[spectre] Symbolic Capital Info-exhibition on upgrading and gentrification - Berlin

Thomas Pigache malducoch at hotmail.com
Thu Jun 9 01:15:53 CEST 2011

The theme of 48 Stunden Neukölln this year is "luxury." Gitte Bohr sees 
this as an opportunity to reflect upon the whys, hows and wherefores of 
such a phantasmagorical construction of luxury in a poor neighbourhood 
like Neukölln. At this time and place these questions lead to one 
predominant issue: gentrification. In an urban space, as in all other 
contexts, the dream of luxury has the one characteristic that it can be 
dreamt by all but only be attained by the few. Nonetheless, this dream 
dominates and conditions the lives of so many people and obstructs the 
view to possible profounder changes.

The term gentrification was coined by the British sociologist Ruth 
Glass, who in 1964 used it to describe a process of upgrading and price 
increase, and consequent displacement of the original working class 
inhabitants, in certain neighbourhoods of London. This is exactly the 
process, which at the moment is happening in Neukölln. It is a complex 
process with many factors, which we seek to investigate.

Together with the anti-gentrification group AntiGen, based in the 
Schillerkiez in Neukölln, Gitte Bohr is presenting the project “Symbolic 
Capital.” The collaborative project will be inaugurated on June 9 and 
presented and discussed in connection with 48 Stunden Neukölln. Based on 
a work-in-progress situation, it will take the form of an 
info-exhibition with texts, images, films and artworks accompanied by a 
discussion on Friday, June 17 at 20H.

Starting out from a general investigation of certain terms within the 
process of gentrification, its mechanisms and grounding in the larger 
structures of neoliberal capitalism, we will approach the specific 
situation in the Schillerkiez-neighbourhood. After the closure of 
Tempelhof Airport and its alteration into a park, the neighbourhood has 
become interesting for real estate speculation as well as city renewal 
projects. How exactly do these processes work? What are the consequences 
of the rent raises, the “beautification,” etc. for the inhabitants? What 
are the possibilities for resistance against this process of 
exclusiveness and displacement, and what could be alternative models for 
urban space?

As artists, cultural producers, students and young people with 
alternative life-styles, we, Gitte Bohr and the members of the antigen 
group, find ourselves in a contradictory situation. Our mere presence 
creates symbolic capital – one of the first ingredients in the urban 
upgrading brew. But are we really a part of the so-called creative 
class, or is this figure simply a construction based on neoliberal 
mythology? And: what can we actually do to resist instrumentalisation?

"We've got to revolutionize the geographic subconscious; we've got to 
revolutionize daily life--that's what really matters. In changing the 
city, we change ourselves. The real question is: what kind of people do 
we want to be?" -David Harvey

Opening: June 9, 19H
Opening hours during "48 Stunden Neukölln":
June 17: 19 – 24H (Discussion at 20H)
June 18: 14 – 19H

Gitte Bohr - Galerie für Kunst und politisches Denken
Schillerpromenade 7
Berlin, Germany

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