"If there was a war - all of us became 'refugees' - and who on earth would want to have us then?"
Europe faces this question- raised by a Syrian artist in 2011 shortly befotre the "crisis" turned into war- which polarises society and politics. We show compassion to those fleeing: ousted from their homes in mortal danger, possibly loosing it forever. Once having reached our safe haven feelings start to get mixed. In the haven, concerns about the nativity of the own country begin to rise, unsettled by the arrival of the foreign, the many. Whereas the situation of those having reached the haven, stays precarious. "Who is ousted from his home (or brings up the bravery to flee), suffers. The threads binding people and objects together, are cut"1. The squatted Oranienplatz and Gerhard- Hauptmann- Schule in Kreuzberg have been turned into symbols for the wish and demand of those with unclear asylum status. They don’t want assigned asylum quarters , they fight for self-determination of space, freedom of movement and the right to work, which means to become active member of society.The demand of an unlimited right to stay is the demand for participation.
1 Villem Flusser,"Wohnung beziehen in der Heimatlosigkeit", Originaltonaufnahmen 1985/1991
The discourse with „Fleeing“ is concerned with home and homelessness, it is concerned with space.
The accommodation of migrants is a never-ending, fickle topic. Many people live socially isolated in assigned asylum quarters for years as they are unable to find flats, others end up homeless on the streets and vanish from the screen. In Leverkusen, people who had to flee are accommodated in private flats instead of asylum quarters. Other places set up container villages and tents.
The art project KUNSTASYL asks:
How can living- instead of accommodating- be more determined and created by asylum seekers themselves through "conquering space"? What concepts and strategies can be developed in cooperation with locals and migrants by employing art as catalyst, transforming provisional arrival into integrated residence?
Approximately 100 people reside in the asylum quarters bordering an industrial area at the Staakner Straße near Spandau. On the other side of the street the iconic water tower of Thoben Backwaren in Spandau is located. The building used to be the department of health and was never thought to be lived in. According to the standard regulations of the LaGeSo (Provincial department for health and social affairs), it has been modified for accommodation. The absolute minimum is kept within a few sqm per person, requiring TableBedChairDresse and a Garbage Can With Lid. The shared kitchen and barely used common room are sterile and clean, the inventory limited to the pure and rudimentary necessities. The asylum quarters are a place to accommodate, offering space, but no room defined for communication, for play or to meet locals.
There is a lot of unused potential, especially in the surrounding area which is currently fallow and bare.
The project aims to highlight the quarters and its inhabitants to strengthen communication within and outside the vicinity through artists action and interventions. The quarter turns into a performative space of transformation and happening, open to the outside.
KUNSTASYL sees itself as a platform for a diversified exchange between displaced persons and the local, "domiciled", population.
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