48 Stunden Neukölln is a forum for projects in all conceivable artistic disciplines found in the art scene in Berlin. The festival both presents and supports art, thereby contributing to discussions of ideas effecting society at large while also reflecting said society. All segments of the local population get involved, regardless of age, ethnic background or social standing. Art here is something more than what's on view in galleries and museums during 48 Stunden. The festival brings not only a variety of disciplines, but also people together, as they view art which relays important ideas. This manifests itself in discursive, participatory and interdisciplinary projects, which are a festival priority. At the same though, there is also a focus on art for art's sake – including the conditions under which art is made, techniques used as well as the social function that art can serve. The festival endeavours to explore all potential forms of contemporary artistic expression, including ways of dealing with political issues in the arts.
How can a festival of the arts like 48 Stunden Neukölln deal with the issues facing a society in the process of changing fundamentally? Our festival theme in 2015 is S.O.S. – Art saves the world has been updated. Save our souls (or “save our ship”) is probably the most well known and most emotional Morse signal of all. S.O.S. relays the peril of mortal danger while it is also a plea to be rescued. The festival motto's subheading then comes as a surprise. Neither art nor the artists who make it are asking for help, although there are ample reasons for artists to do so. On the contrary, the idea is that they can rescue others. This call of distress appears to go out from the entire “world”, assuming that “art” is on the ground and ready to provide the help needed. Nonetheless, the statement that “Art saves the world” is an irritating one.
48 Stunden Neukölln also includes a Festival of Young Arts. Children, young people and families can marvel at art projects including not just paintings, but sculptures, theatre plays and films made either by young people or artists. Many of the activities taking place in this framework are also participatory, such as workshops and adventurous excursions. 48 Stunden Neukölln invites all institutions, youthclubs and artists to show the variety of artistic work with young people.