This research project takes place within the framework of the Master of Human Geography (with a specialization on ‘Europe: Borders, Identity and Governance’) that I attend at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
The objective is to find, comprehend and shed light on contemporary European, physical and non-physical, internal borders in urban space Berlin. Furthermore, it explores how art, artists and artistic practices could potentially contribute to deconstruct and shed light on these borders from yet another angle.
The project builds on and connects existing knowledge from the fields of border studies, urban studies, cultural studies and art geopolitics to open up the concept of the border in urban spaces and innovatively contribute to capture the changing nature of borders.
Multiple methods are combined in order to understand the urban space from various angles and levels in a holistic manner:
- Reading and analysing various articles, book chapters as well as official city documents and city website pages.
- Participating in multiple projects that aim to overcome borders in both artistic and non-artistic ways (see sharehouse project Refugio Berlin, art-project KUNSTASYL e.V., meeting-café Meet ’n Eat, film-project of Wir sind Marzahn and Organ of Critical Arts).
- Attending multiple workshops, conferences (see Destination Berlin: Strategies of Arrival Architecture, Tagung: Stadt, Migration, Bildung, Entdeckungsreise rund um die Kulturen von Marzahn-Hellersdorf) and city tours offered by alternative organisations (see querstadtein and grenzgänger).
- Visiting and conversating with people at relevant Museums and Centres (a.o. Center for Art and Urbanistics, Center for Art and Public Space, Jugend[widerstands]museum, FHXB Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum).
- Walking attentively through the city’s different boroughs, locality’s and Kieze and along the Berliner Mauerweg.
- Conversing with multiple people that reside in Berlin out of different reasons.
- Interviewing coordinators of City Locality Centres in the different boroughs as well as artists and initiators of artistic projects.
- Interviewing artists that include a certain form of a border into their work.
- Collaborating with visual artist and performer Marta Lodola who is working on a project about the meaning of borders as physical and psychological limits. I join her on walks through the city during which we stop people to collect their impressions, experiences and thoughts about borders with an audio-recorder.