“Kotti-Shop” is an art and project space which has been based since 2008 on the ground floor of the Neues Kreuzberger Zentrum at Kottbusser Tor. Here in the middle of Berlin, Julia Brunner and Stefan Endewardt alias Kotti-Shop/SuperFuture have welcomed in their neighbours to establish a shared artistic practice. Apart from passing time together, this includes such things as big outdoor installations, joint playground design and the weekly format “collage-based coffee time”. The art is process-driven, closely rooted within the urban setting and emancipatory in purpose. It values the neighbourhood’s multiple voices, understands public space as a common asset worth protecting and promotes shared processes of creativity and negotiation. At the Berlinische Galerie, Kotti-Shop/SuperFuture will use audio-visual montage to showcase their methods and the conditions in which they work. Enlarged drawings of the area around Kottbusser Tor station are displayed on sails of cloth. The space is structured by a black grid that also serves as a display.
- All the wall texts are provided in German and English. The presentation contains texts in German only.
- There is no information in Simple German.
- There is no information in German Sign Language.
- The installation features sound. Assistive listening is not supported by induction systems or neck loops.
- There is step-free access to the presentation. In several places the floor is uneven due to a cable guard.
- Most of the exhibits and explanatory texts can be seen and read from a seated position.
- There are seatings. Wheelchairs and folding stools can be borrowed free of charge from the cloakroom.
- All the wall texts are available as a large-print brochure that you will find at the entrance to the space.
- The room contains no tactile floor guidance and no touch models. All the objects in this room can be touched.
- Within the installation there is a workshop area for use by groups. This can result in more background noise.
Do you have any other questions about accessibility? Andreas Krüger, officer accessibility and inclusion, will be happy to answer them via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone +49 (0)30-789 02-832.
Arranged in three chapters, neighbourhood issues are addressed in audio tracks, drawings, collages of urban space, photographs and texts from the Kotti-Shop/SuperFuture collection. These reflect the changes taking place in the urban environment, flagging up both the conflicts and the potential. The installation also offers space for workshops and events. Visitors are invited, through a variety of formats, to pass time here and to contribute their own drawings to the “endless city”, an open exhibit. The museum has gradually been expanding its education and outreach work over the last ten years, forging its own networks in the vicinity. The project by Kotti-Shop/SuperFuture builds on this commitment here in the exhibition rooms.
Kottbusser Tor as a point of spatial reference
Urban space is both the reason and the theme for the art created by Kotti-Shop/SuperFuture. The Neues Kreuzberger Zentrum (NKZ), where the project space is housed, was completed in 1974 and provides homes for more than 1,000 people. It is located on the north side of Kottbusser Tor, a piazza where several trams and metro rail lines cross. This is a relatively small space for a transport node, a residential area and a habitat to coalesce. The place bears the marks of different urban planning strategies from different eras: some social housing dates from the 1960s and there were once proposals to route an urban motorway through here. In the 1980s, the spatial fabric was much influenced by an approach known as “soft renewal”. Gentrification has begun making itself felt in recent years. Rents in the adjoining streets have risen, and as new industries move in they are forcing out structures that had evolved over time. This is not a homogeneous neighbourhood. Quite the reverse: numerous microcosms exist here side by side. Artistic work by Kotti-Shop/SuperFuture takes its cue from the neighbours of the building that houses the art and project space, but it also addresses developments in the broader urban environment.
Outside Kotti-Shop, set slightly back from the street, there is an important spot for local residents. The buildings frame a courtyard with space to play, meet and pass the time – an “urban living-room”. It offers an opportunity to step out of solitude and come together, and in this way it promotes mutual care and support. Neighbourhoods are random clusters of different individuals. They constitute a socio-spatial fabric, and it is not unusual for different lifestyles and opinions to rub shoulders. One essential aspect of the artistic work at Kotti-Shop/SuperFuture is the time spent together, when relationships develop and ideas take shape. Art production becomes a way to build community. It forges a basis for the neighbourhood to organise and to defend its own interests – such as by planning and designing the playground in the courtyard. The plurality of attitudes and concerns are taken into account. This is about valuing the multiplicity of voices and negotiating the way forward. Julia Brunner and Stefan Endewardt as Kotti-Shop/SuperFuture create a framework for this to happen and function as mediators.
Over the years, Kotti-Shop/SuperFuture have become an integral part of this neighbourhood fabric. Through their artistic work they hope to give something back to people in the area and build resilience. The art projects have collective authorship – they are joint works. The installation at the Berlinische Galerie features art produced by individuals from the neighbourhood over the last 15 years. Their theme is the shared urban space. The decision to work only in black-and-white and without colour establishes a clear formal framework. It makes it easier for many to take part, no matter what their skills or previous knowledge of art may be. Drawings and photographic elements can be combined simply, while production is fast and inexpensive and can be carried out anywhere. A variety of methods and techniques have evolved over time, including tracing urban views on a light table, compiling collage from photos, drawings and text, and recording audio tracks. In these ways, participants can express their thoughts and hopes about community living and the city.