Daniel Theiler

Daniel Theiler

Daniel Theiler plays with conventions in a humorous way by reorganizing spatial, architectural, and social formations.

Theiler is a visual artist, filmmaker, and architect. He graduated as Meisterschüler of Nina Fischer in Art and Media at UdK Berlin. Prior studies of art at Bauhaus University Weimar under Danica Dakić and at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and architecture at TU Berlin, ETH Zurich, and the University of Strathclyde Glasgow. Theiler’s conceptual and often site-specific art examines spaces and their embeddedness in historic and cultural contexts, employing a large variety of analog and digital media ranging from video, photography and sculpture to public interventions and websites, which frequently results in hybrid works combining different media. Theiler is particularly concerned with the themes of reconstruction and vision, status and social integration. The relationship between utopia and social reality is central in his works.

He has shown his work internationally in exhibitions, art and film festivals, including the 67th International Short Film Festival Oberhausen (DE), Kunsthalle Rostock, 3. Berliner Herbstsalon, Aesthetica Short Film Festival (UK), Sapporo International Short Film Festival (JP), Recontres Internationales Paris/Berlin (DE/FR), 50th Molodist Kyiv Film Festival (UKR), Istanbul International Experimental Film Festival (TR), Stuttgarter Filmwinter, Biennale Mulhouse 021 (FR), and Humboldt Forum Berlin. He received awards and grands including the Architecture Film Award at International Short Film Week Regensburg and the Best Experimental Film and Audience Award at the Kurzsüchtig Filmfest in Leipzig. Theiler is part of the Emerging Artists program of the Federal Association AG Kurzfilm and German Films and is represented in public collections. His publication “Reconstructing Tomorrow” in which he examines the cultural-historical and socio-cultural context of the Berlin Mitte district and questions the associated manifestations of power-political hierarchies was published in 2021 by Hatje Cantz. He lives and works in Berlin.

Top Down Memory

2-Channel Video Installation, 4K / 12:20 min / 2021

00:50 min excerpt

The work deals with the manipulation of history in the context of the reconstruction of the Berlin Palace (“Humboldtforum”). Starting from the confusions surrounding an alledged proclamation of a socialist republic from one of its balconies in 1918, the film examines other political events that occurred on balconies. Reenactments of iconic political and cultural events on the original balcony raise questions about authenticity and manipulation. Who is writing our history? How do we deal with our past? How does collective memory work? The balcony is the central motive of the work, representing hierarchies and power politics.

Das Ende einer schönen Romanze

1-Channel Video Installation, HD / 03:45 min / 2019

00:24 min excerpt

The site-specific artwork and video relate to the ramp in the concrete hall of the cultural quarter Silent Green in Berlin. The video consists of home video footage from 1992 showing the artist and his brother riding down a ramp in self-made soap boxes. One of the soap boxes, which the artist designed with great effort, breaks down. In the children’s reactions, disappointment, malicious joy and tragedy mix. At the same time, the breaking down of the soap box hints at the future development of the relationship between the two brothers. The soapbox is reconstructed in the video as a virtual 3D object and in the exhibition space as a physical yet abstract model. The work oscillates between memory, forgetting, loss, nostalgia, and conservation.

When Feathers Fly

HD Video / 08:06 min / 2018

00:49 min excerpt

The artist adopts different identities that reference his family history and personal memories dealing with integration and the American dream. The composition of fragments creates parallel realities and alternative presents. The footage has been shot exclusively in the Chopin Theater in Chicago.