as well as the plethora of regional and international cooperations help students grow into strong and distinct personalities. All of this produces works with high impacts on society at large.