Dear visitors to 48 Stunden Neukölln!

In a time overshadowed by social upheaval, populism, reactionary mind-sets, great fear and tension, in a time when the underbelly of political and economic systems is increasingly coming to light, we have chosen to incite discussion with a festival theme both ambiguous in meaning and aesthetically provocative.

First proposed by the artist and author Sina Ness, the notion of ‘shadows’ consolidates these phenomena in an incisive way. An essay by the artist can be found on page 7. As in previous years, we selected our annual theme from over 50 suggestions by the festival participants. North-Neukölln, the festival’s ‘venue’, embodies the combination of light and shadow. Time and time again, the district has served as the backdrop to artistic examinations of the conditions determining artistic production, navigating the contested space between politics and society. Neukölln’s reputation has markedly improved – public discussion these days revolves around its creative atmosphere and (in part) hip population – but gentrification and displacement (especially of those who produce art) cast long shadows and feed dark predictions about the future of Neukölln as an artistic haven.

We are pleased that so many international artists living in Berlin (and far beyond) are taking the opportunity to address the public through statements, interventions, and artistic actions during 48 Stunden Neukölln. Around 200 temporary festival locations, as well as art spaces and ateliers, invite you to experience a diverse programme, participate in projects, and learn more about art and the current state of the arts. Our programme booklet, combined with the separate map and mobile-responsive website, provides orientation throughout the festival area. The programme for children, youth and families, JUNGE KUNST NK, can be found in a separate publication and on our website,

We hope that your visit to the festival is filled with inspirational moments and enriching encounters, and wish you an intensive art experience at 48 Stunden Neukölln.


Dr Martin Steffens and Thorsten Schlenger

Festival directors, 48 Stunden Neukölln