Artist in the place of the Industry | ExRotaprint (2007-2106)
Lecture by Daniela Brahm and Les Schliesser
ExRotaprint is the former site of the Rotaprint printing press manufacturing plant in Berlin’s Wedding district. Following the insolvency of Rotaprint in 1989, the 10,000 square meter premises fell into a state of neglect while lingering in the redevelopment line.
In 2004, artists Daniela Brahm and Les Schliesser formulated a concept for taking over the property by renters already on site. The goal was to develop the location to serve a heterogeneous mix of Arbeit, Kunst, Soziales (work, art, and community). Following grueling negotiations with the Berlin Senate and Liegenschaftsfonds (real estate funds), the renter-founded ExRotaprint gGmbH took over the site in 2007.
Today at ExRotaprint, work, art, and community each rent a third of the overall space. Working here are businesses, community outreach organizations, and creatives. The result is a balanced image of society – one that counters the superimposed monocultures of return-on-investment dreams while promoting togetherness and exchange.
Art-related strategies are utilized to create a reality on site that is socially, economically, and culturally-minded. ExRotaprint as social sculpture is an expansion of the art concept that takes form not as representation or citation but as constructed reality. This reality may be art but does not have to be.
Two contracts with interlinking and complementary aims form the basis of ExRotaprint’s legal structure. The contracts ensure the project’s long-term development as a non-profit company and its use concept, and preclude real estate speculation at this location. They provide the framework within which to create the social sculpture of ExRotaprint and simultaneously set the boundaries against a fundamental reconfiguration of the project.
(Text by Daniela Brahm and Les Schliesser, translated by Erik Smith)