After the Biketour 2016 in the Baltics, I took a bus from Kaunas back to Germany. Jacob, another participant, went with me. We had spend something like 20 hours in the limited space of 2 seats. All the people around us where watching films in the seat-integrated screens or on their own laptop. Its very hard to not look at all these exciting but useless stories, getting stuck. We wanted to talk to each other and it happend regulary that the discussion was interrupted because one of us got distracted by a screen, watching it and not being able to answer. So we decided to use the curtains on the windows to make ourselves a media-safe space: We tied them to the seat in the middle and the sealing and continued laughing about our growing feet. We were the only ones in the filled up bus that were having a conversation. At some point we had the idea to create an art-dialoge: I would draw something and Jacob would write a thing, then we exchange our little output and respond to it. I really like how these little stories transport the feeling of bus-journeys: Boredom turns into absurdness and then into indifferent calmness. In the end you are buddha.
Reclaim the Fields Assembly
Because having seen ROD with the Biketour and la zad in autumn, I was very curious when I heard about the Reclaim-the-Fields-Assembly happening in Freiburg. I could convince another participant of the biketour to come with me. We would surely get to know many interesting people and projects that we might visit in summer 2017.
And so it was, when everybody presented their projects, we also did so. We talked a bit about the biketour and showed a few photos. And afterwards, many people came towards us, inviting us to their farming projects.
The assembly itsself was a very nice expierience. About 60 people were participating, from all over Europe. A lot of french-speakers were around and also german. So the meetings were multilangual. The interpreting-collective BLA made this possible. They brought a 100 radios and some technical equipment. So you could speak either french, german or english when contributing to the discussion and it would simultaineoulsy be translated into the other two languges. You just had to choose the frequence of your language on your radio and put in the earplugs to listen to the translated conversation. It was great to see how the group interacts with the support of this technic. People can express themselves much better, when talking in their mother tongue. I also did some interpretation, french to german, and it was a great expierience. You have headphones where you hear the discussion. And when somebody speaks in a language you have to translate, you do not wait until sentences are finished but you just translate everything almost word by word. This is weird to do in the beginning, one has to get used to it. It helps a lot that you don’t hear yourself speaking so much when wearing headphones, so that you don’t get confused by the strange things you are telling to people.
On the way back, the bus was controlled. Only the people who didn’t have white skin had to show their passport. All of them who didn’t have a german one, had to leave the bus. To give their personal details and figerprints and to be photographed. 2 of them who apperently didn’t have the needed documents, had to stay in front of the police-car all the time, holding the hands in front of their bodies. The clouds of their breathe were lightend up by the lights of the car. The policeofficers were shouting in german and very bad bavarian-accented-english to the people if they didn’t understand immediatly what they wanted from them or if they handed the wrong documents.
A Police Officer said at some point: „This is a bus full of social frauds!“
I think in a state where rasicism is shown in such an open and shameless way, and that at the same time is responsable for the bad circumstances in the refugees home countries, social fraud is a good deed. No borders, no nations!
In Linz, I was already twice by now. First time I stopped by on the way to Wien. I found the Willy*Fred housing-project researching online. In autumn I arrived there by coincedence, exactly when they had the annual meeting of the association habitat. Which is a network with the aim to create self-owned living-space. The Willy*Fred is the first and for now the only existing project.
One main topic of the assembly was to decide on the general structure how they will be organised. A pretty exciting issue, in my opinion! The „Mietshäusersyndikat“, which is the german version, recently had troubles because they grew so big that they have difficulties to make decisions. With about 1000 members and hunderts of participants during assemblies, there is always somebody who is against a proposed change. So they are somehow stuck.
Habitat wants to avoid this by having kind of a flower-system. Any housing-project or topic would have an own group working on it, sending out representants to a general meeting. If the general meeting grows to big, it will again be split up into groups, that send representants. The groups can decide things on their own or if they want to make changes that concern others, propose them to the next bigger circle. The representants can discuss there with the other delegates and then give feedback to their group. Like this, basicly all the people participate in the decision process. They are just speaking through fewer mouths. The discussion can maybe often not be a direct dialoge because the groups first have to meet again to know their answer. I can imagine this being a really complicated and long process but a assembly with several hunderts of participants with no outcome is defently not better.
Like in automn, I was also warmly welcomed now when I came back. It felt as if I would be living with them already since a long time. We were going on bourgoise-vernissages to drink wine, eat snacks and have strange discussions about art. We were on a techno-party where there was such an exagerated use of the fog-machine that you couldn’t see anything anymore, not even your own hands… We went to a akro-yoga-session, where I expierienced inattended crazy ways of moving. I was part of a performance, a „fun-demonstration“: Judith paited herself a sign that said „Hier könnte auch meine Meinung stehen. – Here could also be my opinion.“ and her mouth was taped. Like this, accompanied by 3 guys in suits, sunglasses and a sign saying „insecurity“ on the back, we walked through the rainy town to an exhibition of the art-academy on a boat. It was pretty funny.
My actual reason, why I came to Linz this time was again a Feschmarkt to paint portraits. It is quiet a commercial event but well, there are nevertheless a lot of nice people. And for me its a really easy way to earn money. Also I earned other things: A tiny bag, a high quality lunch-box and a spectacles frame. In exchange to paintings. And I recieved afterwards 2 really nice messages of people saying, yeah, supercool what you are doing, that you do what you want, that I was their ray of hope in between of all the hipster-stuff, that my art inspired them. Hey ok, when it is like that, when I can reach people in this way at the same time while I earn my living, then these events are totally fine actually. Then I can somehow show that there is an alternative way also to people outside of my normal social environment.
On my way south, I was again stopping in Lyon. Friends have a nice little bar, les Clameurs, where was open stage. I only played with a pen…