Symbolic Capital

in collaboration with AntiGen:

Symbolic Capital

Info-exhibition on upgrading and gentrification

Opening: June 9, 19H
Opening hours during "48 Stunden Neukölln":
June 17: 19 – 24H (Discussion at 20H)
June 18: 14 – 19H

Symbolic Capital - the blackboard

The blackboard

The theme of 48 Stunden Neukölln this year is "luxury." Gitte Bohr sees this as an opportunity to reflect upon the whys, hows and wherefores of such a phantasmagorical construction of luxury in a poor neighbourhood like Neukölln. At this time and place these questions lead to one predominant issue: gentrification. In an urban space, as in all other contexts, the dream of luxury has the one characteristic that it can be dreamt by all but only be attained by the few. Nonetheless, this dream dominates and conditions the lives of so many people and obstructs the view to possible profounder changes.

The term gentrification was coined by the British sociologist Ruth Glass, who in 1964 used it to describe a process of upgrading and price increase, and consequent displacement of the original working class inhabitants, in certain neighbourhoods of London. This is exactly the process, which at the moment is happening in Neukölln. It is a complex process with many factors, which we seek to investigate.

Symbolic Capital - Installation shots

The exhibition

Together with the anti-gentrification group AntiGen, based in the Schillerkiez in Neukölln, Gitte Bohr is presenting the project Symbolic Capital. The collaborative project will be inaugurated on June 9 and presented and discussed in connection with 48 Stunden Neukölln. Based on a work-in-progress situation, it will take the form of an info-exhibition with texts, images, films and artworks accompanied by a discussion on Friday, June 17 at 20H.

Starting out from a general investigation of certain terms within the process of gentrification, its mechanisms and grounding in the larger structures of neoliberal capitalism, we will approach the specific situation in the Schillerkiez-neighbourhood. After the closure of Tempelhof Airport and its alteration into a park, the neighbourhood has become interesting for real estate speculation as well as city renewal projects. How exactly do these processes work? What are the consequences of the rent raises, the "beautification," etc. for the inhabitants? What are the possibilities for resistance against this process of exclusiveness and displacement, and what could be alternative models for urban space?

As artists, cultural producers, students and young people with alternative life-styles, we, Gitte Bohr and the members of the antigen group, find ourselves in a contradictory situation. Our mere presence creates symbolic capital – one of the first ingredients in the urban upgrading brew. But are we really a part of the so-called creative class, or is this figure simply a construction based on neoliberal mythology? And: what can we actually do to resist instrumentalisation?

"We've got to revolutionize the geographic subconscious; we've got to revolutionize daily life--that's what really matters. In changing the city, we change ourselves. The real question is: what kind of people do we want to be?" -David Harvey

Link to 48 Stunden Neukölln