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Funplaces in the Arena Berlin: photo fun and creativity with a twist

Lots of opportunities to take your own photos, experiment with new motifs and showcase your own creativity to perfection: This is what the Funplaces offer from 2 to 4 September in the Arena Berlin, the centrepiece of this year’s BERLIN PHOTO WEEK. Renowned artists will enchant the audience with installations that will inspire and, among other things, open up new photographic perspectives. All information and tickets at berlinphotoweek.com.

One of the main goals of the BERLIN PHOTO WEEK is to get people excited about photography and about taking photos. The numerous fun places in the Berlin Arena not only encourage people to be creative, to take unusual photos and cool selfies, but they also address current topics such as sustainability and energy. Visitors can literally “take a picture” with their own smartphone, their own camera or one of the cameras that can be borrowed free of charge in the Arena Berlin during the BERLIN PHOTO WEEK, for example from Leica, Nikon or Sony, supplemented by extensive lens ranges from the companies Tamron and Sigma.

The 2.5-metre-high Berlin Bear (see picture), one of the most famous landmarks of the German capital, was artistically & exclusively painted for the BERLIN PHOTO WEEK by the Belarusian illustrator Alex Zhaliba (fled from Belarus and came to Berlin via Moscow, Hurghada and Prague). With numerous quotations from the world of photography and society and equipped with a camera, the larger-than-life “Buddy Bear” is one of the special eye-catchers at the entrance to the Arena Berlin.

“New to Reality” is the name of the exciting project by the Ukrainian agency FFFACE.ME for the BERLIN PHOTO WEEK, consisting of four interactive zones. The “Art/AR Gallery” area consists of an exhibition of artworks created through a filter developed by FFFACE.ME exclusively for BERLIN PHOTO WEEK. Via QR codes, visitors can try out this special image effect for themselves. In this way, you can not only see the photos of other photographers, but also take your own photos through the AR (Augmented Reality) filter. This sounds complicated, but in practice it is quite simple. As is another Funplace consisting of 9 AR mirrors: On each of the TV and iPad mirrors, there will be different filters that allow participants to see themselves in different augmented realities. The next part is also sensational: semi-digital clothing. In this area, there will be four physical mannequins with semi-digital clothing spreading content on social media. To see the effect, users scan QR codes and point their smartphones at the individual garments. They take pictures, share the images on social media – and get “wow wow wow” reactions from their followers. “New realities” are also shown by the agency and artist collective in the virtual: Stars will fall from the sky in reverse mode, you will meet yourself and a city will split in two – a deliberate and intended reference by the authors to the current state of war in their home country Ukraine.

left: Artist Alex Zhaliba producing the BPW photo bear, photo: Anna-Maria Seifert

right: The Dixons – street art video installation, photo: Anna-Maria Seifert

With their installation BYCATCH, the two Berlin-based artists Daniel Hölzl and Abie Franklin want to initiate a discourse around the current issues of the fishing industry, water pollution and man-made borders. BYCATCH consists of several inflatable objects in the form of breakwaters that float on the water and are connected to each other by a fishing net. While breakwaters normally separate the land from the sea with many tons of weight, the artists want to bridge the gap between humans and water with a lightweight installation. As the tides come in and out or the water moves, the installation shifts and stretches, drawing visitors’ attention to temporal changes and recurring patterns. The artists worked exclusively with European companies that helped ensure the recyclability of the artwork in the future and kept transport distances short to minimise the ecological footprint.

Urban art meets digital art: The well-known Berlin artists’ collective Die Dixons (see picture) uses the means of 2D, 3D, augmented reality, virtual reality and mapping in cooperation with analogue artists to create a digital meta-level that is made visible to visitors by means of an app specially developed for this application. This promises a visual experience in a class of its own.

Another highlight is the mobile darkroom: like in a photo booth, visitors can have their portrait taken in analogue form on site; the picture is then developed in a bus that has been converted into a darkroom. Those portrayed receive their personal picture free of charge to take home. In addition, the specialists of the “analogue now” initiative show how to take pictures with a large-format camera and give an insight into the fascination of analogue photography.

left: FFFACE.ME presentation during the Ukranian Fashion Week, photo: FFFACE.ME

right: Photo studio, Alex in the darkroom with participants, courtesy analogue now

But there is much more to discover at the Arena Berlin as part of the BERLIN PHOTO WEEK: In the location “The Wedding Chapel” funny, spontaneous and creative photos will be taken – not only of couples. You are also welcome to marry your favourite camera here! The CEWE Truck, a mobile showroom with a presentation area of more than 70 square metres, will also be there.
It is located in the outdoor area of the Arena Berlin grounds. Visitors are invited to experience the variety of photo products, print their photos at the CEWE photo stations or simply enjoy the view from the 20-square-metre roof terrace, which is also ideal as a photo spot.

The company MPB is setting up a light box in which visitors are in the spotlight and illuminated by various light tubes. The neon tubes are mounted vertically and horizontally and provide coloured or white light for an infinite number of creative light productions. Visitors can experience how easy it is to control a camera drone and what spectacular shots can be taken in the process in a special drone cage at DJI. In the Campari world of experience, there are not only free drinks to try, but exciting 360° videos are also created here with your own smartphone. And those who want to “turn” the best pictures taken at the many creative Funplaces of the BERLIN PHOTO WEEK into lasting memories can print out their pictures at the self-service photo stations by Kodak or CEWE in just a few minutes.

“The Funplaces are the creative hotspots of the BERLIN PHOTO WEEK. Here, photography and video can be experienced by everyone, from attractive selfies and reels to new inspirations with artistic aspirations. Anyone who enjoys photography and video is cordially invited to visit this universe of images alone, with friends and family. For 7 euros a day you can experience all this and much more in the arena,” says Wolfgang Heinen, CEO of Berlin Photo Week GmbH.

IFA, the world’s most important show for consumer electronics and home appliances, is the most efficient industry and communication meeting point for industry, trade and media from all over the world. IFA 2022 will take place in Berlin from 2 to 6 September.