Monday, 19 July 2010

The Space

Sübalkon (located in Wilhelmsburg, Hamburg) translates as South Balcony. Apart from the fact that there is a walkway on the complex, I think (I could be corrected here) that the name also refers to the position of Hamburg on the cultural map in Germany. Sübalkon is run by an association of artists, musicians, writers and techies (and more) and is what is referred to as an ‘off arts’ space in Germany. Through the collectives’ diversity the space has many guises, events are put on every weekend; live music, poetry, performance, discussions as well as art shows.

Located in the middle an industrial complex on Elbe island, the area reminds me very much of post-industrial sites/neighbourhoods in London - ready for the big cleanup. Wilhelmsburg is undergoing a huge regeneration initiative, there is always a level of insecurity for the inhabitants, what will be the future for the area, and will they be a part of it? In Germany (as in the UK) artists have now become the social face of these regeneration initiatives. In one respect it allows artists to eat and realise their ideas. In the other, the political and moral implications of these collaborations can be rather difficult to swallow. Recently the officially invited artists addressed an open letter to IBA- Hamburg in stimulate debate about the areas future.

We didn't have an 'official' invitation - we were more like graffiti…

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