The City of my Dreams

13. 9. 2012 // // Kategorie Randnotizen 2012

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The neighbours of Kottbusser Tor South, also known as Kotti, in the heart of Berlin-Kreuzberg,are preparing their 1O th noise demonstration. What do they want? something that sounds quite simple: to put a limit to the rents of their flats. Their prices are going up to the sky, as Berlin becomes so trendy. Kreuzberg used to be the less touristic place of West Berlin during the Cold War, a marginal place besides the wall were just the turkish immigrants and young germans escaping from the military service could feel at home. Its punk, antifascist and multicultural resonances can still be found, between the no soul of the expanding plastic shops and their cyborg costumers. They still make the place more attractive than most of the city in the eyes of artists, tourists and… investors.

kotti innenstadt

Artists are an important part of the process. Even if most of them do not sell their work and are quite poor, they recognise the special charme of the place and then make it more charming in a more digestive way. Something similar happens with the pseudohippies that suddenly discover distant fishermen villages in the coast of Brasil or wherever: they prepare the terrain for five stars hotels. So there is no real paradox that the Kiez becomes more and more expensive: what there is, and certainly a lot, is ambivalence.

And reaching this point is good to hearAutomatic City by Leise&Lento and to sing it as well!


this is the city of my dreams /automatic city /this is the city of my dreams

automatic city /my dreams, my dreams…

there are cyborgs on the streets /as well as human beings

I am the ciborg, /this is the city of my dreams

it doesnt matter anymore /if you have work or if you dont

I am the city /this is the city of my dreams

you can walk through every door / ’cause this is the city of my dreams

this is the city of my dreams, /the city of my dreams is automatic (bis)

tic tic tic tic

and i dont care if there isdog shit on the sidewalk

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The rents of many inhabitants of Xberg and other areas were regulated by the State as belonging to “social houses”, but then the bank wizards arrived and said “your flat is no social anymore and its price will be decided by the Invisible Hand.”

The gentrification of Berlin, at least in the brains of speculators, seems to have no limit. For every neoliberal-guided process during its ascendent curve, physics limitations dont exist, people and materials dont resist, spaces can be valorated, in capitalistic terms, ad infinitum and social value its reduced to the values of a limitated social class: the gentry.

kotti I love

But it happens that suddenly some people do resist and decide to stay in the place where they have made their lives and weaved the social, affective and economical relationships that constitute the fabric of their identities. And some artists decide that instead of selling their works about gentrification in art galleries and glossy paper catalogs, can provide tools of resistance and share their time with their neighbours. And some “representatives” remember that the State can play a role that is not precisely to help the rich to be richer and the poor to be poorer!

In the Gecekondu, the place Kotti & Co built to have a 24 hrs camping presence in the street, you can read this text:

“Dear tourists and english speaking friends!This is a protest camp of a tenant group located at Kottbusser Tor / South.As you might haved heard rising rent and gentrification is a big problem for us living in Berlin.Here you can read our demands. if you are curious just stop by have a tee and chat with us.Become part of our protest be Berlin as our goverment would say.”

kotti postcard

The neighbours of Kotti are giving every citizen and passer-by a political lesson that combines the moral strenght of a just demand, with the creativity that can make that demand to be heard, the persistence to avoid its social dilution and mediatic neutralisation and, last but not least, the openness to invite ALL the social actors around to support it, even at the risk of having an identity crisis and acting against their own interest.

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Dear tourists and english speaking friends!
this is a protest camp of a tenant group located at kottbusser tor / south.
as you might haved heard rising rent and gentrification is a big problem for us living in berlin.
here you can read our demands. if you are curious just stop by have a tee and chat with us.
become part of our protest be berlin as our goverment would say