Berlin, Germany
28 / 04 / 14

Demographic pavement. Permanent public artwork at Albrecht-Scholz-Platz in Berlin-Neukölln.

Computer simulation of the multi-ethnic population of North-Neukölln in Fall 2010.

Embedded design. Architectural plan of el:ch landschaftsarchitekten. 

Groundbreaking ceremony: handing over the first stone.

Diagram displaying the proportional share of the population of Nord-Neukölln in Fall 2010..

The Meinstein Project
The borrough Neukoelln is characterized by a high number of immigrants. The stones in different colours were imported from the regions where the inhabitants of Neukoelln came from. The number of stones corresponds approximately to the number of the citizens in the Northern part of Neukoelln. For the participatory part, we worked with the citizens of Neukoelln on the matter of immigration and everyday-life focusing concepts as memory and the notion of home and origin. Home considered in a wider meaning: childhood, language, the beloved people, the earth, etc. What does it mean to bring a piece of your past and integrate it in a new environment? The imported stones are symbols for a piece of home and migration.
During ten workshops Nadia Kaabi-Linke and Roos Versteeg collected soft data about the community life in this heterogeneous district: How do people feel related in Neukoelln? What do they like about living there? Where would they prefer to live if they could choose? Where do they like to be in Neukoelln and where not? Questions like these examples delivered the informations that were later used to form the pattern of stones on the ground of the square.
The link between the personal memories of participants and the abstract shape of the mosaic-like pavement was a computer program coded by German media-artist Ralf Baecker. The code of the program allowed a meaningful translation of people’s answers and drawings into digits, values and colour codes. This method allowed us to use their memories ad feeling about the place as input for a computer simulation that rendered a dynamic pattern based on the cohesion of different stones. This way the participant’s could influence whether their virtual agent in the program made wider or shorter steps, and whether the result would be a mixture or different clusters of stones. The participants have built their own square without being aware of what they actually do. In the end, the whole process became a metaphor for the aggregated effect of a community life shaped by the inhabitants. The inhabitants shape their environment, but they can neither control the process nor its outcome.

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