The Goethe Institut, dedicated to teaching German culture and language through literature, performing arts and exhibitions, is home to a Pop Up in Chophouse Row. From 2018 to 2019, the Goethe Institut implemented an initiative “Wunderbar Together”, translated as “wonderful together”, which represented their focus on German-American friendship.
There are a total of six institutes established in the United States, including San Francisco and Washington DC, as well as three Pop Ups, including Goethe Pop Up Seattle which is a temporary extension of the Goethe Institut. In the institutes, they organize German courses to encourage study abroad and intercultural exchange. The Seattle location may not reinforce the same linguistic emphasis due to its small size, instead focusing on exhibitions and cultural events.
Arabelle Liepold is the Managing Director and communicates with other companies to organize collaborative events based on creating a cultural dialogue. Liepold works alongside Kendra Berry, the Program Assistant and Jasmin Krakenberg, the Program Coordinator who is responsible for overseeing and promoting the cultural programs run by Goethe Pop Up Seattle.
“We try to show that Germany has a varied culture and what it does today,” Liepold said.
The Pop Up was originally slated to be open only for 2019, but its funding was extended for another year due to its success. From now on, the Goethe Pop Up Seattle will remain open until the end of 2020.
Currently on display at the Pop Up are Max Planck’s “Images of Science”. The Max Planck Florida Institute of Neuroscience asks scientists each year for images of their research to put together a traveling exhibit. Some images are computer simulations while others are images taken from microscopes – the research featured includes everything from visualizations of dark matter to neural pathways.
The Seattle Pacific Science Center previously had the Max Planck exhibit, “Images of Science,” on display in the fall. Those majoring in STEM might be interested in heading to the Pop Up for the “Images of Science” exhibit. The Pop Up exhibit is free and open to the public and will continue to be on display until March 6.
The Goethe Institut also promotes other programs like the Book First Initiative, which features German stories that have not yet been translated into English. This allows stories to find translators and introduce German literature to English readers. The Goethe Institut’s emphasis on German literature is also evident through the book club it hosts both at the Institut and at the Pop Up.
The Goethe Pop Up Institut collaborated with the Northwest Film Forum (NWFF) to present “Berlin Bouncer” on February 6, another example of the organization’s partnership with other community centers. This film explored Berlin’s nightlife after the fall of the Berlin Wall, following three bouncers and their own personal journeys. The film “Berlin Bouncer” attracted photography fans as the film’s main protagonist, Sven Marquardt, attended the screening for a Q&A.
Susan Wilkinson owns a marketing company called Paperweight. She came from Phoenix, Arizona to meet Sven Marquardt and watch the movie “Berlin Bouncer”. Wilkinson decided to see the film because she had been to one of the clubs depicted in the film and is a fan of Sven Marquardt’s photography.
“I’m really impressed with the culture Sven has created around the club he works for in Berlin,” Wilkinson said. “I am also interested in the progression of the culture that Marquardt was able to create. The film creates an opportunity to see this progression backwards.
Some attendees who had previously been to the Goethe Pop Up Seattle also attended the screening of the film. Gary Clark is retired, but previously worked in Seattle city government on low-income and affordable housing issues. He went to Pop Up in November to see the Berlin Wall exhibit on the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“I had great experiences in East and West Berlin during the Cold War in the 1980s…and the 30th anniversary of the Berlin Wall brought it all back,” Clark said.
Clark recommends anyone interested in Europe or German culture to visit the site to learn more.
Goethe Pop Up Seattle exhibitions and events attract people interested in different subjects and hobbies, not just because the artist or photographer is German, but because they respect and admire the work itself.