Global Prayers – Case Study Berlin

Global Prayers

As part of the project GLOBAL PRAYERS, Raumtausch investigates the transformation of a secular space into a religious space. Which transformation can be experienced during the process of appropriation? Which means and methods are used to stage the religious? Which interventions can be observed? Which elements and objects are used?


The artistic-research project RAUMTAUSCH by Dorothea Nold and Magdalena Kallenberger focuses on religious movements and communities from different christian backgrounds that founded dependancies in Berlin within the last years. These groups are celebrating their service either in secular spaces (café, cinema, nightclub etc.) or as temporary guests in spaces that belong to other communities and churches. All of them are involved in national and global networks and interacting locally with Berlin based social projects.

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Mapping the community
How become these new religious practices manifest in urban space? How are these communities implemented in the social space? How do they interact with other networks and communities?

Exploring the sacred
On video we are documenting how a secular space immerse into a religious space. Which transformation can be experienced during the process of appropriation? Which means and methods are used to stage the religious? Which interventions can be observed? Which elements and objects are used?

The hypothetical initiation of the performance Raumtausch serves as starting point to get in touch with the communities.

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In interviews and personal conversations with our contact persons we investigate how the experience of the Holy can be constructed. We want to know where the encountering of God takes place and which role does architecture, music, rituals, and the concept of community play for the believers.

Documenting the undocumentable
We collect and we observe. We document our observations and reflections with video and sound. Questioning the role of the artist as a researcher, we are leaving the path of scientific measurability and category-analysis by transforming our research material into a mixed-media installation.

Project Partners: Every Nation Church, Berlinprojekt, ICF Berlin, Taizé Gebetskreis, Jesus Freaks Berlin 

performative event and multi-channel video installation

“Drei Stunden dreissig Minuten bis siebzehn Uhr” // Every Nation Kirche bei Rocks Berlin / HD 12’40
“Drei Stunden dreissig Minuten bis siebzehn Uhr” // ICF Friedrichshain im Lovelite / HD 12’00
“Zwei Stunden fünfundvierzig Minuten bis elf Uhr” // Berlinprojekt im Kino Babylon / HD 12’45

Pinhole Camera

Long exposures with the pinhole camera

[tw-column width=”one-half”]For the entire duration of the service, a large-format camera with a pinhole exposed one picture which then reveals the condensation of all features and elements, movements and moods. Although the photograph does not render the music and sounds, it depicts everything that makes up the atmosphere and the alteration of the space. While the moment of the photo is otherwise determined by the intervention of the photographer, in this case it was the atmosphere and the alteration of the space that was recorded by the camera over a period of one-and-a-half hours. When setting up the camera, we had no idea what the resulting picture will look like.[/tw-column]

[tw-column width=”one-half” position=”last”]Time was captured and inextricably woven into what is visible and the movements. There was no shutter release, no mechanical sound. The condensation of time created pictures of “released” experiences. The photographs are metaphors of this process of documenting what cannot be documented and the attempt at capturing a period of time and relating that which is felt, experienced and performed. How does a sacred space evolve? For some, it is the physical alteration of the space, for others the community (documented by the pinhole camera) that is experienced during the service as condensed time, giving rise to a special atmosphere.[/tw-column]

RAUMTAUSCH was exhibited at “The Urban Cultures of Global Prayers” Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK) Berlin November 12, 2011–January 8, 2012 and Camera Austria Graz January 28, 2012–April 1, 2012. Extracts got presented at “Global Prayers Theme Days”, 22. – 26.02. Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin.

The project Global Prayers – Redemption and Liberation in the City – is a transdisciplinary, transregionally comparative research and cultural project which was initiated by metroZones – Center for Urban Affairs e. V. and is executed jointly by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Europa-Universität Viadrina in collaboration with metroZones – Center for Urban Affairs e. V.