In the End of November 2017, in the frame of our Bachelor graduation project, we scheduled a meeting with Sandy Kaltenborn, a German designer, running image-shift, a graphic design and visual communication studio in Berlin Kottbusser Tor.
image-shift “is dedicated to – and operates in cultural, social, educational and political contexts.” (“design is not enough”). We got to know Sandy through a presentation where he explained the works he is involved in since years in “Kotti” (Nickname for Kottbusser Tor, a neighborhood in Berlin, Kreuzberg) concerning social housing, rent situation, tenants rights and migration history.
We wanted to have a discussion with him around this project in order to get informations, ideas and methods for our bachelor.
After a 2 hours discussion around his work, projects, ethic, political engagement, the description of our thesis, our early research in Rigaerstrasse, etc, Sandy informed us about a new project that will take place in the next 6 month called “Re-Kommunalisirung Plus, Modellprojeckt am Kottbusser Tor”.
The project is a study involving a group of 5-6 persons from the fields of academics, social work and design.
Kotti is enduring the neoliberalisation of it's social housing, where private investors and companies buy blocks of buildings from the public sector resulting in increasing rents. This ended up in a situation where people cannot afford to live in a neighbourhood that they themselves made what it is, where they created networks and social ties over years. A “Re-Kommunalisierung” means to get the city and de facto it’s citizen, owners of the place where they live, retaking their rights over the private market. The study aims to activate the interests of the residents and business owners toward a self-determination, self-governance and autonomy in socio-political decisions but also living conditions in Kotti.
The study will lay the basis of an exemplary structure of residents self-determination and governance in social buildings around Kottbusser Tor.
In the frame of this study, a social-design team were build in order to think, depict and create a “picture” for this study, it’s way of communications and design the participatory projects.
Our task in this project was to think about ways of communication for the launch of the study as well as it's picture politic. We designed a newspaper (Kotti-info) that retrace the past years political achivements of the tenant-association Kotti&Co, both in Turkish and German languages. A flyer as been created explaining the basis and goals of the study as well as a gift postcard as a gesture for the residents of the neighborhood. The revolutionary fist is brandishing the famous turkish simit over the Neue Kreuzberg Zentrum social housing building, a touch of humour. Those three printed material were then distributed to all Kotti's resident via their mailboxs. We also created a poster series mixing pictures, ironical infographics and languages.
The whole project was also compiled in a booklet for the purpose of our bachelor graduation and presented during the winter semester 2018 Btk Bachelor graduation exhibition.
From that point, we then kept working with image-shift in the frame of an internship for more than a year.
gestus — communication visuelle & relations sociales et solidaires