Back in London one day now, I am still reflecting on my whirlwind trip to Berlin-- mostly work, a bit of fun, not much sleep.
The big topic among people I visited was the future of the city, development, planning and gentrification. The timing of my visit was very much based on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the wall, but only because that is a good starting point to assess the changes that have occurred since then and how they affect the future direction of the city.
As areas like Friedrichshain see huge developments like O2 World and Mediaspree, is there still room for independent, small-scale projects, especially in the area of alternative culture and politics? This is what gives the city its special character and is such a lure for people like me. But, it's not what gets funding.
This weekend sees Save Berlin, a three-day exhibition of alternative visions for Berlin, organised by Ex-Berliner magazine. I missed speaking to the organisers but did have a chat with Julia L, one half of Julia + Julia, the performance duo I met on my last trip. The Julias are collaborating with two others, under the less-than catchy name of Julia + Linda + Julia + Ines, for their Amazonian-hand-craft themed installation in the foyer of the exhibit. This and other visions are on display throughout the weekend at a venue in Wedding, an interesting choice, as Wedding is one of those neighbourhoods being touted as the next Kreuzberg or Prenzlauerberg. So, in five years will people be complaining of how it's too hip, cool, trendy and not affordable? Possibly.