2 billboards and a standing poster at Franz-Neumann-Platz underground station (U8)
Audio tour (60–90 min)
Starting point: U Franz-Neumann-Platz
For »Art in the Underground 2020/21: as above, so below« the artist and architect FLORINE SCHÜSCHKE continued the research she has been conducting since 2018 on the sale of municipally owned real estate, focussing on the districts of Reinickendorf and Wedding. Since 1989, Berlin has privatised almost 8000 state-owned plots, corresponding to an area the size of the entire district of Friedrichshain- Kreuzberg. The properties selected by Schüschke exemplify the various reasons that motivated for their sale: privatisation of social welfare facilities, merging of municipal housing associations, sales of land due to administrative reforms and the Berlin banking scandal, vacant lots, the sale of houses to real estate funds and leaseholds.
In Franz-Neumann-Platz underground station (U8) part of Schüschke’s research is presented on billboards, while an audio walk with texts and interviews guides listeners to selected properties nearby. The recordings feature the voices of municipal officials, urban development experts, and local residents. With a great deal of background knowledge, Schüschke highlights the consequences of the neo-liberal politics of the 1990s and 2000s that facilitated speculation with residential properties and pursued a policy of shifting debts (as with the housing association mergers). At the same time, the artist presents alternative strategies for dealing with municipally owned land and shows how current plans can guard against speculation. Based on a survey of the current situation, the project looks at ways of fostering alternative ways of dealing with such pieces of land and fairer land ownership policies, e.g. via systems like leasehold and community land trusts.
The audio walk starts at Franz-Neumann-Platz subway station and takes in ten exemplary properties on its way to the PA58 housing cooperative on Prinzenallee in the Gesundbrunnen neighbourhood. The locations along the route are marked by flags and the individual sections of the walk are triggered by QR codes scanned in passing.
FLORINE SCHÜSCHKE (born 1992) is an artist and architect who lives in Berlin. She studied architecture at Berlin’s University of the Arts, University of Illinois, Chicago, and l’École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Lyon. Her work deals with public space and the imaginary notion of a non-profit-oriented city. She works with film and audio, installations and publications, as well as printing. Her work has been shown among others in: »The Economy of Borders«, a group show on the façade of Rathaus Tiergarten, Berlin (2020); »1989–2019: Politik des Raums im Neuen Berlin«, a group show at n.b.k. – Neuer Berliner Kunstverein (2019); and the film festival »Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin« (2020).