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C/O Berlin is delighted to award this year‘s C/O Berlin Talent Award in the category Artistic Photography to the German-Albanian multimedia artist Anna Ehrenstein. Her award-winning work Tools for Conviviality will be presented in a solo exhibition from January, 30 to April, 24 2021 at C/O Berlin in the Amerika Haus, Hardenbergstraße 22-24, 10623 Berlin.
The C/O Berlin Talent Award 2020 in the category of Theory goes to US author Emily Watlington. She will be writing the first art theoretical essay on the work Tools for Conviviality by Ehrenstein.

Anna Ehrenstein – Tools for Conviviality


The work “Tools for Conviviality” by German-Albanian multimedia artist Anna Ehrenstein impressed the jury with its clever exploration, use, and criticism of new digital forms. In photographs, installations, and a 360° video, the artist reflects on contemporary media and confronts the socio-cultural consequences of digitalization in a global context—and does so with a playfulness that makes the work fun. Based on the 1973 book of the same name by philosopher Ivan Illich, Anna Ehrenstein calls into question the utopia of modern technology as a neutral tool. Today, smartphones and social media, the Internet and virtual reality enable multicultural coexistence across national borders. In this exceptional work revolving around the integration of digital media into physical space, the artist focuses on Dakar, the capital city and cultural center of Senegal, which offers relatively easy working conditions due to loose visa regulations and attracts international creatives from across the West African region. In her project, Ehrenstein shows how technology changes lifestyles. In it, the classic documentary view from the outside is replaced by a collective method of oral and visual research conducted together with creative people in the place itself. The project was developed in collaboration with Awa Seck, Don Kafele, Lydia Likibi, Saliou Ba, and Nyamwathi Gichau.

Anna Ehrenstein (b. 1993 AL/DE) explores the exchange between human and object in the digital age. She studied photography and media art at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund and completed a postgraduate program in media art at the Academy of Media Arts with Mischa Kuball and Julia Scher. Her work has been shown in international group exhibitions including Format Situations at Fotomuseum Winterthur, CH, (2019), the photo festival Les Recontres d’Arles (2018), and the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg (2018). C/O Berlin will present her first institutional solo exhibition. Ehrenstein has been nominated for various awards and was recently working on a research project in Bogota, Colombia, on a DAAD grant. Anna Ehrenstein lives in Berlin, Cologne, and Tirana.

Alexander Rosenkranz – City Cut Off


Alexander Rosenkranz’s piece “City Cut Off” captivated us thanks to its simple yet highly effective play with the medium of photography: using a camera, photo lab, and a photocopier, the artist cut up analogue city photographs along the horizon line before almost imperceptibly recombining them. What does it say about twenty-first century urban planning and civil engineering when different pictures of a city can be collaged together in any number of ways without creating noticeable visual discontinuities? The work is convincing, first, as a critique of architecture and social living space in the urban metropolis, and second, in its contemporary use of the traditional medium of montage, exposing the much-vaunted documentary character of the medium as a lie, in both the past and present.

Alexander Rosenkranz (b. 1987, DE) rejects a purely documentary conception of photography and instead embraces the visual power of photography as material. In 2019, he graduated from the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig under Joachim Brohm and is currently a master student of Ludovic Balland. His work has been shown at the f/stop Festival in Leipzig (2016), at FOAM, Amsterdam (2017), and in the Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne (2017), among others. In 2019, he was in finalist in Bookcall #1 of the Institute for Book Art, Leipzig. In fall 2020, “City Cut Off” will be published as an artist’s book in a limited edition of 100 copies by the Institute for Book Art, Leipzig, in cooperation with Park Books Zurich. Alexander Rosenkranz lives in Berlin.

Alina Schmuch – Interior


Alina Schmuch’s “Interior” examines the water infrastructure in the Ruhr area and queries the ways in which people and technology influence one another. Drawing on archival materials and recent images taken by robots, the artist weaves a narrative of the network of waterways, which moves between the visible, the invisible, and the hidden. With her interest in the way the documentary quality of images has changed in our present day, Schmuch’s work fits perfectly with the theme of the 2020 C/O Berlin Talent Awards.

Alina Schmuch (b. 1987, DE) explores the interactions between visual media and reality in her work. She studied fine arts at the Kunstakademie Münster and media art at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe. Her works have been shown at Künstlerhaus Bremen (2018), the Museum of Photography, Braunschweig (2018), and ZKM Karlsruhe (2016), among others. She has received awards including the Wüstenrot Foundation Documentary Photography Award (2015/2016) and the Mak Schindler Fellowship in Los Angeles (2016). Alina Schmuch lives in Berlin.

Esther Hovers – Traveling Salesman


Traveling Salesman went straight onto our shortlist. We were won over by its simple and clever concept, which tells the story of a walk and the logistical issue facing a traveling salesman who needs to figure out the shortest route through a set of cities, if each city needs to be visited just once before returning to the starting point. Traveling Salesman is a poetic reflection on the interplay between planning and the unpredictability of urban spaces.

Esther Hovers (b. 1991, NL) work revolves around the question of how power, politics, and control are exercised through urban planning and the use of public space. She studied photography at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague, and has exhibited at the Aperture Foundation in New York City (2019), the Lianzhou Photo Festival in China (2018) and FOAM in Amsterdam (2017), among others. In 2017, her works were part of the exhibition WATCHED! Surveillance, Art & Photography at C/O Berlin. Hovers has been the recipient of various awards and was an artist-in- residence at the NARS Foundation in Brooklyn, New York, in 2019. Esther Hovers lives in the Hague, the Netherlands.

of Laura Ben Hayoun – Just one spark, and everything could explode.


An intercultural (family) history is at the center of Laura Ben Hayoun’s piece Just one spark, and everything could explode. The second-generation Algerian-French artist uses reenactment with her family and found footage to reflect on colonialism, racism, torture, and terrorism. Ben Hayoun has created a highly impressive investigative work, one prompted by personal ties even if not experienced first-hand, with a narrative assembled and brought to life using online images, archives, and film.

Laura Ben Hayoun (b. 1984, FR) questions borders, migration, and imaginary territories. She studied visual anthropology in Lyon before pursuing master‘s degrees in documentary film then in photography and contemporary art in Paris. Her work has been shown at the Tate Modern, London (2014), at the Festival de la Photographie Méditerranéenne in Nice (2017), and at the Outono Fotográfico in La Coruña, Spain (2017). She has received numerous prizes and was a finalist in the 2019 Unseen Dummy Awards with the submitted project. Laura Ben Hayoun lives in Paris and currently works in Algiers (Algeria) and Yerevan (Armenia).