B _ Tour Berlin, an “international art festival of guided tours”, ran from 8-10 August, moving on to Belgrade from 26-28 September. An interview with Artconnect Berlin and article in Exberliner give good spiel, but in practice artiness may well have been on a sliding scale, as at #metropolis13:
On a route through the public space, a guide leads an audience along a narrative and is therefore a narrator interpreting the urban space. A B_Tour generates an interaction between a guide, an audience and a space. B_Tours are engaging in the sense that they call for participation and enable exchange. A B_Tour questions the convention of a guided-tour and challenges its format. It is conscious of the existence of multiple narratives and truths therefore it does not provide “The True” perception of a space. A B_Tour is not a spectacle. It is not a conventional touristic “alternative city tour”.
Guiding lights are “an exciting group of young women from all over Europe and its surroundings. We are a young and enthusiastic team, in our twenties or early thirties, at the beginning of our professional careers”…could maybe do with a bit of native English copywriting assistance and general adjective pruning. See the list of tours (15 presented by 26 artists/urbanists from 12 countries), events on Facebook, discussion panels. Twitter: @B_Tour_Festival but little action traced…something may come along on the lines of the review of walking inspired events at the Edinburgh festivals shortly, although as acknowledged “there is a tension between capturing a moment permanently and the ephemeral act of walking”.
Taps into all the contemporary memes, eg slow food (Field of sensibilities in the community gardens of the Tempelhofer Feld), climate change (Microclimate mapping), urban nature (Strays), but rather too much play and headphone wearing involved. Smart walking?
Tours I would have been tempted to participate in, were I lucky enough to be living in Berlin:
- Audiodrom – audio walk through the Velodrome Park, “surrounded by tall grey buildings and housing blocks, an artificial green plateau with apple trees and wild high grass plateau which appears out of nowhere, like a surreal oasis”
- B-B – Berlin and Belgrade, “two cities that have much in common but are yet so different. The tour will take you through two cities at once: one visited ‘live’ and the other presented interactively through visual and audio material, showing some surprising similarities and highlighting the transformations taking place. Can we feel one city while walking through another?”; see also have you ever been to Belgrade? and B-mapping Belgrade
- The Berlin Circle Audio Walk – from the Berliner Ensemble to Checkpoint Charlie and the Pergamon Museum with dialogue from Charles Mee’s Berlin Circle, a collage-like collection of events set on 9 November 1989
- Die Wohning – exploring Berlin’s Bauhaus settlement; see vid
Some examine the city in terms of memory, others in terms of movement, and still others in terms of microclimate; but regardless of their particular subject or approach, each tour has the potential to unlock some of the magic hiding within the urban spaces of Berlin.