English / Deutsch

16.6.2012 | KW Institute for Contemporary Art

reclaiming the city

Screening with Stefan Rusu

Through a complex interweaving of field trips and interviews, archival footage, personal narratives and interventions in public spaces, the film reveals a number of sites of the New Berlin that uniquely exemplify the contradictions and tensions of social memory and national identity in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It is conceived as an investigative documentary, and is a quest through dramatic socio-economic restructuring processes, the physical transformation of the city following the fall of the Wall, and the impact of gentrification processes on public space.

The film is based on city walks with Svetlana Hagen, Erik Göngrich, Jochen Becker, Mathias Heyden, Bernd Langer, who guide us trough Kreuzberg, Neukölln, and Prenzlauer Berg districts, among others—areas that are trapped in a continuing cycle of gentrification. Along these trips we re-visit Tempelhof Airport, haunted by the ghosts of the Cold War; and we climb to the top of Reichstag— rebranded from a symbol of defeat into a temple of democracy. The journey continues as we visit a number of former and still existing squats, in order to compare them with more recent initiatives and models of urban resistance. Following this path, the film spotlights agents of change—cultural workers and activists—and explores the political dimension of public space.

Commissioned by the 7th Berlin Biennale, and co-produced by KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin and KSAK Center for Contemporary Art, Chisinau. Supported by Goethe Institute, Bucharest; ERSTE Foundation, Vienna; and Romanian Cultural Institute, Berlin.

Stefan Rusu is a visual artist, curator, editor, and filmmaker based in Chisinau and Bucharest. His artistic/curatorial agenda is geared towards the processes of transformation and changes in post-socialist societies after 1989.