deep states

BBB_(Alla Popp & Alex Traka)
Korhan Erel
Gosia Lehmann
Lukas Liese
Kristina Paustian
ZUGANG Kollektiv (Bruno Siegrist, Ada Kopaz, Can Kurucu, Tama Ruß)

Image: Viktor Schmidt

09/09/2021, 4–9 pm

09/09/ – 21/11/2021

Exhibition Curation
Maja Smoszna

Events Curation
Lara Huesmann, Annika Maus and Lusin Reinsch


The term ‘deep state’ in its original meaning refers to a belief in a conspiracy, a secret shadow cabinet that secretly rules the world. Meanwhile, the term ‘deep states’ holds a second meaning, referring to certain moods or emotional states. In the exhibited works, the invited artists explore critical and dystopian scenarios, as well as feelings of powerlessness, mistrust or “fear of the other” – feelings which have become increasingly apparent during the current pandemic.  Can these emotional states and stances be understood as variants of a ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’? This philosophical concept, which can be traced back to Paul Ricœur, can be used to describe a particular attitude that many have adopted during the pandemic, in which the available information is permanently met with scepticism. 

Suspicion is a high-arousal emotion that can certainly cause particular content to go viral. Just like the story of the supposedly high-ranking military officer, who allegedly since 2017 has made it his mission to spread the QAnon conspiracy theory on the internet. Conspiracy theories tend to surface and proliferate in times of crisis. In the case of a catastrophe, a tragedy or a pandemic, certain groups or individuals are blamed on an emotional basis for incomprehensible events – even though the origin of many crises lies beyond what can be logically explained. Cultural theorist Lauren Berlant points to the AIDS epidemic which occurred not so long ago. The spread of the HIV virus is still accompanied by conspiracy narratives and attempts at explanations that lead nowhere. Berlant notes that the term ‘epidemic’ is never “a neutral description” and that thinking about a widespread infectious disease in one or more communities always raises questions of classification, causality, responsibility and decay.

The exhibition explores the emotive backgrounds of conspiracy narratives in a place – the Köllnischer Park – that itself was once (in 1825) administered by the Masonic lodge called “Zu den drei Weltkugeln” (“To the three globes”). By designing the park to include an orangery, a temple, a pyramid and a labyrinth, the lodge members created a mysterious atmosphere that can still be felt at Bärenzwinger today. In the context of the exhibition, the unusual interior of the former bear pit has been transformed into a multi-layered labyrinth in which critical approaches towards knowledge are interwoven with affective images. The labyrinth stands metaphorically for unmanageable circumstances that are difficult to categorise, as well as for the search for solutions and answers to questions about its beginning and end, and in extension our unknown and unconscious future.


BBB_ (Alla Popp & Alex Traka) is a digitally advanced music and performance artist duo that confronts audiences with utopian and dystopian worlds where the boundaries between the human and the digital seem to merge.

Instagram @allapopp @alextraka

Korhan Erel

Korhan Erel creates electronic music and sound art. Erel treats the computer and electronics as instruments that coexist with conventional instruments in free improvisation and other musical genres. Erel often uses field recordings, found sounds or synthesised sounds in instrument designs and sound art projects. 

Erel’s music shifts between free improvisation, conceptual sound performances and also structured and composed pieces. Erel presents sound art projects in group and solo exhibitions and also collaborates with visual artists in performances.


Gosia Lehmann

Gosia Lehmann studied at Central Saint Martin’s College in London and at the Berlin University of the Arts. Her works move between video, scenography and sound. She often works with performative and participatory formats. In 2019, she co-founded the art collective Lagoon Parliament, a platform and network established for the independent scene in Berlin. 

Her work has been presented at the following Berlin venues, among others: Kunsthaus KuLe, at 2 OG in the Alte Münze, the Museum für Naturkunde and the Akademie der Künste.


Lukas Liese

Lukas Liese studied free art/sculpture at the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin and at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, USA. In his sculptural work, Liese mainly uses stone. Over the years, he has created a wide variety of works that have this material in common. Through the presence of stone in space, its geological properties and its significance in art and cultural history, Liese builds up an interaction between the content of his works and the material.

In 2018, Liese was awarded the Mart Stam Prize for his graduation work at the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin. In 2020, Liese received the Elsa Neumann Scholarship from the State of Berlin.


Kristina Paustian

Kristina Paustian explores cultural anthropological and socio-political themes in her work. She is a co-founder of the Medienkunstverein (mkv), which works towards the promotion of contemporary art with new media, dedicated to the development of experimental narrative- and exhibition formats.

Paustian’s work has been shown at Les Rencontres Internationales Festival, Arsenal Berlin, Visions du Réel International Film Festival, Torino International Film Festival, Odessa Biennale, Athens Biennale, Tashkent Biennale and the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.


ZUGANG Kollektiv

ZUGANG collective members – Bruno Siegrist, Ada Kopaz, Can Kurucu and Tama Ruß – studied fine arts at the Berlin University of the Arts, among others, and work across the fields of film, photography, performance and sculpture. They are interested in the city, its inhabitants and relationships. 

The central theme of their artistic practice is their research into the political dimension of images and the power of relations in public space..

Bruno Siegrist
Can Kurucu

»The double«

Holly Childs & Gediminas Žygus (Hydrangea)

10.–12.09.2021 Bärenzwinger, everyday at 19 Uhr & 20 Uhr

Within the frame of the festival Easterndaze x Berlin 2021

»The Double« will be experienced as a walk-through listening session at the Bärenzwinger on 10, 11 and 12 September 2021. Admission is free.

Between 10 and 12 September, the Bärenzwinger invites you to the concert performance “The Double” at 7 and 8 pm. »The Double« is an immersive music installation by the artist duo Holly Childs & Gediminas Žygus (Hydrangea), taking place as part of the Easterndaze x Berlin festival. Easterndaze is a platform that connects community-oriented radio projects from Central and Eastern Europe and organises annual digital and on-site events to connect local music scenes internationally.

The artist duo Holly Childs & Gediminas Žygus explores the history of European colonial gardens in their work. Visitors will be guided through the evening by two performers. In the performance»The Double«, botanical gardens are critically reflected upon by questioning them as places of hidden violence, appropriation and destruction.

The work is presented on the outside terraces of the building and deals with the history of Köllnischer Park, which was privately administered as a garden and park in the 19th century by a Masonic lodge, among others, and was transformed into an aesthetic landscape according to their designs. The artistic intervention»The Double«is now transforming once again, through music and installative elements, the place that until 2015 served as an enclosure for the Berlin city bears.

»Songs of Cyborgeoisie«

Concert performance

Admission 7 pm
Concert 7.30 pm

The concert will take place on an outdoor terrace of the Bärenzwinger. Admission is free.

Access according to the 3G regulation for those tested – negative antigen test not older than 24h, vaccinated or recovered.

The music and performance artist duo BBB_ (Alla Popp & Alex Traka) confronts the audience with utopian and dystopian worlds in which the boundaries between the human and the digital seem to merge. The performance extends the computer game designed by BBB_ “Songs of Cyborgeoisie. The Game”, which is part of the current exhibition “deep states” at Bärenzwinger.

The project explores how technological dystopian fears influence the imagination about the future. The audience can expect a one-hour interactive performance with narrative electronic live music that invites them to take an audio-visual journey through immersive science fiction worlds. Visitors are immersed in the perspectives of various technological, organic or fantastic beings. The performance questions the technological status quo in order to create new future scenarios.

With live vocals and spoken word by Alla Popp and live guitar by Alex Traka.

Game visuals by BBB_ in collaboration with Simon Kein and Lixing Yang, with costume design by Sarah Ama Duah and hybrid choreographic concept by Katja Cheranaeva.

Note: Strobe lights and fog may be used during the event.  


»The fat dreams of an Eastern bear«

Viviana Druga

Admission 6 pm

The performance will take place on an outdoor terrace of the Bärenzwinger. Admission is free.

Access according to the 3G regulation for those tested – negative antigen test not older than 24h, vaccinated or recovered.

In her performance “The fat dreams of an Eastern bear“ Viviana Druga takes visitors on a journey to channel the energy of the Ukranian bear, a distant cousin of the Berlin bear. Fat as a materialized power source is a medicine used in archaic cultures centering bears throughout Eastern Europe.

By using “bear fat vapors”, the ritualista offers healing to the participants, while enabling them to connect with nature.

What is the significance of rituals in contemporary life? How can spiritual practices help to connect with nature and with oneself – and how can we reflect on them?

“Art for me is a magical activity, a ritual that could help subjects (people) discover new dimensions of themselves.” Viviana Druga

In her work Romanian artist Viviana Druga explores the relationship of nature and humans, using ritual practices touching upon issues like healing, rebirth and feminine aesthetics.

With this performance, Viviana Druga invites visitors to discuss contemporary healing practices and their relation to ritual, tradition and heritage.

»Portal to the Other Realms«

Gosia Lehmann

Gosia Lehmann

6-8 pm

There will be 3 time slots for 8 persons each. 

Access according to the 2G regulation for vaccinated or recovered persons.

Starting point: Wall Street (Wallstraße 57 in front of Brazilian Embassy)

Please be on time!

In her experimental lecture-performance “Portal to the Other Realms” Gosia Lehmann invites the audience into the Blue Chamber: an extra-dimensional space inhabited by ’Angels-of-sweet-deals’, who will be your guides through the evening. The audience will get to make decisions about the narratives of the performance. But be aware: a choice can’t be undone and a story can never be told twice.

“Portal to the Other Realms” is part of Gosia Lehmann’s “Divine Interventions <–> Force Majeure” – an ongoing series of works exploring the idea of economic shamanism and how the business of future forecasting evolved from esoteric and ritualistic believes into a corporate industry.

The performance will take place in English. Admission is free. Registration is required and the number of participants is limited. 


Concept: Gosia Lehmann
Performers: Rosanna Graf & Maryna Makarenko
Production assistance: Valerian Blos
Sound: Gabriel Kleber
3D renders: Hsiangfu Chen

Finissage with Zugang Kollektiv

Zugang Kollektiv
Finissage & Community

6-8 pm

Access according to the 2G regulation for vaccinated or recovered persons.

The Zugang Kollektiv (Bruno Siegrist, Ada Kopaz, Can Kurucu and Tama Ruß) invites to the “Performative Encounter with Soup and Fire Substitute” on the second to last evening of the exhibition.

Over soup, fire substitute and music, the Zugang Kollektiv will engage with the audience of the Bärenzwinger.

In the course of the evening, the gathering will be framed by gestures and performative interludes. In this way, possible proposals about the course of the evening will emerge.

Surprise guests have also already announced themselves, among others:

“The Radically Other”
Lecture Performance
Anonymised Telegramchat Querdenker

With Paja Burgess, Rydiger Benterbusch, Ken-und-Barbie-Hollihore, Antonia Benterbusch, Lara Kitzig.

It will be possible to (partly) experience the exhibition at the same time. Please register in advance and bring your warmest overalls.

The performative gathering will take place in German and English.

Admission is free.