8.12.2023 - 9.1.2023


We are looking forward to a new project in the GÄSTEZIMMER: BLUE HOUR by Mona Hermann. The installation forms the conclusion of the Triolgy of Solitude.

Opening: 8.12.23 , 6pm


Facts & Figures

Initiated in 2017 by HafenCity Hamburg GmbH, the experimental cultural programme got underway with the appointment of Ellen Blumenstein as HafenCity Curator. Since 2018, we have been operating as IMAGINE THE CITY and are supported by the independent, non-profit association Kunst und Kultur in der HafenCity. So far we have realised more than twenty projects involving almost 100 participants, co-operated with eight cultural institutions and raised more than three million euros.


Funkfahrrad © Stephan Behre 2022
Funkfahrrad © Stephan Behre 2022

The mobile cultural vehicle is able to record and broadcast podcasts directly from street level, stage discussions in public places, organise karaoke competitions and stream movies licence-free. Plus you can also borrow the bike for free for your own projects!

The City Imagined mit/with

The book series documents our work at HafenCity. Order here free of charge one of the four in-depth interviews with Terence Koh, Julius von Bismarck, Benjamin Maus & Richard Wilhelmer, Liz Magic Laser & Dafna Maimon, and Gerrit Frohne-Brinkmann about the special experience of developing art within the urban fabric.

denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof at Lohsepark

2021 was all about the ‘gateway to the world’. In seven interviews, historian Sandra Schürmann looked at how Hamburg’s self-image is made visible at HafenCity. This podcast episode for example deals with the question of how remembrance can be kept alive within an urban space and how important ‘authentic’ testimonies are in this regard.

Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

Populär with Ellen Blumenstein

© Jan Northoff
© Jan Northoff

A portrait of Ellen Blumenstein in DER HAMBURGER - the Popular section presents people and projects that give the city a face. To read exclusively in our press area. section features people and projects that lend the city its face. Available to read exclusively in our Press Area.

Breathe in, breathe out


Am Sandtorkai 46 

LIGUSTRUM by Esteban Pérez creates a particular kind of liveliness in HafenCity. 


Don’t miss any of our activities – sign up here!

IMAGINE THE CITY elaborates new formats at the interface between culture and urban planning in HafenCity. We incorporate representative artistic perspectives into Hamburg’s urban development and collaborate at the international level with like-minded people across all sectors of society. Practically and discursively, we contribute to shaping the future of our cities in ways that are vibrant, equitable and supportive.

THE GATE Editions

© Svenja Björg Wassil
© Svenja Björg Wassil

Still looking for Christmas presents and/or keen to support artists? If so, why not buy a work of art by Marlon de Azambuja, Eduardo Basualdo, Marc Bijl, Camillo Ritter or Svenja Björg Wassil! Send us an email to receive a list of available works. 

Interactive culture in the urban space

© Sansho Studio
© Sansho Studio

Build your own app: our web-based editorial system INTERKIT is set to go online next year, allowing familiar features such as AR, Player, Chat, Archive and Map to be linked together as required. Simply select what you need or programme your own extensions; the open source toolbox is available free of charge for all non-commercial uses!

From our archives

© Laura Léglise
© Laura Léglise

Having trouble sleeping? – If so, pick a suitable lullaby from our YouTube archive: The HUSH performance by Liz Magic Laser and Dafna Maimon in the fall of 2021 armed each participant against their own personal fears about the future.
In return, they shared their personalised reassurances with all those in need.

Message from SAM

Florence Jung’s manipulative bot follows users throughout their day and communicates with them via a mobile app. The last sub-project of our OPEN WORLDS digital network runs until February 2023 at MGK Siegen – and everywhere online: available now from the App Store or on Google Play.

Our favourite video trailer

Together with two artist friends Gerrit Frohne-Brinkmann shot his own BACKDROP road movie to indicate to our audience the best way to get to his work.
The three artists thus instantly relocated the famous original C’était un rendez-vous by Claude Lelouch (1976) from Paris to HafenCity: a little work of art all of its own.


The podcast gives actors from the growing urban fabric a voice and inspects special areas. This time, we report from Oberhafen on the challenges of bringing together creative processes and urban development interests.

New headquarters

Visit us at the Coffee Plaza: from January 1 you will be able to find us at our new address with our own terrace, directly at Sandtorpark.

New Feature: our magazine

Along with our website revamp we’ve also introduced a new category. In our Magazine we regularly post exclusive and/or special essays that use the power of language to sketch out images of cities. From all eras and from all over the world.

Photo knowledge on Telegram

THE INVISIBLE HAND dives deep into the history and theory of photography with videos, chats and comics. As a virtual companion to the 8th Triennial of Photography, we deliberately aimed the festival motto Currency at Hamburg’s urban space in the summer of 2022.
The channel remains permanently accessible and is well worthwhile even without the exhibition!

Smiley over the city

A prominent text about our first project, PUBLIC FACE. In March 2020, a detailed analysis appeared in the architecture and urbanism magazine Arch+. available online anytime.

History, Technology, Infrastructure

Space for dreaming

Our latest podcast feature on HafenCity’s last unplanned site brings together ambitious, whimsical and visionary ideas for one of the district’s most expensive pieces of real estate.
Listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify to what Annika Kahrs, Hadi Teherani and many others have come up with for this special ‘lost place’ on the Elbe.

Filter Exhibition, Performance, Podcast, In Print, Hands-on, Immersion, Sculpture, Sound, History, Contemplation, Entertainment, Stage, Technology, Event, Threshold, Outdoors, Narrative, Trade, Infrastructure, Explore, Cooperation,


Fall/Winter 2023


Omer Fast, 13 Steps for the Liberation of Germany, 2023, 3D film, color, sound, 32 min. (film still) © 2023 the artist

Omer Fast
September 29th - November 30th


Fall/Winter 2023


© Tanja Modrakovic

8.12.2023 - 9.1.2023


Esteban Pérez


Saray Purto
15 September 2022 – 15 January 2023


The chapel at the HafenCity Ecumenical Forum, © Laura Léglise

Terence Koh
From Spring 2023


Funkfahrrad © Stephan Behre 2022

Javier Acevedo, Theresa Michel, Jonas Wietelmann
From 2023

How To Live In The Echo Of Other Places

© Cansu Naz Tekir

Annika Kahrs
1 June – 4 September 2022


Theresa Michel


© Cansu Naz Tekir

Kristina Kröger
16 June – 15 August 2022


© Frank Höhne

Ellen Blumenstein, Harriet von Froreich, Theresa Michel, Cansu Naz Tekir
18 May – 15 July 2022



Ellen Blumenstein (ed.)
2019 – 2022


Daniel Tyradellis


© Laura Léglise

Kapwani Kiwanga
1 June – 31 December 2021


Sandra Schürmann


© Liz Magic Laser, Dafna Maimon

Liz Magic Laser and Dafna Maimon
16 – 19, 23 – 26 September 2021


© Laura Léglise

Curated by Ellen Blumenstein, Mona Hermann
1. June – 31. October 2021


Dennis Rudolph, THE PORTAL HAFENCITY, © Laura Léglise

Curated by Ellen Blumenstein, Theresa Michel


© Laura Biermann-Fireck

Sebastian Quack
19 August 2020 – 21 December 2021


© Volker Renner

Gerrit Frohne-Brinkmann
17 April 2020 – 11 April 2021



Liz Magic Laser and Dafna Maimon, Playful Commons
19 December 2019, 5 February 2020


© Carsten Dammann

Julius von Bismarck, Benjamin Maus, Richard Wilhelmer
23 November 2018 – 27 September 2020


© Florence Rist

Curated by Cornelius Altmann
25 July 2019


© Ayna Steigerwald

4 July 2019



Curated by Raphael Dillhoff and Nina Groß
11 July 2018 – 29 August 2018

from Marc Bijl: THE WORKS. 1984 : 2084
Jap Sam Books Amsterdam (coming soon)

Chapter 1/5


Women, violence and the HafenCity

Ellen Blumenstein

Initial release: Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, 1840

From: poestories.com/read/manofthecrowd

The Man of the Crowd

Part one

Edgar Allen Poe

Initial release: Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, 1840.

From: poestories.com/read/manofthecrowd

The Man of the Crowd

Part two

Edgar Allen Poe

from Marc Bijl: THE WORKS. 1984 : 2084
Jap Sam Books Amsterdam (coming soon)

Chapter 2/5


Women, violence and the HafenCity

Ellen Blumenstein

Also available as Podcast

Street Philosophy
Chapter 3/5

On the Threshold of Wisdom

A city’s media

Daniel Tyradellis


Am Sandtorpark 2 
20457 Hamburg 
Tel 040 883 536 58 


For press inquiries please contact info@imaginethecity.de.

Our press section has all the latest press material available for download.

© Jan Northoff
© Jan Northoff

In DER HAMBURGER magazine: a profileof IMAGINE THE CITY.

© Helge Mundt
© Helge Mundt

The Hamburger Abendblatt featured Annika Kahrs's installation in the old dockside warehouse.

© Thomas Hampel
© Thomas Hampel

DER SPIEGEL interview with Terence Koh, talking about his BEE CHAPEL HAFENCITY.

© Thomas Hampel
© Thomas Hampel

Understanding the PUBLIC FACE: in-depth analysis in Arch+.

© Laura Biermann-Fireck
© Laura Biermann-Fireck

The BOTBOAT in the practical test of the ADAC travel magazine. Published in issue No. 181.


Initiated in 2017 by Hamburg’s largest development company, HafenCity Hamburg GmbH (HCH), the experimental cultural programme got underway with the appointment of Ellen Blumenstein as HafenCity Curator. The following year she adapted the programme to create IMAGINE THE CITY, a project orientated less according to her own personal input and more towards the content-related tasks with which she had been entrusted. The project itself is funded by the independent, non-profit association Kunst und Kultur in der HafenCity. HCH provides the basic funding during the pilot phase and is represented on the Association’s Board in a bid to facilitate the co-ordination of the various projects. A significant portion of the required budget is secured through the acquisition of third-party funding. Since 2017, we have realised more than twenty projects involving almost 100 participants, co-operated with eight cultural institutions and raised more than three million euros. 

IMAGINE THE CITY elaborates representative new formats at the interface between culture and urban planning. We incorporate artistic perspectives into the HCH’s urban projects in an illustrative way while collaborating at the international level with like-minded people across all sectors of society. We look at the city from a user perspective and enable encounters with, in, and through its built-up environment so that, together, we can reformulate society’s expectations of culture. In doing so, we target an aspect of the city that planning cannot ‘plan’ for: informal urban spaces highly charged in terms of both narrative and imagination. Practically and discursively, we contribute to shaping the future of our cities in ways that are vibrant, equitable and supportive. 

In January 2023, IMAGINE THE CITY will be relocating to new headquarters at Coffee Plaza in HafenCity. Our premises are open on three sides, allowing us to interact directly with the outside space and enliven the site for our neighbours, cultural workers and other interested parties, whether it’s through performances, film evenings, lectures or workshops. These events are aimed at everyone living a city who is keen to reflect on seemingly unconnected aspects, track down their own blind spots, and as a result help develop images or ideas of the sort of city we would all want to live in. 

Our work ties in with a broad spectrum of cultural initiatives that were incorporated early on into HafenCity’s development, e.g. the founding of the Oberhafen Cultural Quarter, the establishment of a number of festivals, and the promotion of temporary and/or subculture-based usage concepts. At the same time, IMAGINE THE CITY has gone beyond the scope of these previous approaches. Indeed, for the first time, we deliberately took action in a systematic, long-term, cross-project and cross-genre way, specifically in those areas where the course for our future lives together is being chartered, i.e. urban development areas. This orientation calls for new concepts, new alliances and new infrastructures that mediate between culture and urban development, stakeholders and clients, representation and activism. 


We are regularly on the lookout for interns. Please submit your applications to: info@imaginethecity.de


DIRECTOR (on maternity leave)
Ellen Blumenstein 

Always in search of new formats that convey cultural issues to a broad audience, Ellen is utterly committed to the task of thinking about culture and urban development as a consistent entity for Hamburg. At the same time, she is also associate curator at Spreepark Berlin and oversees the Reallabor Kunst im öffentlichen Raum at the University of the Arts Bremen until 2023.  

Jonas Wietelmann 

Jonas relocated from Dresden to Hamburg in spring 2022 in a bid to help make the infrastructure of IMAGINE THE CITY shipshape. He is tasked with turning interesting concepts into doable projects, looks after our fundraising, and is also in charge of networking us far beyond the borders of Hamburg. His main focus is on digital strategies and art education technologies. 

Theresa Michel 

Theresa has been a member of the IMAGINE THE CITY artistic team since 2019, working as a research assistant and co-curator for three years focusing on Hamburg’s past and its trading history as well as helping to develop digital formats. Since 2022 she has taken on curatorial responsibility and is the first point of contact for project and format ideas, joint ventures – and the coining of creative titles. 

Lea-Elisa Jüttner 

Lea has been working on her Master’s in Urban Design at HafenCity University since autumn 2022, elaborating repurposing strategies, urban meeting spaces and cultural formats beyond traditional institutions. Besides her office management duties, she also contributes her experience from the Hamburg Office for the Protection of Historic Buildings and as a mediator at documenta 15 to the programme work of IMAGINE THE CITY. 

Anke Hollmann 

Timm Häneke 
Tobias Röttger 

Stefan Wunderwald 

The website was funded within KULTUR.GEMEINSCHAFTEN. The program is funded by the NEUSTART KULTUR rescue and future package of the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien and the Kulturstiftung der Länder.



2. Limbo: The gatekeepers                  

©Laura Léglise
©Laura Léglise

E altro disse, ma non l’ ho a mente; 
però che l’occhio m’avea tutto tratto 
ver’ l’alta torre a la cima rovente,  
dove in un punto furon dritte ratto 
tre furïe infernal di sangue tinte, 
che membra feminine avieno e atto,  
e con idre verdissime eran cinte; 
serpentelli e ceraste avien per crine, 
onde le fiere tempie erano avvinte. 
E quei, che ben conobbe le meschine 
de la regina de l’etterno pianto, 
"Guarda", mi disse, "le feroci Erine.  
Quest’è Megera dal sinistro canto; 
quella che piange dal destro è Aletto; 
Tesifón è nel mezzo"; e tacque a tanto.  
Con l’unghie si fendea ciascuna il petto; 
battiensi a palme e gridavan sì alto, 
ch’i’ mi strinsi al poeta per sospetto.  
"Vegna Medusa: sì ’l farem di smalto", 
dicevan tutte riguardando in giuso; 
"mal non vengiammo in Tesëo l’assalto".  
"Volgiti ’n dietro e tien lo viso chiuso; 
ché se ’l Gorgón si mostra e tu ’l vedessi, 
nulla sarebbe di tornar mai suso".  


From Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto ix, 34-57 
All this and more he expounded; but the rest 
Was lost on me, for suddenly my attention 
Was drawn to the turret with fiery crest 
Where all at once three hellish and inhuman 
Furies sprang to view, bloodstained and wild. 
These limbs and gestures hinted they were women. 
Belts of greenest hydras wound and wound 
About their waists, and snakes and horned serpents 
Grew from their heads like matted hair and bound 
Their horrid brows. My Master, who well knew 
The handmaids of the Queen of Woe, cried: “Look: 
The terrible Erinyes of Hecate’s crew. 
That is Megaera to the left of the tower. 
Alecto is the one who raves on the right. 
Tisiphone stands between them.” And he said no more. 
With their palms they beat their brows, with their nails they clawed 
Their bleeding breasts. And such mad wails broke from them 
That I drew close to the Poet, overawed. 
And all together screamed, looking down at me: 
“Call Medusa that we may change him to stone! 
Too lightly we let Theseus go free.” 
“Turn your back and keep your eyes shut tight; 
For should the Gorgon come and you look at her, 
Never again would you return to the light.” 

[Corresponding lines from verse translation of Inferno by John Ciardi, New Academy Library, NYC, 1954] 

De Furiën bezoeken Tereus en Procne tijdens hun huwelijksnachtMetamorfosen van Ovidius (serietitel)
De Furiën bezoeken Tereus en Procne tijdens hun huwelijksnachtMetamorfosen van Ovidius (serietitel)

The gateway to the underworld is guarded by the Erinyes, or Furies. According to Hesiod (c. 700 BC) they are the daughters of Gaia (the earth, the oldest Greek deity) and her son Ouranos (to whom she gave birth - bringing the masculine principle into the world - after being impregnated by Eros while a sleeping virgin). The two had already produced many children: twelve titans (who in turn became the parents of the Olympian gods), three one-eyed cyclopes and three gigantic, hundred-handed Hecatoncheires. But Ouranos concealed these offspring deep under the earth in Tartarus. This treatment of her children enraged Gaia, who convinced the titan Kronos to castrate his father with a large, jagged sickle at the moment before sexual coupling with his mother. Aphrodite, the eldest of the Olympian godesses, was later born from the sexual organs of Ouranos, which had fallen into the sea when severed. The giants, the Meliae (tree nymphs) and the Erinyes were born from drops of blood that spattered the earth during the castration. Kronos became ruler of the gods after committing this act. And from this moment onwards, the Erinyes - the bat-winged sisters Alecto (the implacable), Megaera (the jealous) and Tisiphone (the vengeful), with snakes for hair, wearing hunting boots and carrying torches and brass-studded scourges - championed the victims of unpunished murder. Passing between worlds, they tormented those mortals (mostly men) who escaped earthly retribution for injustices done (mostly to women). Some 200 years after Hesiod, Aeschylus returned to the maternal principle and its power, setting out determinedly and effectively to undermine it in a three-part tragedy, the Oresteia (458 BC). As the three plays of the cycle build one upon the other, the poet shows a principle of divine vengeance (or a maternal order) superseded by one of juridical decision (paternal order). Using the story of the Mycenean royal house of Tantalus (which lay under a curse for betrayal of the gods), Aeschylus recasts the justly implacable Erinyes as the more gracious Eumenides, capable of forgiveness.  

Their loss of power ends the cascading cycle of violence in which Agamemnon (of the house of Tantalus) sacrificed his daughter Iphigenia to appease the winds as he prepared to wage war on Troy. Upon his return from the war, Agamemnon is killed by his wife Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus, after bringing his own lover Cassandra into the house. When the god Apollo demands atonement, Clytemnestra is killed in turn by her son Orestes. After killing his mother, Orestes flees the Erinyes and seeks refuge in the temple of the goddess Pallas Athena, whereupon Apollo insists that Athena surrender Orestes to the Erinyes. The goddess chooses to bring the case before a court of the citizens of Athens, the first ever proceedings of this kind. When the votes of the jurors are divided evenly, Athena takes the side of Orestes. In what amounts to the poet's punchline, this decision confirms that the murder of a husband who is not a blood relative should weigh more heavily than that of the murderer's own mother. In this way, Aeschylus contributes to the replacement of the rights of the mother - until then considered absolute and always enforced whatever the cost - with case-by-case strategic decision, generally in the (male) interest of war and conquest. Thus by the time of the Roman Empire the strong and uncontainable Erinyes had become ugly, screeching, stinking old Furies, blood or pus streaming from their eyes. This image remains with us today. 

©Laura Léglise
©Laura Léglise

To be continued.