Jakob Wirth

Variant X – an unexpected Initiative

Variant X – an unexpected Initiative

“Variante X – eine unerwartete Initiative”. Socially Engaged Art. Berlin. GER. 2018/2019.

#displacement #decentralization of culture #self-organization #failed participation #failed_intervention

CONTEXT: Due to the urgent need for housing in Berlin, the Senate has launched the “Growing City” housing and urban development program, which should develop new city quarters. There is a profound conflict in one of these areas, since there is already a permanently inhabited allotment area on the planned new building area, which is therefore at risk of displacement and expropriation.

In this environment we have founded an initiative with the aim of developing an alternative plan to that of the city administration.

As a newly founded initiative “Variant X”, we were interested in this conflict and this important urban planning. We tried with our work to bring a new perspective into the discourse and conflict. Because, from our perspective, we did not consider the present communication and investigation process as a successful example of the political program “Building the city gently” (as the Senate administration declares it).

So we tried to use the variant X (in contrast to the public plans A, B, C) to trigger new imaginations and comment ironically on the public plans already made, which wern´t suportat at all by the population

The process of variant X turned out to be extremely conflicting. We had to stop our work after three months, because we didn’t manage to bridge the different conflicts going on and we didn’t find the write language to contribute to the discourse and conflict. One of the reasons was, because we were coming from outside, trying to bring our perspective in and didn’t manage to be seen as an independent but supportive initiative – but more as strangers.


Tagesspiegel: Blankenburger Süden. Initiative für Variante X.

Morgenpost: Dieses Experiment verärgert die Anwohner in Pankow.

Photos: © Lucia Fiorani