Block 57

(c) Skizze, Sigrun Drapatz

Curated by Sigrun Drapatz and Tanja Lenuweit.

The city block between Oranienplatz and Luckauer is the starting point of an artistic investigation. The block serves as an example to recount the mercurial history of an urban neighborhood. In its evolution from an area infamous for housing developments and the highest population density in Berlin by the late 19th century to its current state, a variety of influences as those left by urban planners and landscape architects such as Hobrecht and Lenne or more recently that of squatters and Turkish migrant workers can still be felt.

Block 57 exemplifies living and working in Kreuzberg since the beginning of the 19th century until today. During the time Berlin was a divided city the area became synonymous for inexpensive living with stove heating and shared toilets. Today the former Luisenstadt is considered prime residential real estate and consequently in the cross hairs of investors. The project space SCOTTY is in the smallest building in Block 57. Here the artists develop the open archive to visualize transformations and show, contextualize and discuss historical continuities. It becomes a starting point for exchange and cooperation in urban neighborly life.
The archive finds its manifestation in a cabinet of the shape of Block 57. The top depicts the housing facade and there are drawers underneath each building. These drawers contain documents and materials creating a narrative of the building, its owners and residents, so that in a sense the building sits on top of its history. There are six large drawers below, one or two on each side of the model, that hold similar materials to document the city’s history in general and that of Kreuzberg in particular. The drawers are staggered chronologically from the bottom to the top, covering the periods of:

-    The founding of the Luisenstadt to the end of the of first World War
-    The Weimar Republic
-    National socialism and the second World War
-    Divided Berlin, economic migration and squatting
-    “Cautious Rejuvenation” and the removal of the Wall
-    Capitalization of real estate, protest and resistance

Subsequent to the exhibition, the archive will move permanently into the third floor of Oranienstrasse 46. Anybody who is interested in contributing to the archive is cordially invited.


Exhibit Block 57 at SCOTTY in May 2020
The city block will be marked with a line of chalk. For the duration of the Exhibit SCOTTY`s project room in which the cabinet with its drawers is on display will serve as a center for information and a starting point for discourse and neighborly cooperation.

Miniature films – living and working in the past and present
In Kreuzberg working and living are close to each other. The neighborhood is still shaped by the “alternative” period of the eighties in which work and political identity were inseparable. Artisans pursued individual fulfillment and alternate ways of living were explored. In this film project local residents are portrayed and these portrait films are shown in the store fronts’ display cases. Also planned is a large-scale screening of all films in the main courtyard of the block as soon as the COVID-19 guidelines allow for it.

Project Block 57 is supported by the Projektraumfördung of the Senat für Kulturelle Angelegenheiten. Over the course of the year interactive and participatory formats and events will take place in the entire Block 57. The series was launched with the neighborhood party “Ora 42 – 47A, lively, divers and unique” at the end of August 2019. With the organization of this party SCOTTY initiated a communicative gathering of its neighbors.

With the exhibition Block 57 we participate in the ongoing discourse on gentrification and displacement.

Fri, 15 May, 23.00h
15 May 20204 Jul 2020

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