CTB Lab 04 Kassel
In a collaboration with Dynamo Windrad, Streetbolzer e.V., and the ruruHaus, the Fussballaballa tool was implemented in and adapted to a new setting as part of the documenta fifteen – the largest German contemporary art exhibition held every five years - in Kassel, Germany. The fourth iteration of the CTB Lab brought together different local communities through critical public viewing of the EURO 2020 which was embedded in a discursive program reflecting on a multitude of issues surrounding the sport.
Fussballaballa was first introduced at ZK/U for the World Cup 2014 and has since been shown during both men’s and women’s international championships. The format’s purpose has always been to provide an alternative viewing experience that goes beyond tribal division and which is accompanied by a program that engages with issues integral to or adjacent to football.
After several Fussballaballa iterations at the ZK/U, the format moved to Kassel where it was adapted within the framework of the documenta fifteen by in association with three local partners: Dynamo Windrad, Streetbolzer e.V., and the ruruHaus. Analogous to the first de-centrally held European Championship, the idea was to organise public viewing events for each match day of the quarter finals, semi finals, and final in a distinct setting. Throughout the five days, the idea of “horizontal communities” - disadvantaged by the hierarchical organisation of “the state” - was explored by looking at different marginalised groups through the lens of football. In this way, the events highlighted the experiences of queer communities, diaspora , or activists in football – both on the small, local as well as on the global stage.
The events were characterised by the different crowds they attracted, and the spontaneity and adaptiveness of organisers and attendees. Conditions such as weather, municipal permits, or longer-than-expected games required flexibility from those organising, setting up the events differently than planned or improvising a different program on the fly. Attendees appeared to appreciate the loose and informal atmosphere that resulted and were happy to engage with the offered program. Depending on the place an event was held and the subject addressed that day, the make-up of crowds differed. While the first semi final drew a lot of young viewers with a so-called migrational background, the second semi final drew a much older crowd. This diversity in the audience provided an opportunity for groups to meet and engage with each other that had otherwise only few points of intersection. In that sense, the events accomplished breaking up the conventional organisation of social hierarchies and created a space in which different communities could meet each other.
The organising groups had a positive résumé of their experience organising and hosting the different events. All partners appreciated the ease with which the collaboration worked and how ideas and topics for the programs evolved organically and in mutual agreement. A particularly interesting point was the expression by many of feeling as part of the documenta for the first time after having been relegated to experiencing it as audience or consumer before. The implementation of Fussballaballa thus forged new connections between groups and new perspectives on their own roles in local communities.
As a result there is a mutual agreement that future collaborations on other projects are on the horizon. The documenta fifteen as well as the upcoming World Cup 2022 in Qatar are great opportunities to deepen the newly established relationships, and develop or implement new or existing tools. For next year’s documenta, ZK/U will return to Kassel by water, driving a boat made from the recycled materials of its home’s old roof up rivers and channels from Berlin to the site. The realisation of this project in Kassel will rely on the new networks that Fussballaballa forged in the summer of 2021. Similarly, the Fussballaballa format planned for the World Cup in 2022 in will bring back together partners from this year’s iteration. Held not only in Qatar, but also during the winter for the first time, no football tournament before was likely as deserving of being accompanied by a critical public viewing format as the upcoming World Cup. A team of partners with experience with and mutual respect for each other is a solid foundation to build on for these upcoming events.
Team: Dynamo Windrad, Streetbolzer e.V., ruruHaus, CTB Network
Partners: ZK/U, documenta 15