Open Occupy

Since artists started squatting in the abandoned GDR factory at Flutgraben in the early 90ies, they opened their studios regularly to the public. FLUTGRABEN, since 1998 a non-profit organisation and Berlins largest self-organized artists´ studio building, continues to engage the public in an annual Open House. This was connected to the idea of collaborating more intensely with artists from other places, in group exhibitions such as “Fountain 100” (2017), “Open Source” (2018) and “Blind Date” (2019).

Since 2018 Open House Flutgraben has increasingly turned its attention to the financialization of urban space and examines how structures of exploitation can be countered through the practice of open, solidarity-based networks, and transdisciplinary collaboration. The initiative Open/Occupy is a direct response to an ongoing process of gentrification in Berlin, where the struggle and worry of losing one’s living and working space is enhanced on a daily basis. Open/Occupy believes that the city needs free and open spaces because they generate critical knowledge and create community; foster alternative visions of the future through experiential forms of discourse; facilitate open-mindedness towards the unknown and the potential of becoming. Together we work towards strategies of civic empowerment, motoring social change, sustaining open spaces and creating a new solidarity-based politics of space.

In winter 2021, on the occasion of our annual open studios, we invited artists, activists, writers and scholars to reflect on the theme of the “Artist House”: the place where artists work and live. The social and spatial contexts that drive and in many cases shape the process of art making. These are among the places that are rapidly disappearing in Berlin due to real estate speculation.

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