|December 8, 2011 | ART||Posted by Jayne Copeland||
Tacheles: To Become A Symbol of Homogeneity?
Berlin, a city that has gone through so much, but yet retained a liberal stance on individuality after the fall of the wall, seems to be following blindly in the footsteps of other once great cities and taking the path towards a homogeneous cityscape.
Gentrification is occurring in Berlin at a rapid pace, and it seems to be getting too personal. The intended closure of Tacheles, an international art institution that since the fall of the wall, has housed artists, their work and helped project a creative influence over the Mitte area of Berlin. Built in 1907 the space was initially a Jewish department store and then a Nazi prison, it was the original group of international artist squatters who saved this building from demolition in the 90’s, fighting for the right to have the space as an outlet for art within the re-establishing Berlin community and to preserve a remarkable building that signified seven decades of intense Berlin history.
Although the building was damaged during air raids in World War two, it retained its strength and was later declared a historical landmark that has since been supporting artists displaying the true beauty of street culture, individualistic ideology and alternative ways of existence. Tacheles in a precious location not only for Berliners but the international contemporary art community. It is not longer a squat, due to a fire that is suspected to have been intentionally lit in the accommodation area next to the main Tacheles building, but still exhibits art from all over the world.
Every inch of the walls is covered with creativity from street culture and now also includes more formal modern works. In the past there have been many dates set for the official closure of Tacheles, the most recent of which is set for December this year. The Tacheles community has been fighting to change the minds of their now banking corporation building owners to look outside the paradigms of their capitalistic ideologies and see the depth of what Tacheles brings to Berlin. From an outsiders point of view it seems to be that Tacheles, in a way, has compromised its original values as a squat, by allowing the public to involve themselves in the community, asking for government subsidies and selling artwork. However it appears that the building’s owners do not want to waiver and do not want to listen.
As an overt action against the community, the owners commissioned a wall to be built around the metal workshop housed at the back of the Tacheles building, while demolishing a large portion of the site. It does not take a genius to figure out that erecting a wall based around differing ideas within Berlin is a provocative move. Tacheles does not only represent its own art community, it represents the other squats and liberal living movements that are unique to Berlin, a subculture that challenges the norms of society, adds diversity, continually takes the on the system and instils hope that the people are still the core of society, not corporations and governments.
To me Tacheles represents a forgotten freedom, an idea that in the end how much money we make or how many business we own does not matter. What matters is the creativity that we bring into and share in this world. As it stands at the moment, Tacheles signifies the need for a balance- between capitalism and humanism and it represents the constant struggle against the continual pressure of social conditioning. The more gentrification that occurs the more homogeneous society becomes, and when all the outlets for creative expression are gone, what will we have left? Streets full of department stores, McDonalds and Starbucks…
SAVE TACHELES Get informed and get involved. Support the artists that call this place home.
Words: Ashlen Fransisco