Residency at ZK/U

ZK/U seeks to develop projects, co-produce knowledge and share values created through exchanges. ZK/U does not offer a fixed set of ideas and principles for its fellows. Rather, individual projects and needs shape what could be described as a continuous formation. Instead of letting the ‘final product’ constrain the possible routes that a practice might take, ZK/U focuses on the processes that come from, and feed into, the particular contexts of the fellows’ practice, whether they be locally-defined situations or international discourses.

The residency program proposes a platform for cross-disciplinary exchange between artists, scholars and practitioners that will foster both short term and long term ties. ZK/U provides residents with the freedom of re-defining the dynamics of this work and living environment continuously, which means the level of exchange and dynamics of collaborative process are highly depending on the fellows' approach. The autonomous framework of the residency consists of an active-collaborative format for mutual exchange, weekly dinners, where the residents get the opportunity to introduce their practice to a selected audience, and monthly studio visits by professionals from ZK/U’s network. Fellows furthermore have the possibility to share their work with a broader public during the OPENHAUS, a monthly open studio format, and by proposing their own public events and projects. The residency team bridges the fellow’s interests to the program of ZK/U, informs the residents about events and discourses taking place in the city and can support them in understanding the milieu they are working and living in. Residents are encouraged to attend ZK/U’s public program which offers a variety of established formats like the Gütermarkt and Speisekino or in events, exhibitions, workshops and conferences organized through long term projects in partnership with local and international organisations. ZK/U has defined four thematic investigation leads which shape its program and encourage residents to think along these lines in order to create a common frame of reference where the fellow’s interests and the activities of ZK/U overlap.

More on the investigation leads

Space and surroundings 

The space of the residency is designed to create a communal living situation: the kitchen and the terrace function as the main meeting points. The responsibility of keeping them enjoyable and clean is shared by the residents themselves. ZK/U as an institution is a long term project that in every sense keeps evolving in time and invites everyone to take initiative and experiment your ideas within the existing structure. Various spaces of ZK/U can be used by residents for production or activities upon request depending on their availability, including individual studio spaces, the cellar, terraces, main hall and the conference room. ZK/U does not provide residents with workshop area or advanced production tools but it has agreements with municipal workshops around ZK/U. Limited equipment is available in house for presentation and small scale production.

The ZK/U building is surrounded by a public park, which is a recreation and meeting place for the neighborhood. It’s a vivid spot for the community, granting access to all generations.

ZK/U is not only a residency space, but also a lively cultural and social hub, organising public moments ranging from exhibitions, workshops and conferences up to concerts and music events, which on weekends might attract hundreds of visitors and last until the next morning. These social and cultural activities sometimes lead to noise

ZK/U-residents are encouraged to take part in public events actively as artists, researchers or as visitors. ZK/U tries to keep the disturbances of the residence as small as possible, but it’s part of our urban reality. ZK/U is located in a park, but it still is an urban vivid space, which sometimes leads to disturbances.

More on space

Background of ZK/U

The ZK/U concept and practice were initiated by the artist collective and non-profit organization KUNSTrePUBLIK e.V..  KUNSTrePUBLIK‘s concepts and projects are equally focused on local involvement and global exchange. The association managed after a long political struggle to sign a 40 year lease on the ground of the former railway station, which was transformed in 2012 to what it is now. Coming from non-institutional backgrounds, the founders aspire to continue exploring ways of collaborating, researching and creating, that go beyond the lines of existing structures and preconceptions. As part of their artistic practice, KUNSTrePUBLIK considers the development of ZK/U a long-term process that will evolve through the contributions and critical feedback expressed by its participants, residents, partners and a diverse audience.

KUNSTrePUBLIK is a registered German non-profit organization ‘for the common good’. While not in receipt of any institutional funding, KUNSTrePUBLIK has  been funded once for the renovation of the building as well as on a project basis for individual parts of their public program. In lack of a general funding of the residency, the rental costs are kept as low as possible to be accessible also for smaller grants and the same time develop continuously further as a sustainable autonomous longterm project.

Associated Curators

Andrea Hofmann

Gilly Karjevsky

Folke Köbberling

Miodrag Kuč

Gergely Laszlo

Annette Maechtel



ZK/U autumn 2012 view from north