Critics’ Picks

View of “Auto-Kino!,” 2010.

View of “Auto-Kino!,” 2010.

Berlin

“Auto-Kino!”

Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin
Schlossfreiheit 1, Schlosplatz
February 5–March 14, 2010

Responding to the psychic drain of Berlin’s unremitting winter, Phil Collins’s latest project, “Auto-Kino!,” transforms the Temporäre Kunsthalle into a playful drive-in cinema for which viewers reserve spots by the hour via a telephone hotline. The dusky gallery’s spectacular installation—fifteen vehicles facing a screen, complete with refreshment stand in the corner—lures visitors into a participatory realm only to permit an immediate withdrawal into the relative privacy of individual cars. The show is not all surface, however. In collaboration with Siniša Mitrović (his partner in the production company that administers his participant-based video works), Collins has curated a bursting program—timed to coincide with the Berlinale film festival—lasting approximately eight hours per day and comprising screenings of film and video by seventy-three artists and filmmakers from the 1930s to the present.

At the same time that he re-creates this iconic symbol of American suburban entertainment in the middle of Berlin, Collins also traces the city’s rich cinematic history. Berlin is the setting for several films screened, ranging from a feature set among post–World War II ruins to Marcel Broodthaers’s 1974 Berlin oder ein Traum mit Sahne (Berlin or a Dream with Cream), which records scenes from the artist’s daily life in West Berlin. Berlin-based filmmakers are also strongly represented, among them Harun Farocki, Christian Jankowski, Anri Sala, and Hito Steyerl. Some entries allude to the drive-in’s seamier side, including a world premiere from queer-porn cult fixture Bruce LaBruce. Acknowledging that viewers may visit with varying agendas, Collins says he hopes the venue will spur some to indulge their own lustful inclinations. Perhaps this highly produced festival is really an elaborate ruse to support the artist’s ongoing probe of the slippage between representation and the real.

An exhibition by Phil Collins is also currently on view at daadgalerie until March 20.