Newsletter September 2019

What would Alexander von Humboldt’s 250th birthday
(14 September 2019) wish have been?

This last summer brought again burning questions to the fore: Are extreme hot temperatures established as the new norm? Is the burning of the earth’s lungs and biodiversity ark becoming daily news?

As the effects of climate change are showing up faster and sooner than forecasted, what would Alexander von Humboldt, he who saw anthropogenic climate change coming more than 200 years ago, think?

Hybrid Space Lab is launching an evocative, visuals-powered campaign to envision alternative scenarios responding to and informed by current, pressing events, catastrophes and crises, in a bid to open up spaces for imagination and creative, groundbreaking ideas to re-signify the Humboldt Forum and its history-laden meaning.

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Humboldt
Jungle

14. September 2019 marks Alexander von Humboldt’s 250th birthday – and yet, the Humboldt Forum bearing the name of the Berlin-born explorer, geographer and naturalist lies unfinished.

The Humboldt Forum is being developed without any foresight of green space, apparently lacking awareness and stewardship for issues related to climate (change) and biodiversity (loss). This is paradoxical when considering that Alexander von Humboldt pioneered concepts of sustainability, developing ideas on the interconnectedness of nature and human-induced changes to the ecosystem.
 
Opening in phases of the Humboldt Forum has been once more delayed by ten months at least , starting from September 2020, prolonging the ongoing construction site. As the race against time – and budget – to deliver the controversial, multi-million Humboldt Forum project continues, Hybrid Space Lab invites you to pause and think about the possible alternatives to re-signify it.

Humboldt Jungle envisions a hanging garden with lianas covering the Prussian palace and a tropical forest on its roof. By “letting grass grow over”, Humboldt Dschungel paves the way to reconcile the site’s layered historical wounds whilst referencing the Alexander von Humboldt’s discoveries and contributions to botanical sciences.

Humboldt
Volcano

A lush, crystalline vertical garden opening up onto the city and at the same time, inviting people into the palace is the concept behind Humboldt Volcano – a self-sufficient and self-regulating ecosystem offering relief against extreme heat waves as well as shelter for visitors and its rare vegetation from Berlin’s winter.

Humboldt Vulkan, a place which, through its “parcours” immersed in nature and yet in dialogue with the urban surroundings, helps dwellers and visitors engaging with Humboldt’s legacy, biodiversity awareness and the interaction between nature and architecture. 
 
*Is there space for freedom and appropriation?
*How can we open up Humboldt Forum for engagement, moving past the impasse?
*How can re-signification reflect and make justice to Humboldt’s legacy?

To allow for imaginative and creative re-thinking and re-signifying of the Humboldt Forum, Hybrid Space Lab’s visuals-powered campaign lets alternative scenarios unfold. Evocatively and provocatively, such visionary narratives respond to the urgent matters and challenges we need to rise up to.
 
Hybrid Space Lab invites engagement and participation to a creative journey – how does an alternative future of Humboldt Forum look like? Where to from the present impasse?
 
Through visual, hybrid storytelling, the aim is to crack open the stuck and biased dialogue and dare to think creatively – and anew – about an ongoing, multi-layered urban debate. Do you dare?

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