Not too long ago, I was asked to portrait the “Places Where We Dream” in Berlin for the VW x Electronica exhibition. As a little follow up I was again sent to cover the broad subject of all those Berlin gentrification issues from the perspective of the local art scene.
There’s been a certain trend showing. Established gallery owners and artists alike are slowly moving from the former hot spot Berlin-Mitte to relatively close, but seemingly far away neighborhoods. We’re not talking about young creatives heading to the popular Friedrichshain–Kreuzberg-Neukölln triangle (though, of course, there’s a lot of that too). Instead, the institutions are staying central, but south of where they used to be, especially forming clusters at Kochstraße (Checkpoint Charlie) and on Potsdamer Straße.
If you’ve passed the Tagesspiegel building, this one’s now occupied by many temporary and permanent exhibitions, fancy galleries and stores. Outside of the building, though, you’ll find Turkish Markets, shady night time activities and no more of that Mitte glamour that once spoke for the settling of art in a certain area.
Of course this has something to do with the high rising prices of rents in Mitte and other posh areas, and yet, it seems as if the new clusters have not been chosen remotely but for good reasons: to avoid competition and to revert to a certain degree of individuality. Those new creative spaces are usually found in stark contrast to their surrounding, which I find interesting and exciting. It makes us take a step into the future and wonder: when will gentrification (which is both a good and bad thing) arrive in those newly chosen districts? Has the art scene found an unspoken new territory that will substitute the usual areas, or will it simply complement already existing entities?