Vorspiel 2024

A citywide program by spaces and initiatives around transmediale and CTM festivals































The Vorspiel Collection brings together artworks, films, photo-essays, texts, graphs, images, podcasts, sound experiments, and more.

Image Gallery

Find some impressions of the 2022 opening here.


Our famous interview Staffette has returned! Watch this year's edition featuring a few of the participating spaces of Vorspiel / transmediale & CTM. The 2022 edition marks the 11th anniversary of our initiative and aim to showcase the richness and diversity of Berlin's independent project spaces and artist initiatives.


A look behind the Shared Frame streamed event for Vorspiel 2021 (pandemic edition).


How we got there and how important it was for Panke.

Essay Artwork

Postcards from the Metaverse speculates on the value of the popular 20th century medium – the postcard – in providing accessible and underrepresented perspectives on a newly- hyped infrastructure


Former transmediale artistic director Kristoffer Gansing applies a bit of home-grown numerology to reminisce about the secrets of Vorspiel!


The reSource network has been an extremely valuable resource in the process of establishing and running SPEKTRUM Berlin. It allowed us to connect with like-minded people in the city, to start up new collaborations, and to learn from those facing similar issues in running project spaces.


The essay summarizes the Czech-Brazilian cultural theorist and media philosopher Vilém Flusser’s ideas on the apparatus, codes, and programmed and manipulated society. He ends his texts by highlighting the importance of artists who might be able to play with and against the apparatus and challenge mass media and their preprogrammed functions.


From 2011 to 2014, Tatiana Bazzichelli and a team of others designed a sprawling event program called “reSource transmedial culture Berlin,” which picked up on transmediale-related projects and flung them far further.


Since 2013 designtransfer – the gallery and communicates interface of the Faculty of Design, Berlin University of the Arts (UdK Berlin) and the public – participates yearly at Vorspiel to present various projects as exhibitions, installations, and talks related to their New Media & Design courses.


Watch a digital interview Staffette with some of the participating spaces of Vorspiel / transmediale & CTM. The 2021 edition marks the 10th anniversary of our initiative and aim to showcase the richness and diversity of Berlin's independent project spaces and artist initiatives in collaboration with transmediale.



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Vorspiel: The Before that Empowers What’s to Come

Kristoffer Gansing

“The Master number 11 walks the edge between greatness and self-destruction.” – Hans Decoz, master numerologist at www.worldnumerology.com

In the occult science of numerology, the number 11 is considered to contain special enlightening powers, being one of three double-digit “Master Numbers”. In the German language, 11, like all double-mono-digit numbers (11, 22, 33 etc.), is also known as a “Schnapszahl” and custom has it that a winner of a game who ends up with such a lucky number must give a round of shots.

Another interpretation has it that the Schnapszahl is so called because these numbers remind you of the double-vision that comes with actually drinking too much Schnaps. Both the meanings of the lucky number and the drunken number are adequate for Vorspiel, not least this year when the initiative celebrates its own Schnapszahl anniversary. Avid attendees of the big opening parties of the past will (hopefully) remember the infamous vodka shots that were given to each of the participants of the interview sessions that have been a Vorspiel opening tradition from 2016 onwards. So let’s skip the boring reason for why the 10-year anniversary could not be celebrated in a big way and celebrate that the Schnapszahl could not be a more appropriate anniversary for Vorspiel. In fact, why don’t you, dear reader, now also join me for a vodka or other Schnaps of choice (alcoholic or not), in order to get in the right mood for a trip down the hazy memory lane of Vorspiels past?

Continuing along our dubious numerological path, if we combine the anniversary number 11 with another master number, namely 22 (as in 2022), we get 1122: an “angel number” which is supposed to be a call for growth and progress. According to Willowsoul’s “5 Reasons Why You Are Seeing 11:22 –The Meaning of 1122”, the first step on this journey is to “empower your past”, meaning to retrieve and build on positive memories.

And is this not a highly fitting image of what eventually makes up the strength of a community-based event series like Vorspiel? That it gathers its momentum over time, with recurring participants and/or crazy one-offs – a recurring event open to interpretation each time, yet with a common framework to act within? The special distributed festival model creates a shared narrative and community of people and spaces while staying flexible and unpredictable. NK Project, General Public, LEAP, Mindpirates, PLATOON – these are just some names of no-longer existing spaces that took part in the first editions of Vorspiel in 2012 and 2013. Others such as Panke, Loophole, Apartment Project, Liebig12, and Art Laboratory Berlin are still going strong. Each year some new spaces join while others fall away, either because they close down or do not see themselves in this context any longer. Some opt to return another year. Through this to and fro of people and projects, Vorspiel can also be seen as building a distributed collective memory of the independent (post-) digital culture and sound scene in Berlin.

A more cynical perspective would be that the Vorspiel requires venues to self-exploit in what basically amounts to a promotion scheme for CTM and transmediale, who as payment can only offer the spaces a means to “piggyback” on their big promotion machines. Not counting “DAS Weekend”, which arguably could be counted as the first Vorspiel in 2011, I have been part of the development of Vorspiel since its very start. I don’t think that the relationship between the festivals and the independent spaces is that plainly exploitative, but rather symbiotic. Big festivals don’t really need an off-program or a “network effect” that gives added economic or attention value. Instead, this exchange is about a much needed local connection and feeling to be part of a cohesive community (in all its heterogeneity). This need seems to be a reciprocal one, as both CTM and transmediale often come across as opaque structures that are at least rendered somewhat more accessible and transparent by the Vorspiel interface.

The excessive partying and all-night programming of the Vorspiel openings however, might have clouded memories a bit. Digging into its origins, I recall that it was actually the vodka toastmaster of the Vorspiel openings himself, CTM’s Oliver Baurhenn, who suggested Vorspiel as the name of the pre-festival program back in 2011 (as part of discussions of the reSource platform curated by Tatiana Bazzichelli, a year-round transmediale project into which the first Vorspiel was integrated).

The fact that, after 11 years, Vorspiel is still here and now numbers an incredible 65+ venues, is a testimony to the staying power of this non-institution of Berlin’s diverse and transdisciplinary culture scene. Over the years, attempts have been made to frame this with labels such as digital art/sound and culture, hybrid, experimental, new media, “21st century art”, etc. but the categories seem to keep shifting and are ultimately never fixed. This in itself is cause enough to celebrate Vorspiel 11 in 22, and to continue celebrating it well beyond!

Kristoffer Gansing, Copenhagen, 09.01.22

Kristoffer Gansing was artistic director of transmediale between 2011 and 2020, directing the nine festival editions of 2012-20. He now resides in Copenhagen where he is Professor of Artistic Research and head of The International Center for Knowledge in the Arts at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts.