Grasping Things at the Root:
Red Wedding and the Green Revolt
Funded by Projektfonds Urbane Praxis
In collaboration with: EOTO e.V., Co-culture
Artists: Akinbode Akinbiyi, Gizem Aksu, David Yaw Debrah, Imad Gebrayel & Hatem el Salem, Karina Griffith, Donna Kukuma
09.04.2022, 14:00–17:00: Mapping the Everyday: Visualizing Environmental (In-)Justices in the Neighborhood of Wedding. A Counter-mapping Exercise in Wedding. With Imad Gebrayel & Hatem el Salem.
Place: Alte Kantine, Uferstr. 8–11, 13357 Berlin
Please register: firstname.lastname@example.org
More informations below
‘Radical’ simply means
‘grasping things at the root’
The struggles for nature access, clean air and water, public parks and open spaces in the ‘Red Wedding’ are as old as the neighbourhood itself. Its radical political history is closely linked to the struggle for ‘green’ spaces and environmental justice, as the neighbourhood was notorious for gloomy tenements and the pollution caused by local industry. Through artistic research, the project “Grasping Things At The Root: Red Wedding & The Green Revolt” explores environmental justice as a racial and classist crisis, taking the neighbourhood of Wedding as a starting point. From the colonial history of the Volkspark Rehberge and its “garden colonies’’ to the fight for a clean “Stinke-Panke“ and Plötzensee’s nudist beaches, the project explores how access to nature and health continues to be – and is historically – unequal. The project brings together artists, activists and agronomists for artistic research on the historical mechanisms of green inequity and to imagine future perspectives for equal access to nature in urban spaces. The results will be presented in the framework of interventions in public space as well as a one-day performance and discursive program.
One of the central themes of Nyabinghi LAB is to address the colonial-racist roots of the “green” (nature/eco/environmental) movement in Germany and its mechanisms of exclusion that particularly affect BIPoC and poor people. The Covid 19 pandemic has shown that our question of accessibility to “green” practices and places is literally vital: people exposed to high levels of pollution are at a much higher risk of becoming seriously ill. Moreover, in times ofAnd in times of quarantine, housing conditions and access to green spaces play a fundamental role in well-being. This fact inspired us to continue our longstanding research on decolonising 'green' practices and resources in this project. We all live in Wedding (in and around Müllerstraße) and have been engaged with the Wedding's turbulent history for quite some time.
The project deals with the complex, highly political and much contested history and relationship between nature and urban space in Wedding. With the aim of developing future research and interventions in public space to develop future perspectives for an inclusive, local ‘green’ movement. The radical political history of “Red Wedding” is also closely linked to the struggle for “green2 spaces and against pollution. Wedding was notorious for gritty tenements and industrial pollution, and so a movement formed in the early 20th century demanding access to nature for marginalised people. In 1909 and 1926, there were efforts to improve the environment, such as stopping the uncontrolled discharge of sewage into the Panke River and creating a walkable riverbank. These demands were closely linked to the struggle for socio-political change. The Rehberge Park plays a central role in this: before the area became a people's park, Carl Hagenbeck planned an animal park where animals were to live in a park landscape similar to their homeland with lakes and mountains. However, people from the German colonies were also to be exhibited here in so-called “Völkerschauen”, and later many black colonial soldiers moved to the Onkel Pelle circus at Leopoldplatz as showmen or to the film sets of the UFA studios, which produced films in the Africa villages, especially around the area of Sanddüne Wedding during the Weimar Republic and the Second World War, which was formerly known as the site of the 1728 witch trials. Wedding was also a notorious hotspot for black anti-imperialist groups and communists such as Joseph Bilé, George Padmore and Tiemoko Garan Kouyaté, who independently staged theatre productions such as Sunrise in the Orient to denounce apartheid systems, colonial powers and racism. The First World War then prevented the completion of the Hagenbeck project, but many exotic plants and trees exotic plants and trees can still be found in the Rehberge today. The park was created in the course of the Volkspark movement of the 1920s and an emergency programme against unemployment, in which up to 1,200 unemployed people were employed to turn the area, which had been completely cleared by the distressed population deforested during the World War, into a park. On the border with Reinickendorf, at Schäfersee, lies an earlier history of land conflicts, agrarian crises and ecosystem stresses caused by barracks markets and the industrialisation of the area. Through a public discursive programme in public space with performances and workshops focusing on education and research, Nyabinghi Lab proposes future perspectives for a green, inclusive Wedding. In addition to the history of the local environmental movement, other decolonial environmental practices, such as Amilcar Cabral's philosophy of nature and environmental protection, emancipation and self-determination and their relationship to migrant movements and the agricultural innovations in the context of the Non-Aligned Movement, are also presented. Local organisations such as EOTO e.V., AfricaVenir and artists living in Wedding are invited to engage with the historical exclusion mechanisms of green movements. The links between racism, classism, increasing environmental pressures and restricted access to “green” places and practices are not yet well researched. Furthermore, it is known that the increase in quality of life through new green spaces often triggers gentrification and displacement processes. How can the environment and nature in urban spaces be made inclusive, decentralised and sustainable? When can ecosystems in urban spaces be inclusive, decolonial and sustainable for all?
Mapping the Everyday: Visualizing Environmental (In-)Justices in the Neighborhood of Wedding. A Counter-mapping Exercise in Wedding.
With Imad Gebrayel & Hatem el Salem.
Place: Alte Kantine, Uferstr. 8–11, 13357 Berlin
Please register: email@example.com
Maps hold unparalleled storytelling potential and can help form collective opinion and build public morale without ever being free from political charge. Every map is an abstraction, and the designer decides what to exclude and what to include, what is irrelevant and what is important.
In this counter-mapping exercise/workshop, Imad Gebrayel and Hatem el Salem will explore the struggles for nature access, clean air and water and public parks in the Wedding – which are as old as the neighbourhood itself – by following mundane landmarks of everyday living and consuming.
Its radical political history is closely linked to the struggle for “green” spaces and environmental justice. The workshop, which takes place in the framework of the artistic research project Grasping Things At The Root: Red Wedding & The Green Revolt, explores environmental justice as a racial and classist crisis in the neighbourhood of Wedding, taking the everyday as a starting point. The act of counter-mapping gives insights into the historical mechanisms of green (in)equity and imagines future perspectives for equal access to nature and health in urban spaces.
DE — Karten haben ein beispielloses Storytelling-Potenzial und können helfen, eine kollektive Meinung zu bilden und die öffentliche Moral zu prägen, ohne jemals frei von politischer Verantwortung zu sein. Jede Karte ist eine Abstraktion, und die Designer*in entscheidet, was ausgeschlossen und was aufgenommen wird, was irrelevant und was wichtig ist.
In diese Counter-Mapping-Übung/Workshop werden Imad Gebrayel und Hatem el Salem die Kämpfe um den Zugang zur Natur, sauberer Luft und Wasser und öffentliche Parks im Wedding untersuchen, die so alt sind wie die Nachbarschaft selbst. Dabei folgen sie Orientierungspunkten des alltäglichen Lebens und Konsums.
Seine radikale politische Geschichte ist eng mit dem Kampf für „grüne“ Räume und Umweltgerechtigkeit verbunden. Der Workshop, der im Rahmen des künstlerischen Forschungsprojekts Grapping Things At The Root: Red Wedding & The Green Revolt stattfindet, untersucht Umweltgerechtigkeit als race und class Krise im Stadtteil Wedding und nimmt das Alltägliche als Ausgangspunkt. Der Akt des Counter-Mapping gibt Einblicke in die historischen Mechanismen grüner (Un-)gerechtigkeit und entwirft Zukunftsperspektiven für einen gleichberechtigten Zugang zu Natur und Gesundheit in städtischen Räumen.