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Changing minds one hood at a time

in Arts/My Leipzig/What's on by

Diana Wesser and Antje Rademacker‘s art project, Leipziger Stadtteilexpeditionen, has aimed to challenge preconceived notions one part of the city at a time by showing it to you through the eyes of the people who live there. She started the planning in 2011 and the first event took place in 2014.

Way back in 2015 I participated as Pam de Bahr.  I camped out in a vacant lot in my neighbourhood and people dropped by for a visit. I have lived in the Eisenbahn area for many years and love the international flavour of it. I wanted to be part of dispelling the “most dangerous street in Germany” myth.

There were three different times with different points on the walking tour map, so I was able to go on one myself.

I found out about Ost-Passage Theatre that’s over Aldi. They are in the top half and the detailing is wonderful. At the time, they were still under construction and not open to the public.

Also on the list, and not quite open at the time, was HAL Atelier Haus. Now they have various events quite often.

And I now know where to buy fresh eggs. You just give a donation and it goes to the animals at Klein Stadtfarm. They have the biggest bunny I’ve ever seen and Biggie, the Vietnamese potbelly pig, to mention a few. It’s the perfect place for a big kid like me.

Diana Wesser and Antje Rademacker, Stadtteil Expedition, Leipzig East Oct 2015

For the last year Diana and Antje have focused on the far west side of town, Grünau. They have organised many events to bring people together. This coming Saturday is the last one, Expedition 9: Grünau – Weites Land, which follows the map format.

But what is there to find in Grünau and who have Diana and Antje found to welcome us?

Built between 1976 and 1988, it was the place to be during the GDR. The pre-fab tower blocks were new and modern, and warm. With no money for repairs, many of the old houses in the city were in poor condition in comparison. I remember one of my students telling me of ice on the walls during winter.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall, money came in to rebuild the city centre. Many people moved out of Grünau, and it had kind of become a wasteland when I got here in 2004.

That’s changing as more and more people fill up the city. Rent is reasonable and you have everything you need in close proximity.

This work takes art out of the dusty old museum and brings it to the street.

If you are wondering how this can be considered art, think about what art is. If you think it’s something pretty to be admired, consider the aesthetic a part of town takes on when you know someone who lives there. If you think art should change your perspective, this definitely can do that. If you think it should be political, that’s there as well.

But if you think it should be something to hang over your couch, you are wrong. That’s interior design at best.

Today you can drop by and eat some cake and talk to locals about their Grünau stories. I know I need some cake, a chat and a smile. Saturday is the last of Diana Wesser’s Stadtteil Expeditions. Will this be your last chance to change your mind about Grünau – and perhaps about what art is?


Kleines Tausch-Café – Unser Kuchen für eure Geschichten
Leipziger Stadtteilexpeditionen
from Diana Wesser and Antje Radmacker

Eat some homemade cake. Meet some people. Have a laugh.

Selliner Straße 17
04207 Leipzig, Deutschland
Tue 2 Aug
13.00-18.00

free

Diana Wesser and Antje Radmacker, organisers.
Diana Wesser and Antje Radmacker, organisers.

Expedition 9: Grünau – Weites Land
Leipziger Stadtteilexpeditionen
from Diana Wesser and Antje Radmacker

Selliner Straße 17
04207 Leipzig, Deutschland
Saturday 5 Aug
14:00–17:00

free


Unless otherwise specified, all photos on this post were shot in Grünau over the past year and are courtesy of Diana Wesser.

Maeshelle West-Davies gleans her varied life experiences to expose a personal perspective through a multitude of mediums. Sound, video, photography, dance, performance and public art are the tools she uses to convey her message. Her work is a response not only to a physical journey, but an emotional one, as with all of us who walk along or beside our individual paths.

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