Etymologically “the city of peace”. Jerusalem, a city constantly expanding in the shadow of her monumental architecture. A melting pot of diverging interests, harboring three world religions. All too often the centre of attention of current world politics. Origin and future. Israelis ruled by the fear of attack. Palestinians condemned to a life as second-class citizens. This serves as the backdrop to the typical daily life of a metropolis: discos, bars, markets, building projects, artists, parties, etc. All fault lines converge here, in the navel of the world.

“Jerusalem[#1]”, the first performance of “Berlin” in 2003, became a city portrait for 3 screens. Townscapes of East and West, the road to Calvary, a party at the Wailing Wall, the Friday prayer, the security wall, a Palestinian bagpipe rehearsal, Shufat refugee camp, the checkpoints, an orthodox moonwalk.

Unfortunately the performance hasn’t become obsolete. There has been no visible progress in the peace process. Quite on the contrary, new conflicts have been revealed. Jerusalem, a sacred place for three great religious traditions (Muslims, Jews and Christians), has turned into a trembling and unpredictable construct, which nobody is able to tame. Although the names of the political leaders have changed, the security wall – in 2003 still in construction – is erect, the internal political situation of the Palestinians has changed due to the election victory of Hamas, the largest demonstration of the Israeli people against the policy have passed, the Palestinian president Abbas has made a request to the United Nations to have his country officially acknowledged as a state, etc. fundamentally, the conflict hasn’t changed.

In 2013, exactly ten years after the shoot of the first performance “Jerusalem”, “Berlin” visited the holy city again. The former interviewees were contacted, images were put together, a discussion was done over. A captivating story about this bizarre, fascinating and loathsome city, in which every second tourist is affected by madness.

The starting point of each performance of Berlin is located in a city or a region somewhere on the planet. Berlin’s work is characterised by its documentary and interdisciplinary methods. Focusing on a specific research question, it engages different media depending on the content of the project.

Bart Baele and Yves Degryse founded “Berlin” in 2003 together with Caroline Rochlitz. They started the series “Holocene” (the Holocene is the current geological era) with the performances “Jerusalem”, “Iqaluit”, “Bonanza” and “Moscow”. A few years later Berlin started a new cycle “Horror Vacui” (the fear of emptiness), of which “Tagfish”, “Land’s End” and “Perhaps All The Dragons” are the first three episodes.

Berlin is currently working on new performances in both cycles. The number of projects is not defined but the “Holocene” cycle will end in Berlin with the creation of a fiction–docu project featuring different inhabitants of the former cities of the cycle.