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.

 

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