on learning history through people’s personal expiriences.

onion

I was 11, in Leipzig, and it was a very confusing time.
The year before it was just normal to go marching flags in hand for days like this (1st of may ndr). And then, all at the sudden, there was so much confusion.
The whole system collapsed, and the people didnt know what to make of it.
A new paradigm, a new way of organizing, living, working and being was needed.
In my class I was the person who wrote down the minutes for the meetings. Thinking back I can see how the governement and school systems prepared you for a life in a higly burocratic social environment.
The first year there was lots of discussion. Some people wanted to find some sort of hybrid infrastucture, where the previous ways of social dynamics met the new reality.
Others just wanted to go with a new system all together.
At the end it was decided to try the new consumer economy.

I was in a squat in weimar, I was 33.
At the time when everything came down the fear of being imprisoned in some concentration camp for political prisoners was a real threat.
We were scared, Tiennamen was seing as a precedent for the government to use as an excuse to deal with the mounting opposition.

It all started in Leipzig, in San Thomas church. They call Leipzig the city of heroes now.
This palque commemorates the 8 th of october 1989, the that day the regular monday protest, when people from the church marched out in the boulevards of Leipzig with candles, chanting for a better system, there were tanks around the corner.
The army was ready to intervene.
‘mind though, i talked to some soldiers about that day, and they told me that there was an under order going around in the ranks, that if the generals instructed to start shooting the crowd, the soldiers would turn the guns against them..’
that wasn’t needed.
The march went through, and that day people took confidence.
It is now regarded as the starting day for the end DDR. The starting point for the process of reunification.

At the time Gorba?ëv and Reagan were in negotiation for the end of the coldwar.
Gorba?ëv ‘s Perestrojka was bringing change to the USSR. Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania were already in turmoil . The citizen of east Germany lamented the need for changes too.
The USSR imploded soon after.
The Berlin Wall came down on the 9 November 1989.

Wikipedia does not mention at all the city of Heroes.

plaque

You found the Communal gardens of the Spinnerei complex.
Here much vegetables were produced for the factory town on the outskirt of the old city.
During the 2nd world war repetitive raids from the allies forces destroyed 40% of the old town. In the process of reconstruction they piled up so much rubble that they made a little hill.
rebuilding an economy in the 50s meant housing for workers, and factories.
The spinnerei factory town was amplified, giving work to a great number of young revolutionary women.
It also was a bit of a ghetto, the rest of the town didnt like much the mass migration from poland, russia and other parts of East Germany which fulfilled the workforce needs of the enormous complex.

The communal gardens served as a spill off for accomodation needs after the DDR ended, and the factory started to close down. Lots of older workers didnt know where to go. And that’s where is at. Little plots of 80/100 square metres with makeshift houses, manicured hedges and flower bed now replace vegetable patches.

Old people still inhabit those shacks.

You were taken to a tour of one of the big buildings in Spinnerei, building 14, Halle14.
On the roof top you discovered the leftovers of a plantation of Spring onions.
Some of the buildings in this cotton thread factory were equipped with rooftop plantations of the bulbus, to facilitate the absorption of humidity from the 40+ meters tall structure.
You saw very rich soil, Spring onions and Clover and delicious Rocket and more.
Maybe the communal garden can restart here?
The dirt is there already.

roof

About info

Diego Bonetto is a multimedia artist living and practicing in Sydney, Australia, and is a key member of artists' collectives SquatSpace and the BigFAGPress. -The SquatSpace collective has been producing ground-breaking events and projects since 2000. The group has been curated in a number of shows both in Australia and overseas. The current initiatives, the Redfern-Waterloo Tour of beauty (www.squatspace.com/redfern) tackle issues of social representation and the politics of space generated by gentrification. -The BigFagPress (BFP) is a publishing facility housed in Wooloomooloo, Sydney. The BFP is a salvaged 4-tonnes Off-set proof press. The press allows for the creation of countless artworks by keen printmakers and self-started publishers. www.bigfagpress.org Diego has also been working with WeedyConnection, an environmental art campaign. The project involves an online resource (www.weedyconnection.com), short documentary films, cooking shows, blogs, installations, prints, facebook interventions and various site-specific installations in the form of self-guided tours. WeedyConnection tackle the anthropocentric view of what environment should look like. Based on research and data provided by disciplines as far apart as biology, anthropology, paloenthology, social ecology and ethno botany it formulates ethical questions about cultural representation in times of environmental urgency.
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