Street art is in fashion!
In Berlin-Kreuzberg street art usually delivers a political message to it
- Series: Kunst
For some people it is street art - for others vandalism. In Berlin-Kreuzberg, street art fits the street scene, and usually delivers a political message to it.
As soon as it gets warmer, the guests of the gay club across the street will be pissing in front of our door again - a door that opens up to a bicycle cemetery which is declared as court yard. Last summer, the lock of the big wooden door was broken which meant they could easily piss on bent bicycle frames without getting checked. The residents take their good bikes up to their flats. So do I - luckily, I live on the mezzanine level. That's why I heard the full stereo splatter right away. I woke up by it. Then I heard the whispering. Two, three minutes later one of them moaned for a short but loud moment. Another two minutes later I went to the window - probably due to voyeurism - and caught them; while they were spraying.
Messages and images everywhere
The next morning, our yellow (!) garbage can featured "Gay Power!" in pink letters that had been sprayed through a stencil. At night, I had been annoyed by the two; about the smell and the noise that woke me up. But now I'm thinking: "Respect!" for this little anarchic action marking our neighbourhood to be a natural living space for the gay. I wonder if they'd also have the guts to do that in Hoyerswerda or in Schwalmstadt (I don't think so) and if it's art or politics (I see it as political form of action art at first; as street or court yard art) and if anyone will disapprove of the slogan (maybe not for a long time until it will be removed by a caretaker service months later)? By now, you find similar messages everywhere in Kreuzberg - at the corner of houses and even on paving stones (even if they only read: "shitty weather"); or Thilo Sarrazin caricatures (with the slogan: "Sarrazin, shut up") that are plastered onto the building walls. Time and again, you come across great artistic works where the stencils themselves find their way onto the walls of the district overnight. Expressive single figures on paper stencils; sometimes really primitive sketches only. Which is - in the judicial sense - no damage to property so far. Much like the wall newspaper of a serial novel which has been used to periodically write onto the same walls for a year.
Street art is subversive
To me, this text also means street art which absolutely has to be subversive. Even if the subversion is strategically staged by companies such as NIKE, for example. When riding the underground U1 in spring 2006, between the stops "Schlesisches Tor" and "Warschauer Strasse", one couldn't help but notice two large figures in the blue and yellow shirts of the Brazilian Seleção: as paintings on a building front with the smiling faces of the (former) super stars Ronaldo und Ronaldinho. What the world, at that time making new friends on the overhead railway of the city, was pleased by was nothing but advertising (by now, the same space - above the Magnet club - features an object that addresses climate change... if Greenpeace paid for it?). Street art has long since not only inspired the world of publicity but it has virtually infiltrated it. That is: Street art has developed a huge efficacy - it can be exploited brutally.
Street artists present themselves in the street-lab
In Berlin, street art has long been established (can it still be referred to as such since it has lost its real subversion?). There is even a street art restaurant (the "Eckstück“ on Wrangelstrasse where tables and walls are one entire art work.); by now, this movement is taking place in closed rooms, such as at the street-lab here in Kreuzberg and in Neukölln where artists will be presenting their different forms of street art (even with music and dance) from March 11 to March 13, 2011; among others, the Berlin-based artist whose artistic stencils are signed with the pseudonym "Alias", that can be seen in different places throughout the city. In Hamburg and Amsterdam also.
Street art brings variety and change
As a resident who lives his life among these stencils and messages, I say: I like it. It brings a certain variety that is another reason why people want to live in such rapidly changing places such as this. It is an attraction for people who care for change and development. That is mainly for young people. Each time I haven't been in the city for a while, I find new themes and messages. Kreuzberg is full of political messages. Those who cannot stand the gays or those who are racist must lose their mind in this area. Street artists (some of which are simply political players) marked their district everywhere. They mark their space and start communicating with the people that live in the area. It's only thanks to the stencil lettering "euromayday.com" on Admiralstrasse that I got to know about the Parade of the Precariat that marches through my city: "We are looking to comment on the current conflicts in the city of Dortmund. On missing free spaces, expulsions, the change of the city into a company and on Nazis. This year's demo route marches from the north end to the west end, and it will allow us to address these topics." That's the way street art interlinks creative spaces. By the way: my favorite message is „© Google“ on Waldemarstrasse which clearly protests against Google Streetview.
Between damage of property and district upgrade
I don't know anyone in Kreuzberg who is annoyed by street art. It might be due to the fact that I don't know any property owners around here - not even my own - who are represented by an anonymous management company. Often, street art means a damage of property that lowers a building's value. In total, however, it upgrades the district. It definitely has one effect on me: I think about things. That means the art reached its goal!