Bitte Lebn - Urbane Kunst und Subkultur in Berlin 2003–2021
The starting point of this work is the springtime of a subcultural movement around formerly squatted houses, self-managed projects and unused wastelands in the centre of Berlin. A myriad of collectives seized the opportunity to appropriate these spaces and use them beyond the rules of the capitalist market economy. A graffiti scene that had been growing for decades met with artists and activists from all over the world to invent new aesthetic forms of expression. A creative explosion ensued in the streets.
Countless works were created on surfaces such as walls, roofs, traffic signs, bulky waste or vending machines. Scouting empty industrial plants, house roofs or hard-to-reach places became a leisure activity. Mobile sound systems conquered wastelands and parks with techno parties. Urban art became an unmissable mass phenomenon, as if a knot had been broken. It was the euphoric dawn of a movement that some believed could dissolve the separation between art and everyday life and transform public space into a total work of art. Workshops, neighbourhood and project shops and other spaces for non-commercial culture organised events and festivals that gave at least an inkling of what life after capitalism might feel like.
However, the appropriative practices and subcultures are in danger of becoming a brand themselves, a location factor in the city's competition for the favour of tourists, investors and business enterprises. Urban art faces the crucial question of how (sub-)cultural activism should locate itself in the future if it does not want to lose its explosive power.
Texts in German
22 x 30.5 cm