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Anker 1

No one can wake up



Make us aware how we are all depended on systems
By Lasse Lau and Kenneth A. Balfelt


Part of the Exhibition “Berlin North” at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 31.01.2004 – 12.04.2004

We have been interested in two specific self-organized projects that take on a social responsibility in the Berliner society.

One is the association Fusion that deals with youth work, and daily act in spaces where the social system of the troubled Neukölln gave up. It is an intercultural youth activity club based on carnival and visual art. In order to create jobs for their youngsters they want to create their own markets. One idea is to run a youth hotel. It can offer education an jobs for youngsters that make an extra effort.

For Hamburger Bahnhof we made a presentation of this visionary idea in order to lay pressure on the local and national politician to support the project. The presentation concisted of a poster and a video.

The other is Gesamtkunstwerk Wagendorf Lohmühle that have created a self-organized small community trailer park where they live together on squatted public land. From here they have created a neighborhood-based public space in a city where there are few such spaces left. As part of their public openness and interest to interact, they want to publish a book about their 13 years existence.

For Hamburger Bahnhof we made a campaign to find a publisher for the book. We presented the book and a prototype of it. A video with information about Lohmühle and their motivation for making the book accompanied the poster.

The two self-organized projects have in common that they use art for pragmatic solutions of sociality. It is a tool for them, and for us, to communicate and solve problems in society.

In French, there is a phrase, comportement induit, which means your behavior is related to the structure you’re in. In German social-politics there is a term called “socialraumsorientierung” which means to direct your social efforts towards the social space you work in as social worker or politician. These two terms are parallel to our pratice as artists. The two self-organised projects we work together with at Hamburger Bahnhof, Fusion e.V. and Gesamtkunstwerk Wagendorf Lohmühle, also work with art as a way of forming social space.

What we have done is to approach these two self-organising groups with the question “what can we use Hamburger Bahnhof for?”. How can we as a project group utilise an art institution with 30,000 visitors in the exhibition period? Together we saw opportunities in this situation.

In order to both communicate these alternative ways of using art as a facilitator for social change and making the art institution gain a place in society for social change, we decided to make “campaigns” for these two needs. For each need we made a poster and a short video that presents the ideas and expresses directly what is wanted!


The building Fusion wants to rent to run a youth hostel.


Street of Gesamtkunstwerk Wagendorf Lohmühle

The role of the art institution is then to act as a window towards what I would call “implemented artistic and alternative ideas” and offer, by our wish, to be a platform for dialogue. In this case dialogue between a between a visionary and transgressive youth project and the politicians that needs to allow it to rent one of its buildings to create focused jobs in a neighborhood that lacks future and between a community with a book idea and a publisher interested in alternative ways of living and using art!

For further information about the artist Lasse Lau: E-mail: or



By Lasse Lau and Kenneth A. Balfelt
Part of the Exhibition “Berlin North” at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, 31.01.2004 – 12.04.2004

Part of the project room of Sparwasser Hq at Hamburger Bahnhof:

Youth Work Does Business

How do you develop a run down part of a bankrupt city where immigration and unemployment cast shadows of prejudice and low self-esteem? What hope can youth workers give young kids of Neukölln? Fusion, a self-organized experimental youth project, suggests that the answer is to create their own markets! They offer to set up commercial projects, which employs their youth and develops the skills they need. In time, this will also fulfill Fusion’s wish to be economically self-sufficient. The ‘Jugend Hotel Fusion’ is a project with the potential to go beyond skill building, and community organizing – it has the potential to create a self-reliant system that has the power to transform the youth and the area.

For the exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof we made a poster and a video for each project. With the two “campaigns” we promoted the ideas of publishing a book for Lohmühle and getting a building to run a youth hostel in for Fusion. The purpose was twofolded: to create an opportunity for realising these projects as well as creating a dialogue about alternative solutions to social problems. The latter from the perspective of self-organisation as well as using art as a means to social interaction and process.

The idea was to use the art institution as a site for dialogue and contact. A place where ideas could be presented with the purpose of realisation. With Lohmühle’s wish to publish a book we made a presentation of the book idea and a explicitely expressed their need for a publisher. With Fusion we presented their idea with having a hotel in which they can employ and educate youngsters, and by doing this laying pressure on the responsible politicians to let Fusion rent the building that is free in 2006.


Poster for Fusion, House Wanted - model for a social solution in youth work in Neukölln, 150 cm x 100 cm

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Poster for Lohmühle, "We need a Publisher" - a book project for Lohmühle, and a model for communication of concept and ideas, 150 cm x 100 cm

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The posters have the following introduction texts:

’We need a publisher’

– A book project about Gesamtkunstwerk Wagendorf Lohmühle
From the fall of the Berlin wall until today

To publish a book seams obvious to the residents of Gesamtkunstwerk Wagendorf Lohmühle. The book arises from a daily practice of producing self-organized structures of understandings which can be anything from ecological prototypes to summer parties. To use personal creativity and ones own body gives the opportunity to create a coherent network and self-realization. This in addition gives the residents of Lohmühle the important opportunity to take personal responsibility towards the public space, and thereby have a tool to communicate with the surroundings, which the hospitality of Lohmühle always invites you to do. In this context, the book may show alternative ways to organize, communicate, and live together.

More on the project:

Fusion e.V.

"House Wanted!"

Lohmühle e.V.

"We need a publisher"


Thoughts about Public Space

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