A plant, a letter, an artistic gesture, or a song: Artist Bernardo Oyarzún invites all visitors and Berlin communities to join in at the participatory performance El Medán, contributing with a symbolic offering at HKW’s opening weekend on June 2–4, 2023.

The ‘medán’ is an ancestral Mapuche community celebration of reciprocity that is still practised today in the southern Chilean island of Chiloé. In situations of need or in support of starting a new home, the celebration calls in the surrounding community to provide for the new venture. Medán simply translates as ‘they give me’ in Spanish; people contribute with their labour, farm animals, seeds, or household artefacts to ignite the well-being of a dwelling, while the host offers a convivial experience.

For the re-opening of HKW, Oyarzún proposes an artistic Medán to participate in the making of HKW as a home, and a house of houses interested in engaging with the communities and cultural houses of Berlin. The invitation is extended to join in on this installation with creative gestures in the form of tokens of kindness, allegorical objects, or artistic gifts. The range of possible offerings is ample and not intended to generate costs for those giving. It can be something to enable better living at HKW, such as flowers, vases, seeds, or mugs; or something of pedagogical use like a magazine, a postcard, a poster, a toy, colourful ribbons, nail varnish, or a wig; or an object that carries a message like a pair of glasses or an umbrella; or a humble manifestation of creativity like a drawing, a poem, a dance, or a song to share live.

Of Mapuche descent himself, artist Bernardo Oyarzún has created works since the 1990s that revitalize popular practices and aesthetics, asserting the ancestral and contemporary Indigenous knowledge that they impart—through craft, orality, culinary arts, rituals, and festivities.

The artist and different members of HKW will be receiving offerings from visitors and the communities of Berlin on Friday from 17:00 to 20:00 and on Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 to 20:00. The growing installation will be located in HKW’s Forough Farrokhzad Garden, making space for convivial exchange on the grass lawn, where rest is also possible.