Manifeste is a project that offers the people of the Düttmann-Siedlung, a housing estate in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg, the opportunity to express their wishes and dreams. The artistic proposal suggests that these dreams and wishes can be materialized through their manifestation, first in written language and then concretely in an installation which impresses them in the collective unconscious of everyday pedestrians.
The Düttman Siedlung is a social housing project built in the 80s and located in the district of Kreuzberg, Berlin. 75% of its inhabitants are of immigrant origin and the majority come from countries in war.
As a foreign-born artist who lives in Berlin, I came to this my adopted city like many other immigrants, with dreams, wishes and expectations that I hoped to realize. For me, one of the most important factors when trying to overcome the cultural barriers I faced and integrate into this new society was to adopt a medium of communication. From the beginning, the medium I chose was my artistic expression.
This project aims to act as a tool that stimulates communication between the inhabitants of the Düttman Siedlung. Starting from the expression of their expectations, a common universe is created that gives rise to synergies among residents.
In the first phase of the project – information gathering – we strive to establish a face-to-face dialogue with residents in order to gain their trust and help participants articulate and define their desires. Using a camcorder, reciprocal interviews were conducted where we shared personal experiences and the challenges of being a migrant. This way we found common ground and were able to enrich each other. Then the people placed their dreams and hopes for the near future in a "box of wishes".
In the second phase – implementation, completed together with the residents – the participants’ wishes were embossed in circular concrete slabs. The material chosen was cement because it blends with the aesthetics of the environment and conforms to the original idea of the architect Werner Düttmann.
In the third phase – decoration – the desires that had been expressed were highlighted with gold paint on the cement. They were then placed on bollards and sealed with lacquer to protect them from the weather.
The bollards are arranged on both sides of the housing estate walkways, so that the residents who walk past daily are reflected in the environment through their desires, materialized in the concrete. The singular and personal is reflected in the desires and at the same time a common space is generated for those who identify with what is impressed on the bollards.
Upon completion and presentation of the project to the community, 77 wishes had been recorded. However, as their concerns did not end with the project, the neighbours asked for the "box of wishes" to be left longer as proof that dreams continue.
ManiFeste has a direct relationship with the Latin word meaning “Manifesto” - do something workable with hands.