On the occasion of the project We Decide How We Reside, we stay a few days in Berlin, and lay down our hat in Hotel Pension ECK, near the Tiergarten.

An establishment situated in a building from the 18th century and who has travelers and tourists as a guests since 1920.
Each of the 8 rooms match the room of the middle-class appartment, that was originally : accross the long flowered corridors, we recognize the parental room, these of the children or now these of the servant, the living room…
Since the next century, it’s like if nothing has change : the wallpaper, the furnitures and the properties are period style, like the old Berlin. Even the service of the breakfast keep his one style.
An unic atmosphere who appeals to us, after all these hotel with rationalized pillow. We found that’s touch us in St Pierre et Rome Hotel in Marseille : a place full of histories with a real living soul and where the idea of welcome isn’t reduce to a 9m2 standardised room and to its ergonomic – effective furnitures, but to feather in the pillow, a furniture who tell us a story, an authentic and personnalised decoration in each room, an adapted and listening service. Here the travel continue.
Helma, who deal with her hotel single handedly and from the bottom of her heart, assure a perfect welcome, individualized and following a chic German tradition.
An hotel who charm since one century, a clientele of atists, writers, musicians and loyal regulars

dscn8685_23383941039_o Helma’s Hotel has also be the place of our first experimentation of installation, imagined during our immersion in hotel St Pierre in Marseille. An installation for hotel rooms, that can travel in a suitcase and adapt to the room which welcomes it. Adjusted on-site for the majority, the ingredients of the stage-design choose the side of intimacy while this spaces of passage are more and more controlled by the strict criterion of comfort, welcome standards and norms of hospitality

With the context of the international worshop, we translate all the elements in German, English and Turkish.
Our comrade of the project play along the public test. Theirs feedback enable to nourish the creation of the project Hotel Obscura who will see the day in february.
Thanks to us and especially to Helma for giving us her trust for invest the hotel.
A good meeting like we love, rich of swap and inspiration.
A special thanks to David for the photographies.

[:en]Preparations for the Show![:tr]Sergi Öncesi Son Hazırlıklar[:]

[:en]For the final exhibition in Berlin children and us worked together hard to get the product ready. Damlagül drow the map of the neighbourhood on the cloth, Damla, Esma and Dilan stiched the buttons Umut documented the process…

pre1 pre2 pre3[:tr]Berlin’deki sergi öncesi işleri hazırlamak için çocuklarla birlikte çok çalıştık. Damlagül mahallenin planını kumaş üzerine geçirdi, Damla, Esma ve Dilan düğme olacak parçaları diktiler, Umut süreci fotoğrafladı…

pre1 pre2 pre3[:]

[:en]Exercise: Clay Animation Movie[:tr]Deneme: Çamur ile Animasyon[:]


We worked on an clay animation movie about a story that happened in the street. It was a bout a women and a lorry driver of Sunday’s market guy and their fight. The driver dirtied the newly washed clothes of the women and they started to argue.

[:tr]We worked on an clay animation movie about a story that happened in the street. It was a bout a women and a lorry driver of Sunday’s market guy and their fight. The driver dirtied the newly washed clothes of the women and they started to argue.


UPCOMING: SpaceLab _Kotti L’Amour (Kotti Shop)

HKW_wwwwwSpaceLab _Kotti L’Amour: Wir wohnen, wie wir wollen.

Stefan Endewardt & Julia Brunner
together with the “Kotti-Pictures”-Crew, the “36 Monsters” and the neighbours of the “Neues Kreuzberger Zentrum”

Opening: Wednesday, 28th of October, 19h
Exhibition: Monday, November 2nd to Friday, November 6th, 16h-18h
@ Kotti-Shop | Adalbertstr. 4 | 10999 Berlin

Who decides how we reside?


The staff of a traditional hotel in downtown Marseille, the children in Istanbul’s district Tarlabaşı and the neighbours around Kottbusser Tor, Berlin: Is there a connection between these urban protagonists? What are their struggles? How do they perceive their environment?

In a Skype talk, the participants of “We decide how we reside” explored and discussed the scope, challenges and interrelations of their projects: Building relations in the neighbourhood and coping with change in the urban context were two major similarities that appeared in the discussion.

Also the role of the projects themselves was critically reflected: What are their goals and limitations? How do cultural interventions in such neighbourhoods influence urban change? We are looking forward to the public workshop on October, 29, to hear more about these topics!

We decide how we reside – Public workshop:
Thu, Oct 29, 2015, 2-6 pm
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
Please register with: education@hkw.de


MARSEILLE : Arriving at Hotel Saint-Pierre de Rome

Hôtel Saint Pierre Rome-0393

Starting the new term, we get together for three days of immersion for the project “We Decide How We Reside”. On this occasion, we make a stopover at ” Hotel Saint-Pierre de Rome “, which is situated right in the center of Marseille. Katia, the director gives us “carte blanche”. Many thanks for her warm welcome and her trust !

Touching encounters with Carole, the housekeeper, Thierry the front-desk manager, Sonia the receptionist, Dravo who just joined the crew … Marie and Sonia the chambermaids and Jean-Marie the night watchman. A very welcoming hotel team.

They share their universe with us, their habits, their difficulties, their visions of an ideal hotel, of their job! This quirky hotel has a 100-year-old soul… It’s a labyrinth of a thousand doors, which open on passing fragments of life. We get familiar with this peculiar sort of life where individuals add-up without crossing each-other, and which flows 24hrs a day. This hotel wasn’t ever closed for one single day in the course of a century. As a result, there are plenty stories waiting to be picked from the fabric wallpaper!

From the terrace of the former board room, we see the little streets of Noailles, an old working-class area of town, toys from the hardware shop “Maison Empereur”, seafood stalls at “Chez Toinou”, two landmarks of the district, the top of the new tramway, the roofs around the Opera, the “Canebière”, the most famous street in Marseille, the masts of boats at “Le Vieux Port”… We are here at the crossroad of all of the city-centre’s main areas, split by the “Canebière” in one direction, and the tramway, a street corner, or a new urban rehabilitation site across the way.

We have all the time to visit this hotel from the cellar to the attic, to get lost in its twits and turns and to draw, map-out, write, interview, watch. We play the game, carrying-out some of the crew’s tasks, we explore the relationship between gesture and intimacy, between space and identity.

This is already the end of September, we will let these moments settle, to give us some precious, shiny material that we shall use upon our return in October.


PASAJ (Istanbul): “A rude and inhuman form of gentrification”

Tarlabaşı, Istanbul

PASAJ is located in Istanbul`s neighbourhood Tarlabaşı. What are the challenges to work in this specific area of Istanbul? Especially if the participants are children? Here are the answers by Seçil Yaylalı and Ekmel Ertan:

The main challenge is to sustain the children’s trust and not to harm them in any way. It is also very nice to see what we try to teach starts to become real; we see the results little by little.

Many themes and conflicts of the neighborhood are related to drug usage and noise. They are embedded in diverse stories, each person of the neighborhood tells another story. They are very sincere; when they are talking to kids they tell what they think. They tell about their past. They tell that they like their neighborhood, although it is very noisy but it is full of fun. We also hear a lot about their worries.

Berlin and Marseille have similar children most probably, who need to be taken seriously. The gentrification problems are also common but far different in practicalities. In İstanbul it is a very direct, rude and inhuman form of gentrification in most of the cases – especially in the last ten years when new capitalist class raised.

Kotti-Shop (Berlin): “It is like tending the garden of our house”

The following blogposts will touch upon the challenges that exist for self-determined dwelling in Marseille, Berlin and Istanbul but will also depict how the projects, workshops and participants relate to these issues. The Kotti-Shop works with a variety of different people, hence patience and responsibility are crucial to bring them together:

The biggest challenge in working with a neighborhood is tangibility. In order to be able to work together with all these different people on a regular basis, we and Kotti-Shop need to be tangible for the neighborhood. This means, that we are present and approachable even though we don’t have a workshop: it is a bit like tending the garden of our house, it takes time and patience and responsibility. Yet we have to be flexible. It happens that people can’t make it to the workshop, that they are not feeling well or that something happened in their live, sometimes people have conflicts with each other and we have to create a neutral basis.

The starting point for „We decide how we reside“ was a polemic letter and a collection of signatures which started out in our neighborhood or „Kiez“. We were reminded of the Pegida movement, which grew during this time in different cities in Germany. The reason for this letter was the playground – our “living room”. In this letter different groups of people were attacked and stereotypically depicted, Roma people for example, African people, etc… After a long discussion during the workshop we decided to focus on this “living-room” to work against the polemic campaign.

In our area, in Kreuzberg, people are afraid of gentrification and its consequences. Throughout the last couple of years, a lot of initiatives have been formed which work against this process on e.g. a political level. In our artistic analysis we thus meassure the scopes for action. However, also we want to mention, that we ourselves, are in a very controverse position in this whole discourse about „housing“: even though our work focus on empowerment of the neighborhood it also makes this neighborhood more interesting for people from the outside.


La Folie Kilomètre (Marseille): The old hotel Remi St. Pierre in transition

Hotel Obscura workshop with La Folie Kilomètre

The collective La Folie Kilomètre has previously been working on the notions of ephemeral living in hotels. For We decide how we reside they are collaborating with the staff of the old hotel Remi St. Pierre in the center of Marseille. Since the people who spend most of their time in the hotel are the people who are working there, they are the ones who “live” there in a more permanent way.

The hotel Remi St. Pierre exists for about 100 years. With its great soul it attracts mainly regular guests instead of the onetime visiting tourist. But now it will soon be renovated and runs the risk of being transformed into a standardized chain hotel. This transition already started a few months ago with a new management in place and the coming and going of some employees. The situation of the hotel also reflects the present change of the city of Marseille.

In a performative course the personnel explores their daily lives in the Remi St. Pierre, to which they are very attached, and also deal with the current change of the hotel as well as their uncertain future. Beyond that, they discover the world of spectacle. It is an adventure for them.

Kottishop (Berlin): “Building bridges between people”

Both children and elderly people join the Kottshop.

A participatory and open approach is central to the Kottishop, which is part of the neighbourhood at Kottbusser Tor since 2008. Who are the participants of the project? What are their ambitions?

We are working with the diverse neighbourhood of the Neue Kreuzberger Zentrum at Kottbusser Tor, with adults as well as children and elderly people. The Neue Kreuzberger Zentrum is a huge concrete building surrounding the Kottbusser Tor – known affectionately as “Kotti“. 1250 people are living alone in this particular building. It is embedded in one of Berlin’s most urban places yet, for the people living here it seems to be a small village: People know each other, they meet in the floors of the huge building, they see each other on the street.

In our projects and in this project in particular we are focusing on building bridges between people through participatory art and thus shaping and forming together the social fabric of our living environment. The Kottishop is part of the neighbourhood since 2008. It is an important place for the neighbours and the children living there, with an atmosphere of trust and respect. People from the neighbourhood who were passing by could join in anytime. Thus, during the last months, the group was growing, new relationships developed, people brought friends, their direct neighbours etc.

All of them enjoy expressing themselves artistically. Yet it is more important to get to know each other; to form and shape our relationships and our living environment together: to meet other people whom they wouldn’t have met otherwise, to get to know each other, to talk about important issues in their lives, to have a place to go regularly where people accept them for who they are.

PASAJ (Istanbul): “A way of having fun and learning”

PASAJ (Istanbul): Workshop in June 2015
Workshop in June 2015 at PASAJ.

Pasaj, Kotti-Shop and La Folie Kilomètre: Each project takes place in a different urban context involving different actors and participants. In order to explore differences and similarities between these projects, the upcoming blog posts are meant to provide “insights” and answers.

The first topic draws on the participants: Who is involved in the project? What is the participants’ relation to the particular neighbourhood where the project is taking place? How do they benefit from participating? We start with PASAJ and their project with children in the Tarlabaşı district in İstanbul:

We are working with children in the Tarlabaşı district in İstanbul. Tarlabaşı is an old neighbourhood in the very center of İstanbul. The district is poor, crime intensive, fast circulating and subject to gentrification, which was started few years ago. The children live or regular play in the street, where PASAJ is located. Therefore the children were partly known by one of the artists before we started the project.

For the children the project is a way of having fun and learning. They are learning how to shoot videos and to take photographs. They learn about a wide range of topics that we worked on or talked about during the meetings that we had three times a week for three months. They feel more self-confident with the trust and confidence we show them. They are happy with doing something serious. They are now better in teamwork. They also enjoy meeting new and different people, and developing a communication with them.

Their expectation is to continue with current learning and enjoyment. They also like to see themselves on screen and watch the videos that they shoot. They do not expect too much in long-term.

Upcoming: Public workshop in Berlin with Kotti-Shop, PASAJ, La Folie Kilomètre and many more…


On Thursday, October 29, Berlin activists and experts will talk with representatives of the artist groups Kotti-Shop (Berlin), PASAJ (Istanbul) and La Folie Kilomètre (Marseille) from the project We decide how we reside. What potential do participative projects in cities have for critical reflection? Many outreach and educational projects in Berlin and elsewhere deal with self-determination while exploring geographical, social and artistic practices. Can they strengthen the social fabric?

Featuring input by Sandi Hilal of Campus in Camps, Bethlehem. With #GentrifiHÄÄ?? (JugendtheaterBüro), Selda Asal (Apartment Project Berlin), Hamidullah Ehrari (Haus Leo, “Arriving in Berlin – A Refugees’ Map”), Anne Paffenholz (Wohnwut / Junipark) and Robert Shaw (Prinzessinnengärten).

We decide how we reside – Public workshop:  
Thu, Oct 29, 2015, 2-6 pm
Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
Please register with: education@hkw.de