Upgrading, displacement and resistance – The mural “Berlin not for Sale” shows current urban politics in Kreuzberg
On a house facade near the Görlitzer Bahnhof train station in Kreuzberg, an urban political mural was created in summer 2014 that depicts the current debates about upgrading, displacement and resistance in this Berlin district. The facade was designed by the collectives Pappsatt, Memfarado and orangotango. The motif was developed in a process lasting several months with the residents of the self-managed house project Manteuffel 39. The wall provided an alternative Kreuzberg cooperative, with financial support from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation for Youth Education.
The realization of the mural was preceded by a participatory mapping workshop with the youth group of the Kotti & Co tenants’ initiative. In a map of the district, places of profit-oriented urban development (such as the Mediaspree project) as well as places of resistance to these developments were compiled. Using the Kreuzberg district as an example, the project visualizes how and where protest initiatives defend themselves against privatization and repression in a variety of ways: with rent protests, noise demonstrations, squatting houses and squares, blockades from evictions, neighborhood gardeners and other means the appropriation of urban space.
We celebrated the official inauguration of the mural on Friday, September 12th, 2014 with the participating initiatives and interested neighbors at the playground Manteuffel / Naunynstrasse.
Here are a few visual impressions of the evening: Fotos
You can listen to an audio recording of the event here.
Thanks to the Anarchistic Radio Berlin and of course for the speeches by the represented Inis and projects, i.a. the alliance against forced evictions (prevent the speech of the alliance against forced evictions at the inauguration of the mural here), Kotti & Co, Hausgemeinschaft Manteuffelstraße 39.
The motifs shown clockwise from bottom right:
- The attempted eviction of the Gerhardt Hauptmann school. The building in Ohlauerstreet has been occupied by refugees and illegalized migrants since the end of 2012, who among other things fight for a right to stay in Germany. During the attempt to evacuate, the activists entrenched themselves on the roof of the school.
- The house communities around Heinrichplatz. Some of them are self-governing.
- The banks of the Spree: Despite the successful citizens’ decision against the Mediaspree investor project, the land along the Spree is being privatized and built on. Open space is lost, instead commercial megalomania projects are raised.
- The Kottbusser Tor: Since mid-2012, the residents of the high-rise buildings on the Kotti have been defending themselves, among other things, with their gecekondu – a permanent occupation in public space – against the rising rents in their supposed social housing.
- The Oranienplatz was occupied by refugees at the end of a protest march across Germany at the end of October 2012 and evicted in April 2014 with empty promises from the Senate. Today there is still an information tent that draws attention to the situation of refugees and illegalized migrants in Germany and at Europe’s external borders.
- On the Bethanien Damm, between the Rauchhaus and Bethanien, there is the Ton-Steine-Gärten community garden. The open space next to it is also known as the Carlo Giuliani Park.
- The cut field should represent the Carloft in the Reichenberger Strasse. Luxury apartments were built here, where the owners can take their car into the apartment. This is just the summit of perversion that is taking place in the field of luxury modernization and privatization given the tense housing market in Berlin.
- The corner field is the Cuvrybrache, one of the last freely accessible areas on the Spree on the Kreuzberg side. Around 130 dropouts, homeless people, adventurers and others who otherwise find no place in the capitalist city now live here – a suburb of the future?
- Lausitzerstrasse is a symbol of the fight against evictions in Berlin. Activists tried to block the planned eviction of a family. Successful at first, the police only managed to take the apartment in a second attempt with a large contingent of officials and put the family who had been living there for years on the streets.
- An expensive four-lament hotel recently opened in Manteufelstrasse. Hoho!
- The Köpi is one of the last occupied houses in Berlin. Since the early 1990s, the self-administered cultural center has refused to be used commercially.
- The market hall in Eisenbahnstraße stands for healthy food on the one hand and extreme prices on the other.
- The Lohmühle wagon place is at the end of the Görlitz Park on the Treptower side of the canal.
Making of Kreuzberg mural
Finally: After months of hacking with the bureaucratic authorities (green space office, regulatory office, building office, commission for art in public space …) we project the picture in three sections on a Friday evening in July on the wall. Does that work with the distortion? We only start at noon on Saturday and paint by numbers: each color is a tour of the sketched image, each surface is defined. We paint until dark, friends come over and build a grill on the playground. The arugula and the grilled vegetables come from the Allmende-Kontor community garden on Tempelhofer Feld.
Sunday starts earlier: we alternately paint in teams of two on the picture, the climber does not stand still. The others mix colors and create cool drinks, it’s hot.
The motif becomes clearer and clearer, passers-by stop and become interested. The street names bring clarity, finally with a can the outline of everything. We finish the grandma, who is spraying the graffiti with an ultra-wide spray can over the “Berlin for Sale”, shortly before sunset.
The floor sways every time we arrive down after a two-hour tour along the house facade. The sense of balance continues to be put to the test when we cut and clink three bottles of sparkling wine after finishing the mural on Sunday evening … a lengthy process comes to a happy end.
Many thanks to Reclaim Your City for the support with the documentation! We are looking forward to many other actions of this kind!