Hybrid Sculptors “it is nothing without you”

What happens when performance, augmented reality, sculpture, dance and music come together was experienced by more than 350 visitors on Saturday, 29 February, in the URBAN NATION Project Space. With their performance set “it is nothing without you”, the artists’ collective Hybrid Sculptors offered moments of amazement, admiration, enthusiasm and the question of “how?“.

The materials and the utensils with which Hybrid Sculptors realize their innovative performances are rather unusual in their combination: an endless number of cables, some cameras, monitors and mixing desks can be found next to brushes, paint, cordless screwdrivers and double bass, in the middle of the room there is also a cargo bike packed with all kinds of technical equipment. We met the artists the day before the event in the new URBAN NATION Project Space in Bülowstrasse 97, only a few meters away from the museum. Thomas Bratzke aka Zasd is currently standing on a ladder, mounting a camera on the wall. Mischa Leinkauf is setting up his film equipment and Michael Haves is plugging cables into countless sound elements. Later, Keez Duyves (Pips:Lab), Richard Koch and trumpet and dancer Kadir “Amigo” Memiş will join them for the final rehearsal.

Hybrid Sculptors – buildup

Talking to Zasd, it became clear that Hybrid Sculptors do not only see themselves as a collective, but as an ensemble in which each individual brings along components of his or her respective genre, thus rounding off the overall performance. Thomas Bratzke, who has been breaking down writing and metagraffiti into its components under his artist name Zasd/Zast as a Berlin actor of writing and metagraffiti since the late 1990s and developing his artistic work from there, has been the initiator and part of Hybrid Sculptors since 2019. When asked about the genre of Hybrid Sculptors, whether it is a form of Urban Art or Street Art, Zasd just shrugs his shoulders and explains that the limitation to a certain style is exactly what Hybrid Sculptors do not want to be and cannot be. Through the various influences of jazz, funk, dance, technique and painting, they move freely between the art forms and thereby gain the dynamic and agility that makes them so unique.

„it is nothing without you“

On the evening of the event, on which two 30-minute performances were planned at the beginning, but on which another set was spontaneously added due to the big amount of guests, the visitors experienced something almost magical and even became part of the art. The title “it is nothing without you” already revealed that Hybrid Sculptors can only take place collectively, together with each other. However, it was a surprise for the guests that not only the six artists in total acted together, but that they – the visitors – also became protagonists of the performance.

For the immaterial, spatial painting that forms the core of the art of Hybrid Sculptors, three people were needed: Zasd scanned surfaces, guests and video sequences that were recorded the day before directly in the neighborhood – the equipment for this was transported on the above-mentioned cargo bike. Keez Duyves operated two rods with which he drew shapes in space without seeing these shapes directly, because it was only possible with Mischa Leinkauf’s special camera that the shapes in the scanned color world became visible on the canvas. The virtual painting in the room was supplemented by a further aspect: movement. Equipped with a motion capture system, Amigo made the sculptures drawn in space “dance” through his own body movements. This visual magic was underlined by the jazzy trumpet of Richard Koch and the sound bed of drums, bass and guitar of Michael Haves. The “analog” painting by Zasd directly on the canvas, which showed the projection of the virtual sculptures, made the almost synaesthetic experience complete.

Hybrid Sculptors fascinated the visitors of all three sets on this evening. The applause proved this clearly – because: “it is nothing without you”!

Hybrid Sculptors “it is nothing without you”

“With the invitation of HYBRID SCULPTORS and the performance shown, the new orientation of the URBAN NATION museum in terms of content is also noticeable in its program for the first time. The artists’ references to graffiti and urban art culture offer an interesting context for the URBAN NATION museum and its current and future exhibition practice. Thomas Bratzke aka Zast and Keez Duyves repeatedly refer to graffiti and urban space in their works. This background and the artistic positions developing from it, which always refer back to urban art, graffiti, and street art, will be of particular interest for the museum’s future exhibition practice.” – Jan Sauerwald, director of the URBAN NATION museum.

An edition of the work: “it is nothing without you” will be on display as an interactive installation in the URBAN NATION museum from mid-March onwards, making the work of the artists accessible to all visitors.

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Photo and video: Johannes Schneeweiß