Stockholm-based Kulturama photography students visiting Neukölln Berlin, posed a question for their three-day show: What is the meaning of disorder? For the 15 students in the Disorder exhibit, each answer is different, filled with surprising emotional context in every shot.
At Top Schillerpalais' gallery, Disorder couldn’t be more appropriate. With people spilling out the doors and jostling bodies crowded around each installation, “disorder” seems to be everywhere. The photos show splashes of color, veiled nudity, and adult faces wearing cryptic or childlike expressions.
At the center of the room is "Underestimated," a five-foot tall rectangular prism covered in black-and-white photographs. Katri Heinamaki photographed the final show of Finnish punk band Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät, whose members are all developmentally disabled in some way. The photographer says, “One has a speech impediment, another has Down Syndrome. But of course they have all the basic needs that we have: they want to drink, have their own apartment, have sex, live like everyone else. Seven years ago, they formed a band to sort of scream out about how society treats disabled people. With their music, they’ve been able to address it. They’re founded on inclusion and equality.”
The feeling of completeness from Underestimated is challenged by the adjacent work of Ylva Sonberg’s “Naked. Eternal. Moving.” Sonberg plays with the idea of being stuck by creating spinnable, folded 3D prints that visitors can toss around.
Iselin Blitzner’s six images look like the dark side of Instagram. “This is a former mental institution house in Norway, one building of many that still exist,” she tells The Creators Project. “You could really feel the darkness in this house, the kind that keeps you from being able to come out of it. When I took these pictures, I started realizing I was interacting with my own inner disorder, capturing some of it.”
The work of Ola Lewitschnik compliments Blitzner’s by looking at the external self. Microscopic images of hair, skin, and grime are magnified and enhanced. “I look for the gross and the weird, and make it into something beautiful,” he says. “Beauty comes from the unexpected, not from sticking to what we know.”
The exhibition dives into taboos surrounding femininity. Ellen Orwar captures the feeling of not being able to breathe in “Self-Effacement.” “It’s a feeling that comes with the pressures of being a woman in the modern world, here and everywhere.” Across the room, Sofia Nausikaa Eriksson encounters herself in intimate photographs following her struggle with eating disorders. In “Liv,” Eila Bjorklund displays a four-day photographic timeline of her period. “I want to expose it because somehow, it’s still a taboo,” she says. “I want people to see how menstruation is something beautiful. Without it, there would be no life. And every few weeks, a woman’s body has the opportunity to create it.”
Adam Sundman displays photos of three adults splashed with warlike paint in “Dead Youth.” He says, “I think every person, at some point, feels stuck at a certain age.” The 22-year old continues, “Punk rockers are kind of open about this feeling. But older people experience the sensation too—they just don’t always think about it.” One of the subjects is his own father.
When I asked how long his portraits took, Sundman says the smoking woman took several hours. “I think she had fun, though. She went through about 10 cigarettes in front of the camera.”