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Marzahn-Hellersdorf Shift views // add images // share art

The European City Bezirksamt Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Amt für Weiterbildung und Kultur

Working with artists from Youth Art School Marzahn-Hellersdorf, adolescents shift the view at the Marzahn-Hellersdorf district, add new images and share their artistic research results at Schloss Biesdorf

Architecturally and socially culturally, the Marzahn-Hellersdorf district, located in the east of Berlin, is a district that sets and unites contrasts, questions affiliations and emphasizes differences.

The five former villages from which the district emerged: Hellersdorf and Marzahn, Biesdorf, Mahlsdorf and Kaulsdorf, look back on a centuries-old history. Already Germanic and Slavic tribes settled since the middle of the 13th century near the Wuhle, cleared forests and operated agriculture. Today, in the district of Marzahn-Hellersdorf, there is to be found Germany's largest contiguous small settlement area with one- and two-family houses in the district regions Biesdorf, Mahlsdorf and Kaulsdorf. In the immediate vicinity of the small settlement, six and eleven storeys stand out and shape the cityscape of contrasts. The large housing estate in Hellersdorf and Marzahn has about 100,000 apartments in which two thirds of the inhabitants live.

The foundation for its creation was laid in 1933 with the Athens Charter at the International Congresses of Modern Architecture (CIAM). The ideal of the “Functional City”, with divided areas for live, work, relax etc. was subsequently the pan-European avant-garde practice of modern urban planning. After the Second World War, in times of housing shortage and reconstruction, providing the population with a modern apartment became one of the central social and political goals of the GDR government. Through the technical development in the 70s it became possible to build modern six-storey and eleven-storey buildings. Thus, the socialist ideal of social equality found its implementation in the planning and construction of large housing estates. Henceforth from 1977 and into the 90s, where, until then, only meadows and sand was to be found, the large housing estates in Marzahn and Hellersdorf were built. In GDR times, these modern apartments were very sought after. At the end of the 90s however, there image problems were arising. Many people moved away, resulting in high vacancy rates and a series of social problems that shape the district's public image. As a result, since 2002, the loosening up of settlement areas has been implemented with the help of the urban development subsidy program of the federal government and the federal states "Stadtumbau Ost" (urban redevelopment east) and partially the settlement area has been demolished.

With the upgrading of inner cities and the increase in rents in a central Berlin, since 2010, the population in Marzahn-Hellersdorf rises again and creates a colorful mix of residents with different motivations to live and to feel belonging to Marzahn-Hellersdorf.

The places we are in are constantly changing. They are shaped by time, political interests, architecture and above all by the people and their stories. The resulting narratives are diverse, tortuous and sometimes contradictory. In them, very personal experiences and narrations of public discourse interweave to form a pictured carpet of the truth and the attributions of a place. The district of Marzahn-Hellersdorf in the European metropolis of Berlin is particularly part of such stories and manifold attributions, which can rarely represent the diversity of the district.

In the workshops of the Youth Art School Marzahn-Hellersdorf, children and young people starting from the location Schloss Biesdorf will embark on a journey to trace and question these stories and attributions.

What distinguishes the district?
How does the district Marzahn-Hellersdorf really feel?
Which attributions and images exist in the mind?
How do young people see the district?
How do people of other generations and with different backgrounds see the district?
Which places should be discovered?

And which future visions do children and young people in the district want to design together?

Together with artists, the group uses artistic research as a method to gain a multi-sensory access to the world. In the process they use different methods, media and strategies. Far from cultural and financial backgrounds, language barriers, generations etc. the workshops become a cross meeting space. Borders are being felt. Research results generated in the workshops will be displayed in the project room of Schloss Biesdorf and put up for discussion. Films, drawings, photographs or artistic and documentary publications and even more will be created to visualize the research process of children and adolescents from Marzahn-Hellersdorf.