Friday, February 13, 2009

East vs. West...again....

Sometime after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a former luxury department store built in 1908 was turned into an artist's squatter camp called Tacheles, a yiddish word meaning straight talk. For 19 years, this building thrived with life.

Now the artist's are fighting back as they were served an eviction notice.

Berlin's Kunsthouse Tacheles serves as a reminder that East Berlin was not always the super chic, expensive, and gentrified place it came to be. Rents in Prenzlauer Berg and parts of Mitte are now unaffordable for most and even demand Provision, a fee on upwards of 1000 Euros paid to the flat just to reserve it - non-refundable.

Instead, 300,000 tourists visit this building where they can browse and buy artwork, or enjoy coffee at one of the cafes.

I believe this will be one of the last clashes as Berlin the "poor but sexy city" struggles with its image as the new German capital versus its roots as the cultural center of Europe.

If you are in Berlin, go see this Berlin holdout against capiltailism and mainstream before it becomes luxury apartments...

If you want to read more, here is a fitting description of this building and the artists inside from an American visitor in 2005.

More photos and information from this BBC article.

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