Meet Renee - our member of the month in January!
Introduction round: Who are you and where are you from?
My name is Renee van Bavel and I come from the Netherlands. I moved from Amsterdam to Berlin in 2010.
What made you come to Berlin?
My work as an artist and cultural entrepreneur and the love for the city of Berlin.
If you are curious and like world history then this is the right city for you. There is an interesting story is waiting for you under every cobblestone . If you look around you, there is so much to see here. And if you are open and eager for knowledge and ask the right question, people will tell you incredible stories. For example and very concretely: The Office Club is located in Pappelallee (poplar alley) where there is not a single poplar tree left? Do you know why that is so?
What exactly do you do? What's in the pipeline for the near future?
I deal with major themes such as peace and war and freedom and democracy - both as an artist and as a cultural entrepreneur. In the last few years I have intensively dealt with these topics through my work for many memorial services in the Netherlands and Germany and have met many people for whom these topics have a "living" meaning. During all these encounters I became aware that I live in peace and I see the value of peace. This awareness has ignited a fire in me to share my "peace consciousness" with the audience. Not by explaining it to the audience, but by creating a form in which people can experience it for themselves. Through my work I make these heavy themes accessible and easier to grasp to a broad audience in different forms: in tailor-made and composed songs, in concert programs, through events I organize, memorials I produce, by performing as a singer or presenter and by creating art objects like "Der Spiegel" („The Mirror“).
The Mirror is a piece of art in the form of a very large mirror with the text: "This is what people who live in peace look like". It is a spatial work, an art experience and an invitation to a "peace consciousness" experience. The Dutch version of The Mirror was inaugurated by King Willem-Alexander on November 26th, 2020. The Mirror is located on the Nationaal Ereveld in Loenen in the Netherlands.
At the moment I am working on a German version. I am in the process of making it a cross-border European project in the future. With several mirrors, in several languages, in several countries. Check my website for more. Thats whats in the pipeline!
Since when do you cowork at Office Club Berlin Prenzlauer Berg?
I have been doing this since I had children ;-)
So, almost 4 years.
What is the benefit of using a coworking space for you?
I like a lot about it - but what’s best about this place is the somehow "focused atmosphere". And that feels good. Being able to work in peace and quiet and without distraction with a good coffee. Sometimes I also rent a conference room just for myself and use it as a studio for a few hours and hang all the ideas I have for a project on the wall. That is the very best thing. In the future I would like to have a studio just for myself but until then I like to stay here.
Which questions / problems could you help your coworking neighbour with?
I can bring big issues closer and make them accessible to a wide audience. I think unconventionally, creatively, freely and maybe cheeky in a positive way - that helps me to open a whole world of possibilities that you have never seen before.
Do you have favourite spots in Berlin? Something to recommend / consider especially for people coming here?
Although I do it far too seldom, I allow myself (and recommend all the people who work here at Office Club) a walk around Liepnitzsee. Get off the train at Wandlitz station, just walk to the lake and then around it. You'll be out and about in the country for a few hours and that feels really good. I definitely try it once a season. Try it once, it feels good! And.... who knows, maybe meet me there?
Thanks a lot and all the best to you!