In the beating heart of Berlin, Defne Ayas finds herself surrounded by a cast of endlessly invigorating neighbours. ‘Kiez’ is the Berliner word for a city neighbourhood, a relatively small community encompassed by the sprawling city. Originally heralding from Istanbul, but shaped by New York and Shanghai, Defne is more than at home in unfamiliar places. Sipping steaming mugs of ceremonial grade cacao, she sets off in search of warmth and a touch of erotica, encountering filmmakers and theorists, DJs powering peak-of-the-night climaxes, salacious journalists and inspiring artists, who have found a haven in Berlin. There are pilates instructors, kundalini breath coaches and, in the waiting room of the nearby medical practice – run by a pair of twin doctors named Minks – is Vaginal Davis, the internationally revered doyenne and performance artist. Against the backdrop of the pandemic and despair-inducing current events, Defne uncovers a radical sensuality harbouring in enlightening and tender minds.
Tremendous gratitude to AA Bronson, for his reading of Love Letter to Berlin, and Ayumi Paul for a clip of her stunning work, Eternal Love, recorded on the abandoned tennis courts in the Woga-Komplex. Part of an ensemble of buildings designed by the architect Erich Mendelssohn, the courts are a former neighbourhood hub, a popular and affordable meeting point that, since the land has been sold to a private investor, are closed to the public. And great thanks to Vaginal Davis for an excerpt of an audio work from her 2021 exhibition, The Wicked Pavilion. The excerpt appears courtesy of the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin. Introduction and outro voiced by Johnny Vivash. Editing and sound design by Tobias Withers. Soundscape by The God in Hackney. Artwork by Karel Martens. Produced by the Extra Extra team.