Save Ateliers in Berlin

Mengerzeile location
As an independent artist living in Berlin, I’ve lived the eviction of one of the biggest Atelier-spaces left in Kreuzberg. This was carried by one of the filthiest investing companies that are dooming this city, and, without a chance to stand against the laws protecting their money, we found a new place that is lucky to still be on its feet, but still needs to be saved from this depredation. We’re confronting the last chance of saving one of the last Atelier buildings left within the Ring area: The Mengerzeile. As more artists are pushed outside the new commercial centers, I join this campaign and invite you to do the same. Regretably, the only way to fight money on a short-term scenario is with money, so the first thing is to donate!

Afterwards you can keep on reading:

The history of the building

A small parsonal note:

Living in Berlin and doing some kind of Artistic labour was until not long ago, a hand-in-hand concept. Every second person you’d meet would want to have a space where s-he could get her/his hands dirty and create their objects, music or movies. This meant that people could still live from their creations and interact with the core of the city, live in it, liven it up. Since the rise of Berlin as a top location for Business and startups, this is becoming a thing of the past, and this is for most of the not-businessmen like you, bad news.

As artists were the ones who set the path for this new trend, they are being thrown out of all the locations they fought for, and which are now desired by their “Low-cost” in comparison to the old European Hype-Cities. It seems like, at this rate of evacuation, soon Berlin will become a sterile carousel of stores, offices and Starbucks everywhere. The best memories of my arrival to this city in 2006 are related to places that lie now under a new mediocre building at the spree, or a gentrified family building or supermarket. In 9 Years the city lost most of it’s potential to become a business attraction and now we’ll deal with consequences: As more shopping centers and expensive cafés are opened every week, exclusion and inequality augment everywhere. The organic network of people from all social levels that used to shape areas like F-Hain or Kreuzberg, are being replaced by hordes of monotone individuals sitting in redesigned production facilities. With the stylish concept of co-working spaces, the new paradigm of capitalism disguises the old kafkian nightmare of the bureaucrat with the illusion of emancipated, free workers: the entrepreneurs.

As this new gold rush is going on, we shouldn’t be surprised if insecurity rises and rents go high. These are the effects of gentrification and massive exclusion of an homogeneous population from the city centers. The only way to pull the break is to reserve spaces for the integration of society and it’s members, for the flow of different social currents through the city and it’s cultural manifestations. Setting limits to the Greed of investors and owners would be a start, but the next step shouldn’t be a task of politicians but of people like us, people that already have the spaces and ideas to do so.

How to do that? At a macro-level, there should be lots of very accurate sources out there, but we should start small, yet with some ambition:

Save the Mengerzeile.