Making Room

Platzpro­jekt is part of the port­fo­lio of places with which the cul­tur­al office of the city admin­is­tra­tion of Hanover is com­pet­ing as a can­di­date for the Euro­pean Cap­i­tal of Cul­ture 2025.

About six­teen years ago, two skaters found a plot of fal­low land in Hanover-Linden’s indus­tri­al area. They start to clean up and build a small skate park. In 2009, they form an asso­ci­a­tion, nego­ti­ate an inter­im use con­tract with the own­er togeth­er with the city council’s sup­port, and reach a lease agree­ment for one euro per year, which is still valid today. In 2013, anoth­er asso­ci­a­tion is cre­at­ed: Platzpro­jekt aims to cre­ate a space for ini­tia­tives, a place for self-help, for mutu­al sup­port offer­ing knowl­edge, tools, and crafts­man­ship. Research funds and state sub­si­dies enable the estab­lish­ment of long-term par­tic­i­pa­tion struc­tures for young peo­ple who want to dis­cuss their cities in self-orga­nized spaces and active­ly shape them.


Project

PlatzPro­jekt


Actors

PlatzPro­jekt e.V., respon­si­ble body; City of Hanover, co-financ­ing, nego­ti­a­tion; Metro Group, land own­er­ship; Fed­er­al Min­istry of the Envi­ron­ment, co-financing


Year

Since 2013, found­ing of the association


Loca­tion

Hanover, Ger­many

© Chi­na Hopson
In 2004, a group of skaters occu­pied an over­grown piece of land in an indus­tri­al area in the west of Han­nover. The city admin­is­tra­tion and the dis­trict may­or Rain­er-Jörg Grube sup­port­ed the project by sign­ing a lease and extend­ing the activ­i­ties to a neigh­bor­ing prop­er­ty. © Philip Robin­son Crusius
© Sam Green

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Art and Activism

The instal­la­tion Pub­lic Forum by Steve Lam­bert, co-founder of the Cen­ter for Artis­tic Activism, is a mobile dis­cus­sion plat­form where the pub­lic is invit­ed to vote whether the ques­tions on the sign are right or wrong. © Steve Lambert

Prison reforms, fair nation­al bud­gets, jus­tice for immi­grants, the appro­pri­ate deter­mi­na­tion of tax bur­dens, the erad­i­ca­tion of racial seg­re­ga­tion in schools, the fight against cor­rup­tion, or the ques­tion­ing of police sur­veil­lance of the broad public—all of these are top­ics for the Cen­tre for Artis­tic Activism (C4AA). What is unique in their work is the com­bi­na­tion of art meth­ods and for­mats with social move­ments. In work­shops, sem­i­nars, sum­mer acad­e­mies, and oth­er pro­grams, they dis­cuss the motives and work­ing meth­ods of dif­fer­ent groups togeth­er with artists and peo­ple who are pri­mar­i­ly active in social move­ments. This is intend­ed to sharp­en demands and orga­nize actions in a more direct­ed man­ner. Every­thing else, accord­ing to the founders of the orga­ni­za­tion, would be an unfor­giv­able strate­gic mistake.


Project

The Pub­lic Forum


Artist

Steve Lam­bert


Actors

Cen­ter for Artis­tic Activism (C4AA)


Year

Since 2009


Loca­tions

Var­i­ous

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Be Heard: The Right to the City

© Stel­la Flatten

The Chor der Sta­tis­tik was brought to life in 2019 by musi­cian Bernadette La Hengst and exper­i­men­tal archi­tec­ture col­lec­tive raum­labor­ber­lin. An open call attract­ed peo­ple who want­ed to sing about the chal­lenges of urban devel­op­ment process­es. The spe­cif­ic rea­son for the choir’s ini­ti­a­tion is the ongo­ing trans­for­ma­tion of the long-emp­ty Haus der Sta­tis­tik in Berlin. The joint­ly devel­oped songs raise ques­tions, address fears, and for­mu­late demands. And so, the choir sings about dis­place­ment and the right to the city, it artic­u­lates prob­lems around rent increas­es and the pri­va­ti­za­tion of space. Singing togeth­er and pub­lic appear­ances are equal­ly protest and demon­stra­tion at the same time. »For a bet­ter future,« says the choir direc­tor, rais­ing her baton.


Project

Chor der Sta­tis­tik (Sta­tis­tics Choir)


Actors

Andrea Hof­mann, Frauke Ger­sten­berg, Markus Bad­er, raum­labor­ber­lin; Bernadette La Hengst, singer and choir direc­tor; choir members


Year

since 2019


Loca­tion

Berlin, Ger­many

The House of Sta­tis­tics on Berlin’s Alexan­der­platz was stand­ing emp­ty for almost ten years, until a group of art and cul­ture pro­fes­sion­als claimed on large ban­ners that the city want­ed to set up afford­able stu­dios at this loca­tion. What began as a prank has in recent years become a com­plex urban plan­ning project ded­i­cat­ed to the pub­lic wel­fare-ori­ent­ed devel­op­ment of the area. © Felix Marlow
As part of the pio­neer­ing uses of the Haus der Sta­tis­tik, the Chor der Sta­tis­tik was found­ed in 2019—a project ini­ti­at­ed by raum­labor­ber­lin and the artist and singer Bernadette La Hengst. The songs of the choir—here a pub­lic per­for­mance dur­ing the Berlin Art Week in Sep­tem­ber 2019—focus on the ten­sions of urban devel­op­ments: Hous­ing short­age and every­day racism as well as sol­i­dar­i­ty prac­tices for a right to a city for all. © Vic­to­ria Tomaschko
Ordi­nary mega­phones seem to have long since ceased to be suf­fi­cient to make your­self heard. So here the mega-mega­phone stands as a per­haps nec­es­sary exag­ger­a­tion for the unheard demands and needs of a broad civ­il soci­ety. © raumlaborberlin

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City Games

© Play the City

While it is usu­al­ly only polit­i­cal and munic­i­pal deci­sion-mak­ers who sit around the table to decide on urban plan­ning projects, the games cre­at­ed by the Play the City agency bring var­i­ous groups and play­ers togeth­er: employ­ees of city admin­is­tra­tions, neigh­bor­hood res­i­dents, local busi­ness own­ers, ini­tia­tives, but also rep­re­sen­ta­tives of real estate com­pa­nies, archi­tec­ture offices, and many more. Every­one should par­take in the dis­cus­sion and deci­sions. At least, that is the great premise of the game. It should be played in the run-up to large-scale con­struc­tion and urban devel­op­ment projects, say those who devel­op the game to suit local con­texts, to expe­dite con­sen­sus build­ing, sup­port deci­sion mak­ing, and resolve conflicts.


Project

Play the City


Actors

Ekim Tan, Txell Blan­co, Chris­sy Gaglione, Sjors Martens, foun­da­tions; Hyun­woo Koo, Ulas Akin, Ekin Güneş Şan­lı, Müge Yor­gancı, collaboration


Year

Since 2008


Loca­tions

Var­i­ous

© Play the City
© Play the City
© Play the City
© Play the City
© Play the City

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Tracing Colonial Histories

© The Black Archives

For about five years, an archive has exist­ed in Ams­ter­dam, reveal­ing that which is buried and rarely told. It makes vis­i­ble (again) erad­i­cat­ed and sup­pressed voic­es, his­to­ries, and sto­ries. Build­ing on the lega­cy of the Suri­nam-born and lat­er Ams­ter­dam-based social sci­en­tist Wal­do Heil­bron, a cen­ter for (post)colonial his­to­ry was estab­lished. From this base, hege­mon­ic and Euro-cen­tric his­to­ri­og­ra­phy is expand­ed upon with oth­er aspects, data, and facts that paint a more dif­fer­en­ti­at­ed and mul­ti-per­spec­ti­val image of glob­al devel­op­ments over the last 400 years. As a place for col­lect­ing, research­ing, medi­at­ing, and pro­duc­ing knowl­edge, The Black Archives demon­strates how his­to­ry can be ori­ent­ed dif­fer­ent­ly and, step by step, sup­ple­ment­ed and expand­ed with exact­ly those miss­ing and sup­pressed voices.


Project

The Black Archives


Actors

Jes­si­ca de Abreu, Mitchell Esa­jas, Miguel Heil­bron, Thiemo Heilbron


Year

Since 2015


Loca­tion

Ams­ter­dam, Netherlands

© Mar­i­on Visser
© The Black Archives

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A Model City of Memories and Dreams

The urban land­scape of the cos­mopoli­tan city devel­ops from about 150 hous­es, which were built by fugi­tives togeth­er with the Berlin asso­ci­a­tion Schle­sis­che 27 and oth­er orga­ni­za­tions. © Aris Kress

That the hous­es assem­bled here seem to be thrown togeth­er is because the indi­vid­ual build­ings, as they stand there, do not nec­es­sar­i­ly exist as built struc­tures. They are mem­o­ries mixed with visions of one’s future four walls. Built by refugees from Iran, Syr­ia, Moroc­co, and Pak­istan, World City, as the project is called, was cre­at­ed togeth­er with Berlin-based asso­ci­a­tion Schlesische27 and oth­er orga­ni­za­tions. This glob­al city of a dif­fer­ent kind is both spec­u­la­tion and dream: about a future with­out bor­ders, the city as a process of dia­logue and its polypho­ny, of which there’s still too lit­tle to date.


Project

World City


Actors

S27—Art and Edu­ca­tion, ini­tia­tive; Anton Schüne­mann, Bar­bara Mey­er, Lin­da Weich­lein, Matze Görig, con­cept; Matze Görig, artis­tic project man­age­ment; Lin­da Weich­lein, orga­ni­za­tion­al project man­age­ment; Jana Barthel, Car­los de Abreu, Matthias Falken­berg, Jens Ger­lich, Wasim Ghiri­ou, Abuzer Güler, Renaud Hélé­na, Chris­t­ian Diaz Ore­jare­na, Nidal Jalouk, Folke Köb­ber­ling, Bern­hard Kremser, Ben­jamin Men­zel, Valentin Peitz, Thorsten Schlop­snies / Todosch, Fed­er­i­ca Teti, Kun­sta­syl e.V. with Bar­bara Caveng, Rudi Keil­er Gómez de Mel­lo, Char­lotte Kent Danoy, Bern­hard Kremser, Aymen Mon­tass­er, Dachil Sado, David Tsch­ier­sch, Patryk Witt


Year

2016—2020


Loca­tion

Berlin, Ger­many

Chil­dren, teenagers and adults build mod­els of hous­es, which rep­re­sent known and expe­ri­enced, but also future and dreamed places. © Fred Moseley
Lamin Man­neh, Gam­bia. © Fred Moseley
Abdel Kad­er Hami, Syrien. © Matze Görig
S27—art and edu­ca­tion © Fred Moseley

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Participation in City Design

More than 400 peo­ple assem­bled at a self orga­nized meet­ing in FC St. Pauli’s ball­room in Ham­burg in Feb­ru­ary 2014. The rea­son for the unusu­al gath­er­ing were dra­mat­ic changes in St. Pauli. The neigh­bor­hood called for a »bot­tom up-orga­nized, demo­c­ra­t­ic plan­ning process.« With the expe­ri­ence and the mobi­liza­tion pow­er of the broad Right-to-the-city-move­ment back­ing them, the inter­dis­ci­pli­nary plan­ning office Plan­bude is found­ed to devel­op a new land use plan for the city. Wish pro­duc­tion starts in late sum­mer. Planbude’s claim: »Knack’ den St. Pauli Code!« (Crack the St. Pauli code!) becomes the leit­mo­tif for a process that builds on mul­ti­lin­gual­ism in expres­sion and mak­ing. The results of the process are cap­tured in a con­tract and become the foun­da­tion for a plan­ning com­pe­ti­tion. Local knowl­edge builds the basis for the rein­ven­tion of the city.


Project

Plan­Bude / Crack the St. Pauli Code


Actors

Mar­git Czen­ki, Christoph Schäfer, Renée Trib­ble, Lisa Marie Zan­der, Christi­na Röthig, until 2018, Patri­cia Wedler, until 2017, Volk­er Kattha­gen, until 2016, neigh­bor­hood ini­tia­tives and residents


Year

Since 2014


Loca­tion

Ham­burg, Germany

The Esso Hous­es at Spiel­bu­den­platz in Hamburg’s St. Pauli dis­trict were built in the late 1950s and were con­sid­ered at risk of col­lapse in the ear­ly 2010s. They were demol­ished in 2014—under great protest. Doris Antony (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Plan­bude orga­nizes civ­il soci­ety resis­tance to the plans of the Ham­burg Sen­ate for the site, which has now been vacat­ed. The Plan­bude will be set up on site to absorb and artic­u­late the wish­es of the city soci­ety for the quar­ter. © Mar­git Czenki
Plan­bude func­tions as a meet­ing place, a cen­ter for research, a neigh­bor­hood library, exhi­bi­tion space and dis­cus­sion plat­form. It is not only a place from which wish­es are col­lect­ed, but also where con­crete demands for the new plan­ning at Spiel­bu­den­platz are set up. © Frank Egel Photography
The Dutch archi­tec­tur­al office NL-Archi­tects and BEL-Archi­tects from Cologne won the com­pe­ti­tion Spiel­bu­den­platz with a coura­geous design. © Bay­erische Hausbau

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Attempt at Radical Participation

© Super­flex

Superk­ilen is one of many pub­lic spaces that have been cre­at­ed over the past twen­ty years in the Copen­hagen dis­trict of Nør­re­bro. The park aimed to cre­ate an extend­ed social space that would inte­grate Nør­re­bro more close­ly into the urban fab­ric. It was also intend­ed to estab­lish con­di­tions for co-man­age­ment and inclu­sion, so that var­i­ous cul­tur­al and eth­nic groups could become part of the plan­ning. Thus, the aim went beyond sim­ply cre­at­ing a space where the neighborhood’s res­i­dents want­ed to spend time. The design was also to reflect their diver­si­ty. In the process, a series of spaces was cre­at­ed that were shaped by dif­fer­ent aspects and pro­grammed by var­i­ous activ­i­ties. But this con­verse­ly rais­es a mul­ti­tude of ques­tions about the pre­cise ambi­tions for and imple­men­ta­tion of civ­il soci­ety par­tic­i­pa­tion processes.


Project

Superk­ilen


Actors

TOPOTEK 1, land­scape archi­tec­ture; Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), archi­tec­ture ofWice; Super­Wlex, artists; Copen­hagen Munic­i­pal­i­ty, Real­da­nia, comis­sion­ing body


Year

2012


Loca­tion

Copen­hagen, Denmark

© Iwan Baan
© Iwan Baan
© Jens Lindhe
© Super­flex

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Provoking Encounters

The Robert Walser sculp­ture wants to rethink Robert Walser and pro­voke encoun­ters. Accord­ing to Hirschhorn, it wants to be an event and shape a new form of art in pub­lic space. Yet the Hirschhorn land­scape of palettes, ply­wood boards and adhe­sive tape is not an object that is just stand­ing around some­where and always looks the same. It wants to be acces­si­ble to every­one at all times and is actu­al­ly only cre­at­ed through inter­ac­tion with the space, through the activ­i­ties that take place in it, and through the peo­ple who appro­pri­ate these spaces. Thomas Hirschhorn, Robert Walser-Sculp­ture, 2019, Place de la Gare, Biel/Bienne, Switzer­land. Cour­tesy the artist and ESS/SPA Swiss Sculp­ture Exhi­bi­tion. © Enrique Muñoz García

Thomas Hirschhorn’s works address the chal­lenges of our time. They deal with cli­mate emer­gency and jus­tice, con­sumer excess and alien­ation. Many of the geopo­lit­i­cal dis­cus­sions raised by the artist, which we can usu­al­ly hold at a dis­tance, col­lapse over and upon us. We break in. We become part of the Hirschhorn­ian cos­mos, which so clear­ly says how impor­tant it is to take a stance. At first glance, the exhib­it­ed col­lage seems strange­ly sober, almost alien­at­ed. Val­ues and atti­tudes, not solu­tions, are at its core. We seek sim­ple answers to the mul­ti­tude of ques­tions in vain. Rather, the project is about estab­lish­ing social rela­tion­ships, act­ing togeth­er, the inven­tion of prac­tices that pro­duce or change spaces.


Artist

Thomas Hirschhorn


Project

Schema Art and Pub­lic Space


Year

2020


Project

Robert-Walser-Sculp­ture


Com­mis­sion

Fon­da­tion Expo­si­tion Suisse de Sculp­ture-ESS/S­tiftung Schweiz­erische Plas­tikausstel­lung SPA


Year

2019


Loca­tion

Biel, Switzer­land


Project

Too too-much much


Com­mis­sion

Muse­um Dhondt-Dhaenens


Year

2010


Loca­tion

Deurle, Bel­gium

»I love Robert Walser« says Hirschhorn about the writer born in Biel, Switzer­land. Walser always “described the small, the unno­ticed, the weak, the unim­por­tant, the seri­ous, [took it] seri­ous­ly and was inter­est­ed in it. It was in this spir­it that the Robert Walser sculp­ture, a built land­scape that will fill the entire sta­tion fore­court of Biel/Bienne in 2019, was cre­at­ed as a reminder and homage to as well as a meet­ing place with this man and his work. It was planned and real­ized as a pub­lic place of expe­ri­ence, open to all—with 86 days—of read­ings, exhi­bi­tions, a lit­er­a­ture insti­tute, a Walser cen­ter with a work­ing library, a dai­ly news­pa­per and a bar, Esperan­to cours­es and the­ater, children’s pro­grams, talks, films, doc­u­men­taries, hikes and dai­ly open­ings. Thomas Hirschhorn, Robert Walser-Sculp­ture, 2019, Place de la Gare, Biel/Bienne, Switzer­land. Cour­tesy the artist and ESS/SPA Swiss Sculp­ture Exhi­bi­tion. © Enrique Muñoz García
»You need to have a plan,« says Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn, and there­fore maps his work and think­ing in detailed text-image col­lages. Thomas Hirschhorn, Schema: Art and Pub­lic Space, 2016, 80×150 cm, Card­board, prints, tape. Cour­tesy of the Artist and Gal­le­ria Alfon­so Arti­a­co, Napoli
Thomas Hirschhorn, Robert Walser-Sculp­ture, 2019, Place de la Gare, Biel/Bienne, Switzer­land. Cour­tesy the artist and ESS/SPA Swiss Sculp­ture Exhi­bi­tion. © Enrique Muñoz García

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A Sign for Europe

EUROPA at the König Galerie in the for­mer St. Agnes Church in Berlin (2016). © Rubén Dario Kleimeer

The work EUROPA was cre­at­ed in the after­math of Britain’s ref­er­en­dum for with­draw­al from the Euro­pean Union. Europe, accord­ing to the archi­tec­ture and plan­ning office more­Platz, lacks vis­i­bil­i­ty, pub­lic pres­ence, and pos­i­tive feed­back. The huge lumi­nous tubes, which have been on dis­play in Berlin and many oth­er loca­tions across Ger­many and abroad since their first instal­la­tion in Novem­ber 2016, were con­cep­tu­al­ized to address this artic­u­lat­ed lack. But this notion of Europe that these let­ters and this light fix­ture are meant to rep­re­sent is also viewed crit­i­cal­ly by many for Europe’s exter­nal bor­ders are being increas­ing­ly sealed off and defend­ed. The promise of an open and sol­idary Europe remains for many an unat­tain­able goal. Radi­ant EUROPA does not shine equal­ly for everyone.


Pro­jekt

Europa


Con­trib­u­tors

more­Platz, co-ini­tia­tors, design; Johann and Lena König, co-financ­ing; St. Agnes Immo­bilien- und Ver­wal­tungs­ge­sellschaft mbH; Deutsches Architek­tur Zen­trum, sup­port; thir­ty-three indi­vid­u­als and archi­tec­ture and cul­ture offices, co-financing


Year

Since 2016


Loca­tions

Var­i­ous

EUROPA at the Bille pow­er plant in Ham­burg (2017). © Hein­rich Holtgreve

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