The Meinstein-Project was an interactive public art project with inhabitants of Neukoelln, a borrough of Berlin which is characterized by a high number of immigrants. The project consisting of an participatory part, “code-art” with a computer simulation and landscaping architecture was conceived by Tunisian-Russian artist Nadia Kaabi-Linke, planned by el:ch landscaping architects (Berlin, Munich), and developed and realised by an artistic team including Dutch artist Roos Versteeg, German media-artist Ralf Baecker, curator Vu Hoang, Barbara Lenz and Timo Kaabi-Linke.
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.
...Basalt, granite, quarzite, gneiss, greywacke, glass 5600cm x 2200cm
The Meinstein-Project: A public interactive art project with inhabitants of Berlin-Neukoelln, in collaboration with el:ch landscaping architects and A!KMS
March 21 — May 22
Karl-Marx-Str. 101-105, Neukölln
Meinstein - Public Art Project in Berlin