Variant X – an unexpected Initiative

Variant X – an unexpected Initiative

2018/2019. Socially Engaged Art. Berlin. GER.
Collaboration with Alex Böckel, Kamila Juruc, Judith Hunziker und Melanie Rivera Flores.

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

CONTEXT: In response to the pressing housing demand in Berlin, the Senate has initiated the ‚Growing City‘ (Wachsende Stadt) housing and urban development program aimed at creating new city quarters. However, a significant conflict arises in one of these areas where a currently inhabited allotment area (Kleingärten, etc.) is situated within the designated new building zone, putting it 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 weren´t supported at 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 right language to contribute to the discourse and conflict. One of the reasons might have been that we were coming from outside, trying to bring our perspective in and didn’t manage to be seen as an independent but supportive initiative – rather than as strangers.


Tagesspiegel: Blankenburger Süden. Initiative für Variante X.

Morgenpost: Dieses Experiment verärgert die Anwohner in Pankow.

Berliner Woche: Initiative aus Künstlern und Architekten nimmt sich des Blankenbuerger Südens an

Photos: © Lucia Fiorani