Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Urban Jealousy in Berlin

further details soon to be annouced....
Poster designed by Amirali Ghasemi

Tuesday, October 28, 2008



Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Belgrade is changing for the better if you ask me

The character of the city is a reflection of exactly what is going on in it. Each process is multi-faced and is usually seen through an economic perspective. Most ways of regenerating the city from urban redevelopment to gentrification have in their core the goal to improve a city and to have it make money.

Closing down of locally owned shops and bakeries can be part of the process of gentrification, this also happens despite gentrification.

In the case of Belgrade small, locally-owned (but chains) of bakeries are reopening. The old, unsightly bakeries are getting a new dress. They are very popular among the old residents of an area as well as inviting and injecting new life into it. Although with side-effects like “Otentik Hleb” (Authentic transcribes into Serbian as Otentik). The need to preserve the language of a nation is giving gentrification more credit than it deserves. The same goes for the springing up of monstrous shopping malls. Belgrade’s main streets within the town centre are getting their share of uniformism (the Man’s and Women’s of various world chain stores), but neighbourhoods are being spruced up, they have lighting, people moving about, crime rates within such a neighbourhood drop.

Fears have been raised about replacing the spirit and the actual ‘Kafana’ (old, traditional restaurants that serve Serbian dishes (Turkish, Hungarian, Austrian…:))). The Kafana spaces are sold and sometimes turned into something altogether different from the main purpose. But a person’s got to eat and any buyer with a savvy business sense knows he ought to keep it a Kafana. And this is what is happening more often than not - Kafanas are being redesigned in such a manner that they keep the old clientele but invite the new. No fast food here.

The sunny weekend fashion catwalk syndrome - where you have cafés you have people watching. Cafés are very popular in this part of the world and due to a large proportion of people being and wanting to stay 9-5 jobless are filling their spaces. These streets and quarts resemble catwalks any time the weather is fair.

Gentrification has a clear definition, so does globalism, so does any other term coined in the past century. Their uses alter through time and depending on the region of the world in which they are applied. The citizen should be aware of the changes going on around him and his voice should be heard. Let me know of a city that banned shopping malls.

What does all this open up for us? What are our opportunities? My latte is trying really hard to taste exactly the same as yours but I still have a choice whether I’m going to have that or a good old ‘Turska’.

Article by Tijana Krstić
Belgrade, Serbia

Monday, September 29, 2008



Sunday, September 28, 2008

Berlin Residents Unsettled by Wave of Gentrification, 20.06.2008

http://www.dw-world.de/popups/popup_printcontent/0,,3427742,00.html (30 Jul. 08)


Berlin Residents Unsettled by Wave of Gentrification

Since the Berlin Wall fell, the gentrification of some eastern neighborhoods has been ongoing. But as high-end development spreads, some are saying: enough. They fear Berlin's character could be irrevocably changed.

Mario Feist remembers that there used to be bakeries and small grocery shops in the Oderberger Strasse when he first moved there in 1989. Today, it is much easier to get a latte macchiato or a 150-euro shirt outside his front door than a loaf of bread or carton of milk.

He has watched as his street has been transformed from a dreary road marked by crumbling facades to a hip thoroughfare of renovated buildings, expensive boutiques and trendy cafés, whose sidewalks often resemble a fashion catwalk on sunny weekends.

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Marthashof sales office offers homes for the high-end client

It's a metamorphosis that he's not completely comfortable with, especially since it could take on a whole new dimension once the 12,000-square-meter development of luxury apartments being constructed just outside his back window is completed.

Called Marthashof, it will house around 500 people, and since the square meter price for the townhouses starts at 3,000 euros, the large influx into the neighborhood will be quite well off.

"It could become a very sterile place just for rich people and not the kind of place I'd want to live," he said. "I want to have different kinds of people here."

Expanding wave

His concerns are not his alone. As Berlin's gentrification process spreads to encompass more and more neighborhoods, people are beginning to push back at what they see as a danger to a vibrant, diverse city of neighborhoods featuring people of different social and economic backgrounds.

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: An unrenovated and renovated building side by side on Oderberger Strasse

In some neighborhoods, like Feist's Prenzlauer Berg, gentrification has been happening for years. But as Berlin continues to pull in more investment and its international reputation attracts more wealthy people, the neighborhood has seen a construction boom in luxury apartments and townhouses, which, in comparison to London, New York or Paris, can still be had on the cheap.

The fears are that as more wealthy people move in to an area, their up-market tastes will be reflected in businesses that set up shop and rents will go up, pricing out lower and middle-income people.

Feist said he's already seen it happen in his street, when a Greek restaurateur was forced to move out after his rent was tripled when the building housing his eatery changed hands.

"Gentrification is not a good or bad thing in itself," said Antje Seidel-Schuelze, a researcher at the German Institute of Urban Affairs. "In one way, the districts where it happens become better. But long-established people in a neighborhood are often replaced by wealthier people. That leads to a certain homogeneity."

Same old same

It's that threat of sameness that riles Patrik Technau, a 23-year-old student and Prenzlauer Berg native who recently organized a protest rally near Marthashof and another high-end development that attracted 500 people. His event capped a week of demonstrations across Berlin by mostly left-wing groups who say they are against the rapid development and reconstruction of the city. During the protests, at least 30 cars were set ablaze.

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: More up-market housing going up

"New people are moving here from abroad or other parts of Germany and driving out people who've lived here 40 or 50 years," he said. "That's not fair and it makes me very angry."

And while once the gentrification seemed limited to central neighborhoods such as Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte, it's spreading, said Andrej Holm, a professor at Berlin's Humbolt University who studies gentrification. That is what is causing the anger to rise. As people were priced out of one neighborhood, they would move. But often the gentrification wave would follow, forcing them to move again.

Now, neighborhoods that were usually seen as immune to the process, and have been long-time enclaves of ethnic communities or artists and bohemians, are attracting professionals who are tired of the boutiques and bars, and are looking for something more "authentic." Problem is, say researchers, that the lattes, renovations and higher rents aren't usually very far behind.

Keeping the mix

According to Holm, city governments have several instruments that can keep neighborhoods on their way up from losing their diversity, such as rent control mechanisms or the construction of new social housing, even in gentrified neighborhoods. But he said Berlin has generally abandoned these tools, particularly when it comes to low-rent housing.

"In the few lots where there is still space for construction, only things like luxury townhouses and gated communities are going up," he said. "The city seems to think if we increase the number of high-end apartments, it can attract the kind of people that will also improve Berlin's economic situation."

Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: The gentrification wave is expected to eventually hit even areas like Berlin's Neukölln district

But while the upper-income influx might lift a few economic boats in Berlin, it could strand people like Claudia Hering, who along with Mario Feist is part of a citizens' initiative called AIM which wants changes to the Marthashof development. "We are afraid that in two or three years we won't be able to live here anymore," she said. But would she even want to? According to researcher Seidel-Schuelze, gentrification often makes people want to leave their own neighborhoods, no matter what their history there. Not only can they perhaps no longer afford it, the new look and feel can make the place not seem like home anymore.

"I know some people who used to live (in Prenzlauer Berg) in the GDR and they say it's not my district anymore and I don't want to be with these new DINKs -- double income, no kids people," she said. "They're just not part of that world."

Kyle James

Kyle James | www.dw-world.de | © Deutsche Welle.

Broad sidewalk cafes, Berlin?s oldest beer garden and the boutiques between restaurants and bars make the former working class district of Prenzlauer Berg, or Prenzl?berg, a great place to people-watch. It?s one of the most desirable places to live among artsy singles and young couples.

Prenzl?berg has come a long way since its East German days when there was no such thing as ?hip? and the only colour amongst the putty-coloured façades were the dyed hair of punks. Since German reunification, half of the façades have been restored and brightly painted ? the rare few by landlords who have reclaimed the properties their families lost when fleeing Nazi Germany, but the punks have been pushed out by rent hikes. Though fine restoration jobs on turn-of-the-20th century tenement houses seem to suggest an original splendour, life here was hard scrabble for the new arrivals in the late 1800s. Drawn by factory work, Prenzlauer Berg residents multiplied to 350,000 by the 1920s, making the area one of the most cramped in Europe. In 1927, less than half of the households had electricity. Now it is electric.

The post-1990 gentrification of Prenzlauer Berg began around Kollwitzplatz,which is named after the artist and sculptor Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945). She lived on Knaackstr. from 1891 to 1943, and in 1919 was the first woman inducted into the Prussian Art Academy. Her most prominent sculpture is the one in the Neue Wache on Unter den Linden, Germany?s national war memorial. Her artwork mostly depicts the hunger, poverty, and hoped-for revolution of the people who had become the waste of the Industrial Revolution and war. The Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum (Fasanenstr. 24; Wed - Mon 11:00 -18:00) is actually in Charlottenburg, but Kollwitz?s plain but solid likeness is represented by a sculpture in the square opposite her former home. She?d be happy to see how well-fed the neighbours are today. There?s a weekly organic food market on the square, and President Clinton even came to dine here at Gugelhof while on a state visit.

There aren?t museums to speak of in Prenzlauer Berg, but you can still sightsee. The Jüdischer Friedhof (Jewish Cemetery, Schönhauser Allee 22-23) borders Kollwitzstr. and its gravestones include that of local Expressionist painter Max Liebermann. An older Jewish cemetery in Mitte was totally desecrated by the Nazis in the 1930s, and this one fell victim to East German neo-Nazis in 1988. Many gravestones remain, however. On the way from here to the Rykestrasse Synagogue (Rykestr. 53), you?ll pass the 30m high, round redbrick Wasserturm (water tower; Belforter Strasse), built in 1877. Lace curtains in its windows prove that there is a market for pie-shaped apartments. The synagogue was built in 1904 and is hardly noticeable in the back courtyard. This position in a residential area probably saved it from being burned during Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938. A look inside is by appointment only (tel. 442 59 31).

In GDR days, to be a punk was a defiant rebuke to the Socialist State but as soon as the Wall fell, a free, democratic market did what the dictatorship never could: push the punks out. One talented neighbourhood punk who made a name for herself back in the GDR days keeps an apartment in a fairly crummy, back courtyard building in an un-hip part of Prenzlauer Berg: singer Nina Hagen. The diva (born 1955) can still pull off ponytails and makes one suspect that heavy eyeliner is a secret anti-aging potion. She grew up in Prenzlauer Berg and scored her first hit, You Forgot the Color Film in 1974. Two years later she left for West Germany with her mother and substitute father, Wolf Biermann, a folksinger expelled by the GDR. At www.nina-hagen.com you can get a sample of her strong and gravelly Eartha Kitts-meets-Carol Channing voice, as well as generous information on her life and social activism.

Culture, if not so counter anymore, bounces between the brick walls of the Kulturbrauerei (Sredzkistr. 1, plus other entrances; see box). This 19th century brewery complex shut down production in 1967, but it now makes a living on the night shift. From here, you can stumble south on Kastanienallee, which is full of more restaurants, bars, and several funky shops. Or, head north to the U-Bahn Eberswalderstr. to speed to your next destination. If you didn?t fill up on food at the beer garden, grab a curry wurst to-go from Konnopkes Imbiss (under the U-Bahn tracks between Schönhauser Allee and Danziger Str.). It?s been grilling sausages since 1930 and along with Prater, is one of the icons of the neighbourhood.

Tourist Information Centre
Prenzlauer Berg is the first area in Berlin with its own tourist information centre, inside the Kulturbrauerei complex near the Eberswalderstrasse U-Bahn station. The staff can book accommodation and inform you about events in the area, nightlife, guided walks, and about what to see in Prenzlauer Berg. The centre is also involved in erecting German and English-language signs throughout the district with information for visitors. Visit their English-language website before exploring the area.
TIC Prenzlauer Berg, Schönhauser Allee 36, Kulturbrauerei, tel. 44 35 21 70, www.tic-in-prenzlauerberg.de. Open 12:00 ? 18:00, Thu-Sat 12:00 ? 20:00.

A word with Pro Prenzlauer Berg
The Pro Prenzlauer Berg association has been involved in the development of the touristic infrastructure and the regional marketing of the district for over 11 years, and strives to bring the eclectic attractions of this wonderful, creative Kiez to the attention of Berliners as well as tourists; ?It?s simply delightful to walk through the streets and to give yourself over to the district?s buzzing atmosphere. For me it?s the most exciting part of Berlin?. Sascha Hilliger, Hotelier and Chairman of the Board, Berlin Pro Prenzlauer Berg e. V., www.pro-prenzlauerberg.de

Something's brewing here
The block in the northwestern corner of Prenzlauer Berg holds the KulturBrauerei (?culture brewery?), one of Berlin's gems; a nightlife Mecca that with its red bricks, towers and chimneystacks resembles an old town setting. A cobblestone pedestrian way courses through the center of the former beer brewery, whose 20 buildings with 40,000 square meters are filled with bars, restaurants, clubs, galleries and a cinema. Now that it's also home to the district's tourist information centre (see elsewhere), it has established itself as the best place to start and end a day in the Kiez (district). 20,000 visitors each weekend can't be wrong; this is one of Berlin's special corners.

Biennial Tehran : Berlin / 21st November - 5th December 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

The website is ready...

Urban Jealousy 
the 1st International Roaming Biennial of Tehran
Download the Application in WORD documents here (Choose Your Langugae)
Farsi, French, English and Turkish

Dead line: Monday 21st of April 2008

poster designed by Amirali Ghasemi

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Urban Jealousy - Call for art -

Urban Jalousie
the 1st International Roaming Biennial of Tehran
1st station: Istanbul, 30th May - 6th July 2008

Curated by Amirali Ghasemi and Serhat Koksal

The title of this biennial is URBAN JEALOUSY. A Jalousie * (“jealousy” in French) is a window that one can see through but not be seen; barriers that allow us to observe the world without being invited to the table. Iranian artists are given an understanding of what goes on in the world without being offered a single opportunity to communicate their thoughts—outside of our very own jalousie window: a rigid ethnic frame within an extremely politicized context.

Of all the huge urban areas around the world, Tehran stands out as a different kind of Megalopolis. It boasts one of the most dynamic art scenes in the Middle East even as the city itself deals with a rudimentary public transport system, an exploding population crisis, and an ever-increasing sprawl of mass housing; An unsightly city of experimental architecture that swallows entire villages and towns without offering them any sort of public services.

Despite its complicated urban situation—which according to experts has already spiraled out of control—artists’ societies in Tehran continue to hold numerous biennials in semi-tribal fashion. A great number of these events are government-sponsored projects whose outlook and also their premises can shift 180 degrees from one year to the next. Each community has its own set of ceremonies, as a result of which, any sense of solidarity among the artists is lost.

The Tehran Visual Arts Festival, The Calligraphy Biennial, The Sculpture Biennial, The Cartoon Biennial, The Painting Biennial of the Islamic World, The Graphic Design Biennial, The Children’s Books Illustration Biennial, The Painting Biennial, The Poster Biennial, The Poster Biennial of the Islamic World… the list is endless.

Although the legendary "TEHRAN BIENNIAL" goes back 50 years, not a single one of the above-mentioned events can be considered a biennial by prevailing and accepted international standards". An arts society recently published a call to boycott the upcoming Painting Biennial in order to demand a professionally curated exhibition, protesting the open call process and a “jury” they deemed unacceptable.

It seems impossible to have a proper Tehran biennial in Tehran, so our sprawling city and its elitist art scene remain excluded from the highly competitive art market in the region despite being surrounded from all sides by lucrative biennials and auctions. We may have great artists living and working in Iran, but we don’t have a chance to share the profits.

Tehran, as one may suppose, does not seem interested in presenting itself as a desirable destination for cultural tourism, by playing it ‘cool’ like other global cities, or scramble to be hip by coughing up the membership dues to be in the international art market.

So, to jumpstart the process, and after a long discussion with my friend, Serhat Koksal — a critic of the global biennialization process — We decided to curate a ‘mini’, on the move, Tehran biennial. to not only stop complaining about the current situation but to benefit from the advantages of it. An independent, low- budget, traveling exhibition which can be presented almost anywhere. We will travel like nomads, carrying artwork, objects, texts, and whatever, in a package no bigger than a medium-sized suitcase, preferably weighing less than 20 Kg., so it can be carried on any cheap flight. The The Call for Art

Urban Jealousy

The 1st International Nomad Biennial of Tehran
30th May - 6th July 2008
Curated by Serhat koksal and Amirali Ghasemi

Dead line: Monday 21st of April 2008

Urban Jealousy, the 1st International Nomad Biennial of Tehran will be landing in Hafriyat Karakoy, The Realm of Manifold Arts :

Necatibey Cad. No: 79 Karakoy Istanbul Turkey


A - Video / Short Films / slide show
The video works should be send in DVD / Pal with English subtitle and the maximum length is 7 min, participants for this category should submit a digital file for preview in Quick time format, this can be sent by Email or can be uploaded in a hosting server (See the rules below), otherwise it also can be sent to Parkingallery Address by post on a data CD/DVD.

B - Ambient Sound/Music composition /Audio Collage/Speech

participants for this category submit a digital file for preview in MP3 format, this can be sent by Email or can be uploaded in a hosting server (See the rules), otherwise it also can be sent to Parkingallery Address by post on a data CD/DVD.

C - Photography / Still frame:

participants should send a digital image/scan from their the submission via E-mail and then the works are selected (See the rules), a hard copy of photos is requested with these specification: · For medium format photos: 20x20 cm · For 135/digital photos: 20x30 cm · Polaroid ( Original or a 20x20 reproduction in 20x20 cm )

D - Painting/Drawing/Illustration/Doodling/Sketch/3D Image/Cartoon/Comics

Because of the nature of the project: ”The smaller, the better!” Participants should send a digital image/scan from their submission (See the rules), the maximum size for this category is A4. And art works should not be framed or mounted on cardboard (and works on canvas should be rolled and be sent without the wooden frame)

E - Poster/paste up:

A3 size poster to be posted in public space (each participants should send 2 hard copies of the poster)
along with the requested digital files

F-Postcards To The Tehran Biennial

For this category, participants are asked to select (or design), and send postcards to the imaginary "Tehran Biennial", expressing themselves, sharing what they think it should include, or how they think it should look like.. Participants are being asked to sent these postcards to the Parkingallery project-Room in Tehran (Address below)

H - Stickers:

Each participant can submit up to 5 different stickers. These stickers will be posted in the destination cities where "Urban Jealousy" is being presented.

  • This exhibition is open to artists from around the world, from any country, and from any background and discipline
  • Every participant / or collaborative team can submit only ONE piece, in each category
  • A digital image/ file of the work (Quick Time/JPG A4 300 dpi/MP3 128kps), should be sent to biennialtehran@gmail.com. The file shouldn’t be larger than 10 MB for photos and digital images . For videos, maximum file size is 100 MB using website http://www.mailbigfile.com. The participants whose application is approved will be contacted through email for sending their original artwork to organizers.
  • Artwork will not be returned until the end of the project: Around May of 2010. The organizer will not have the right to sell, distribute, use this material commercially, but they preserve the right to use the images/still frames/documentation/ extracts of audio and video-work in Press releases, publications, and the website of the project under the artist’s name.
  • Every participant is responsible for the information provided in the application form, which will be used for publications and the website, credits, etc. All work must be properly labeled with name, date, and medium.IMPORTANT: Every participant should submit a black and white portrait with the application, taken while they are pretending to be jealous of someone or something, in JPG 300 dpi, file size, 9x13 cm. These photos will be used in the catalog / website, as a side project to the main exhibition.
Any question?
Please feel free to write to us:
Amirali Ghasemi

Parkingallery: No. 11,4th Milad Street, Dadman Blvd. Shahrak-e Gharb, Tehran 14686 IRAN
Phone (studio): +9821 88579727
Mobile: +9821 912 122 3220
Email: amiralionly@gmail.com
Serhat Köksal

Email: serhatkoksal@hotmail.com
P.K.55 Suadiye 34741 Istanbul Turkey

Urban Jealousy

Application form:

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