Book design: Anja Lutz
About the book:
Referring to the unofficial twinnings that reflect Berlin’s current immigrant population instead of the official equivalents of the city, Invisible Twinning explores the city’s long tradition of urban horticulture and reveals ideas of health in the widest sense: as balance and imbalance as well as on a societal and personal level, looking at how people navigate and share resources within a city.
Invisible Twinnig ist published as part of the program “Meridian Urban”, Asia-Pacific-Weeks 2011 at the House of World Clultures in Berlin, 7–19 September, 2011.
40 pages, 24 colour illustrations
165 x 240 mm, softcover
English / German
Sat June 18, 2-8pm
Sun, June 19 12-6pm
An installation as part of the ‘Invisible Twinning’ project, which explores different garden projects (community, intercultural, allotment) that mirror the multicultural existence and experience in Berlin. The installation includes a video of project participants explaining how to cook recipes from different countries, and focuses on Neukölln as an area of multiculturality by inviting visitors to contribute to the project as well as to alter a maquette of an ‘ideal allotment garden’ according to their own ideas.READ MORE AND COMMENT
In Berlin every community garden plot or “garden colony” has its own history and each one of them is different. This one has a very ancient history, as it was created during the war by several railway workers. In 1964, there were already 34 plots, when they officially became part of the Berlin Railway Gardeners Organization (BLW). Until then the “wild colony” had not been legalized! Now we are still part of the BLW and we have 65 gardens. We have arrived at the third or fourth generation and some people inherited their gardens from their grandfathers. This year, a few elderly people have died and some new people joined. We are people from different backgrounds and professions, not only railway workers. I am retired but I was a teacher for literature and art. Some people are intellectuals, artists, foreigners… sometimes they are homosexual and the elderly people cannot understand… They do not say bad words, though. They just say “we need more kids!” and I know what they are referring to… This is my fourth year of being the president of this garden colony. Sometimes it is difficult to mediate between people, to inform about the colony and induce old owners to interact with new ones. Up to last year the whole colony ran the risk of being shut down because the municipality was planning to build sport yards here. It would have been the end of the colony. However, a few months ago the municipality decided to build the sport yards at Tempelhof where there is a lot of space. Lucky us! Moreover, the wasteland areas you see around here, once belonged to the railway company that recently became a big investor – so there was a risk that these areas which are really close to Potsdamer Platz could have become gainful places for new apartments. Fortunately, the city of Berlin managed to buy all the plots and decided to create green areas and parks instead of apartments. The first park (on the east side of the S-Bahn) is almost finished and I think it will be ready in springtime.
Gayle: Do you have to follow some rules?
Yes, we do. Every colony does. There are many specific rules that govern colonies, however here it is a little bit different because this was a proletarian colony, so private property is understimated compared to other colonies – not only for my influence, because I come from ’68 movement, it was already like this.READ MORE AND COMMENT