Towards a more sustainable institution
2023 marked the beginning of a new chapter for the nGbK in various respects: in addition to the move, the nGbK set out to position itself more clearly in sustainability discourses and to use its multiplier effect as an art institution. Through artistic-curatorial work, an aesthetic of sustainability is to be developed on a human, non-human, social, economic, and ecological level, opening up new perspectives on future forms of coexistence.
For the project SALT. CLAY. ROCK. (2023-2024), nGbK received funding from the “Fonds Zero” of the German Federal Cultural Foundation, a funding that aims to support cultural institutions in testing climate-neutral forms of cultural production and new aesthetics with the lowest possible carbon-footprint. To this end, project-related emissions are to be avoided, reduced, or compensated according to nationally or internationally certified standards.
Tackling the pasts and futures of nuclear infrastructures in Germany and Hungary and thus linking the topics of climate and nuclear power, the project presented its first results in a research assembly in November 2023. Activists, artists, researchers, and thinkers here shared their insights on nuclear cultural heritage, anti-nuclear resistance, energy futures, and the ‘green transition’, illustrated by a research display in the exhibition space.
In addition, the “Fonds Zero” funding made it possible to create the position of a climate officer, who prepares a climate balance sheet for the entire institution and looks for potential savings in emissions. As one of the first concrete measures adopted in summer 2023, the nGbK voted for a ban on flights for routes that can be covered in less than eight hours by train.
Similarly, the move to Karl-Liebknecht-Straße was all about sustainability. The space in an existing building from the 1970s was reconstructed in an environmentally friendly manner. With a view to future reuse, interventions in the existing building were kept to a minimum and spatial interventions were reduced to the essentials – a decision that hints at the interim use of the building and keeps resource consumption low. Ecological materials such as straw panels and clay were used for all new installations.
The façade work living elements by Folke Köbberling also uses recycled materials. Geometrical objects made of wood and raw wool attached to the outside of the building, reminiscent of the letters nGbK, provide a nesting place for birds. The curtain HEXAGON on the window front, created by Köbberling in collaboration with Alexa Kreissl, makes use of discarded drinks cartons – towards a more sustainable materiality.