Jakob Kudsk Steensen’s new commission and first exhibition in Berlin transforms the Halle am Berghain into a portal leading to a world where lost marshlands and extinct species are revived. The immersive exhibition evokes Berlin’s origins as a marshland, formed by a glacial valley over 10,000 years old.
Artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen (born 1987 in Denmark) uses animation, mixed reality (MR) and virtual reality (VR) to reinterpret little-noticed or lost ecosystems. His installations invite viewers to transcend temporal and spatial boundaries to explore with all their senses natural worlds that would otherwise remain hidden. The installation commissioned by LAS in the Halle am Berghain allows visitors to experience the local landscape over time. The work focuses on Berlin’s origins in the marshy landscape of the glacial valley, which was formed more than 10,000 years ago.
Kudsk Steensen’s projects are rooted in extensive field research and collaboration with biologists, historians, composers and writers. For the new commissioned work, Kudsk Steensen explores wetlands such as the Spreewald region and documents their ecosystem and soil layers. The artist is also working with the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, using their extensive archives of extinct species and sounds of insects and amphibians from Berlin and the surrounding areas. In collaboration with sound composer Matt McCorkle and singer Arca, Kudsk Steensen also created a melody for the landscape, following the past cultural practice of singing songs when crossing the swamp or sharing stories and myths with others. Arca’s voice and her singing blend with the ambient sounds from the marshes – including the sounds of the amphibians native to the area.
By combining his records from the wetlands with research on extinct species, the artist manages to build a bridge between us and the history beneath our feet – Kudsk Steensen describes this as “touching time”. In this way, he transforms the Halle am Berghain into a portal in which relics of the Ice Age are connected with today’s marshes and lost worlds are revived in the here and now.