Finale – Berlin 2023


Das wars! Ende • End • Fin • 结束• Fim • סוף


Conception ETF!

expeditions¹ explorations in aesthetics and sustainability

¹ The exhibition started in 2010 with the title EXAMPLES TO FOLLOW! expeditions in aesthetics and sustainability. Sensitized by the social discussion on colonialism, it became clear that expeditions is a colonial concept. Therefore, instead of ‘expeditions’ we use ‘explorations’. The visibility of the change instead of deletion intends to make the thought process comprehensible.

EXAMPLES TO FOLLOW! ETF! will end at the very place where it started 13 years ago.

Between 2010 and today there lie many thousands of nautical miles and land kilometers of distances, four continents, many anxious hours in ports waiting because of corrupt customs clearance and late arrivals of ships. The 40-foot container has always been the unit of measurement and transport for the entire 13 years, paying attention to a reasonably acceptable ecological footprint from the start. ETF! has become a pioneer of an alternative artistic practice in terms of size, internationality, abundance of artistic approaches. At each new exhibition location we have integrated the respective artistic, scientific and environmental activist competencies, which means that the presentation is constantly changing and condensing. On the travel we showed the works of a total of 128 artists from 27 nations, currently there are still 70 works; 40 of them have been there from the beginning, others have been added in the respective countries and cities to which our explorations have led us. ETF! has made guest appearances in the capitals of Ethiopia, Peru and China, in Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Puebla, Haifa and Jerusalem. 225,000 visitors saw the exhibitions, for which we worked together with 19 project partners at 29 exhibition venues.

So on this last – analogue – station we want to sum up, deepen and discuss what we have experienced and learned so far, what of it is recommended for imitation! is and remains. In this critical and reflective view, we are accompanied by impulses and the questions of the artists and collectives, the ETF! turn off. The works of art currently address a wide range of topics: climate change, biodiversity, plastic pollution, renewable energies, fossil energies and nuclear energy, access to water, rare earths, overexploitation of and sealing of surfaces, sustainable consumption, also old cultural techniques such as the extraction of terra preta, water filtering, recycling and upcycling. In doing so, they sharpen the focus on flight, expulsion, hunger, debt (reduction) and democratization.

The exhibition has become a pioneer of a distinct artistic practice in terms of size, internationality and
richness of artistic methods. At every venue, the particularities of the respective artistic, scientific and environmental activist knowledges were integrated. As a result, the presentation became more condensed.  Each piece already existed and was not just created for a single occasion but was contextualized anew at every single venue. This, too, was and is a sustainable statement against the fast-moving nature of the art market and the short-sightedness of funding practices. Principles of action ETF!

Since ETF!’s started 13 years ago, the preoccupation with the climate disaster, dwindling resources, shrinking biodiversity and actions addressing them has increased significantly in the arts as well as in the political sphere. Lately we can observe artistic institutions implementing gezillion little measures making the institution ecological efficient. However, these measures are only addressing the institutions itself and are not supporting artists engaging with the environmental disaster.

ETF! on the contrary, focused from day one on expanding the individual artistic resonance space, interfering with transformative fields – from urban to material development, from climate theatre to sustainable exhibition concepts – using the means of art, and expanding social perception and imagination for transformation.

In keeping with the principle of the exhibition, further – already existing – artistic positions will be added in the Berlin exhibition integrating the local perspectives and knowledges.

This last venue shows 68 of the artistic positions assembled so far. The chronicle of this journey can be wandered on three Litfass-columns; in the hall hang thoughts that were asked of all 128 artists about what ETF! was and is for them, processed by the artist Nele-Marie Gräber.

We are drawing from the reservoir of voices for a fund of aesthetics and sustainability | FAeS as a basis for workshops, panels and lectures.

The boundaries between art, research and invention become blurred in the experimental arrange-ments of the artists, their inventions and interventions, their architectural and aesthetic reflections. Many of the artistic positions use science and technology for their emergence, while others criticise precisely these. The works revolve around the big and the existential questions of our present times- and all of them provoke and request individual action.

The dramatic changes in our living conditions require the cooperation of the various social forces. It is about preserving, visualising, consciously shaping life, about the active engagement of human beings with their own and the surrounding nature.

We need new ways of thinking, moving and organising to be able to tackle the challenges of our present. This requires permeability and alliances between the arts, sciences, activism and participatory processes. And cooperation projects with an economy that is willing to change.


Uferstraße 8,
13357 Berlin-Wedding

Conception for download

Conception ETF! (2,4 MB)
Version 4.3.2023

At the end of the Berlin exhibition ETF! will continue to live on digitally as the pioneering exhibition
it is through an openly accessible virtual tour. Sustainability does not mean to reinvent the wheel over and over again but to recognize on whose shoulders we stand

ETF! shows the relevance of artistic questions for the genuinely cultural challenges of global dislocation and relies on the transformative power of art, on its imaginative capacity as one of its inexhaustible resources.

For the radical transformation, we need the permeability of artistic, scientific and the knowledges of social movements; this requires leaving the silos of art, culture and science, which stand disconnected next to the other silos. We need to think bigger in terms of cultural policy. And we need visions for a sustainable life that can be combined with sensuality, the desire and passion of one’s own actions.

The exhibition demonstrates the urgency and the necessity of expanding perceptions with the cultural-political goal to create a fund for aesthetics and sustainability. Berlin as a driving force? Everything necessary for this is available in this city, it just needs to be linked, for this we need vessels that enable and cultivate cooperation, we need a fund for aesthetics and sustainability.