Eviction noise

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It seems like an eviction in FreeCuvry will arrive soon.

Already some weeks ago in the camp there were some voices about a probably eviction in this month of June, but now these voices become every day real. All the inhabitants of Cuvry have seen in the last days the police’s controls increase, every day lot of helicopters fly over the camp, yesterday one of them did 5 times a circle, most probably to take good pictures of the all field to can have the exactly number of the houses and an idea of the quantity of the people who live here.
I can already tell it to you .

The houses in FreeCuvry are 50 or more, about 20 of them are gipsies’ house. If you think that in every house there are at least 2 people, but in a gipsies’ one there is a family of 4 or 5 people, this means that in FreeCuvry live between 100 and 150 or more people.

So Berlin, are you ready to kick in the street more than 150 people like it were nothing?

I also understand the gipsies are a recent problem here in Germany. Since the Romania and Bulgaria have entered in the EU, the borders opened and the gipsies arrived here. They have lived in Italy since long time, because the less controls to enter in my own country or for the more tolerance for immigrants. A Roma camp is also near my family house in Catania. Italian people know them maybe better, at least they see gipsies everyday in the italian cities so they know their way to live. But for german people this can be a new wrong life-style. Even Yuki was totally surprise when he discovered the first time on which way the gipsies live, cause in Japan gipsies have not yet arrived.

But it is not so easy, it is not with a eviction that Berlin will solve the gipsies problem. They live in this way since centuries or thousands years, they don’t really care if their houses would be destroyed, them will find another place and build another 100 time new houses.

But I can also say that FreeCuvry is the only place where I saw gipsies from Romania living together with gipsies from Bulgaria and Spain, and with Poles, Italians, Germans, Australians, Dutch, South Americans, Lithuanians, Hungarians, Japaneses and all the people from around the world who live in FreeCuvry.

I don’t know if this mix of culture will arrive to a balance for the creation of a organized village, but some months or even one year are not enough to know it.

 

The owner of the field, Artur Süsskind, has already ordered the evacuation to the police. They are preparing it in these day.

So it’s written in a article of Neues Deutschland.

But yesterday also a journalist of the Morgen Post came in Cuvry to interview us and make some pictures of our project. Her name is Uta Keseling.
She told us she is going to write an article on the weekend newspaper about all the empty areas in Berlin, talking about the positive and negative sides. I hope our project will be in the positive ones.
The article will be publish on this sunday.

 

We know in FreeCuvry there are huge money interests, I’m an architect and Yuki is an artist, we are not activists neither politics. In this kind of world and society we can not win against so big power. We can just continue to work every day, do what we can do, create something beautiful around us, hope to give and take good and positive energies from all the people and from all the spaces we live.

And maybe one day something will change.

So if you also think like us, please visit us in these days that could be the last, and help us to keep the good that we still see here.

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Clement’s branches

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In FreeCuvry this spring a new important neighbor arrived, his name is Clement.

I say important because he has a special feature: he loves the garbage.

It is not a case that he took the Tommaso’s place in the camp, and the day when he came, cleaning the space from the rest of Tommaso’s stuff, he told us, “There is no garbage, everything can be useful”.

At first his way can seem similar to Tommaso’s way, but he has another style. He doesn’t collect every kind of stuff and he has not messy problem, he just try to save most things possible from throwing away.

Some days ago he had big discussion with some polish guys because he brought the gipsies’ garbage near the library. Clement is a really peaceful person, he is not able to fight neither to defend himself. You must be really stupid and coward to start a fight with a man like him.

There are some stupid and coward people in FreeCuvry.

But I want to thank Clement, because some days ago he brought in the camp a lot of tree branches, taken from the street. At first I asked myself what we should have done with those. But Yuki started to use the leaves to make fertilizer, like he learned in Kenya, and he gave me a branch without bark. It was very beautiful, white, smooth and delicate. So I started to take off all the bark from the branches, before they became dry and it would be not possible anymore.

I still don’t know what I will do with it, if furnitures or sculptures, I think every piece will be something different, because every piece is unique.

Anyway thanks to Clement to have given me this beautiful material.

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Gipsy Conquest

We would like to thanks all the people who came, helped and enjoyed our work at the Japan Syndrome festival, a special thanks to the HAU staff, Annemie, Jana and Benny, to our friends who have come and help us with the cooking, Kanta, Sasha and Sandy. Thursday was the last evening and we were very happy to have so much people around us, I cooked lentil soup, two big pots and it was everything eaten 🙂 it was very nice having our neighbors from FreeCuvry as well.

Changing topic….

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The gipsy street nowadays

I would to like to write today about a component of FreeCuvry a little bit problematic: the gipsies.

I say problematic for one main reason, because they are a really close community and since they have been in Cuvry a real and clear dialog has been almost impossible, also because they speak just bulgarian or romenian and a little part of them spanish. Anyway, the language would be not a insuperable problem if a person wanted really communicate.

They arrived in Cuvry the first time this winter, they were just a little family and they build two little houses. But during the winter they had bid discussion with the Poles, mainly for some thefts inside the camps, so during the winter there was the “gipsy war”, and their houses were destroyed more times.

In spring they came back, this time more numerous and stronger, and more conscientious and prudent, they spoke with the habitants and said they would have not stolen inside the camp and behaved good. So they started to build their house, at first one, then two, then five, then in just two weeks they built 15 houses. They completely destroyed the Pagoda, the construction for common uses near the beach, to steal all the material for building their houses. It’s very difficult to speak with them and explain that FreeCuvry is not a gipsy camp, there must be a balance and they can not build everywhere without speaking with the neighbors. They are very fast to build, and they always use the excuse of the children for their need of more and more space, more and more houses. Now a day in FreeCuvry there are about 50 houses (I say “about” because almost everyday there is a new construction) and 20 of them are gipsies’ houses.

We made a reunion to speak all together about this topic, we invited the gipsies to partecipate…there was nobody of them.

I asked to the Bulgarians to not build a house in the Pagoda place, because we wanted to build it again…the day after there was already a construction.

I don’t know how will be, continuing in this way FreeCuvry will be really a gipsy camp. We can not stop them, they are very cohesive and they live in this way since generations. But maybe we can create a canal to communicate with them and working together.

Maybe.

Little by little.

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The Pagoda ruins in March

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The Pagoda ruins in March

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The gipsies started to build in March

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A view of the gipsy street behind the big teepee

Open House_Dis-Cuvry – Confronting Comfort #1

Thanks to all the people who visited us for the Open House event in our house in FreeCuvry.

It was such a special atmosphere of sociality and positive energy.

We hope to have 100, 1000 other moments like that.

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Sooooooo…..after some days without internet finally I can thanks all the people who visited us in FreeCuvry for the anniversary of our house.

It was a very nice party, many people have come from out and lot of our neighbors have joined us to celebrate, thanks to everybody! It was a nice community moment as well, Yuki cooked a super delicious japanese curry soup with rise for everybody and we had the possibility to know better each other, especially with the newcomers because, as I wrote before, with the beautiful season a lot of new people is coming in FreeCuvry. But this spring there are new positive energies and the people seem to care more about the place and the people around them.

I’m sure it will go better and better.

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Cuvry Spring Frenzy

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And finally it’s spring also in Cuvry!

All around our house everything is already green, we wake up with the voices of the birds and the big wild plants grow amazingly fast and hide us from the view of the people who pass through the camp in the weekend, going to sit in front of the Spree and spend a nice sunny afternoon.

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This is the Cuvry spring frenzy: everybody has started to order and clean the camp and the garden-fever is really contagious all around FreeCuvry. Behind our house there were the rests of the garden cared by the italian guys last year, and now one girl cares about it every days with a lot of love, planting different vegetables. She gave us some carrots sprouts too!

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Yuki is caring about the garden around the house, planting some carrots, cucumbers, radishes and sunflowers in front of the kitchen and other flowers near the entrance. We really hope our seeds will grow, but it’s not easy, especially because in Cuvry all the dogs are free to jump into your flowerbed and destroy everything…but this is Cuvry 🙂

I love this energy.
I love the spring in Cuvry!

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Are you afraid to open your eyes?

 

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It’s long time I have not written news. Lot of things happened and lot are still happening. The camp is changing day by day,  but in a way it is always the same.

During these day there is a lot of attention about the free field in Cuvry Straße, in the last weeks some important Berlin newspaper made big articles about the situation of the camp, and it was not good advertisement, not at all.  The main  topic and argumentation was describing FreeCuvry as the new slum of Kreuzberg, the sign of a dangerous beginning for Berlin, the beginning of a out-of-controll urbanization.

Or maybe it’s just started the marketing process that will bring till the building of these 250 luxury apartments for just hip rich people. And which better way than create such a bad image of Cuvry using medias and newspapers, maybe passing some bag of money just under the desk of some journalists.

“Die Slum von Kreuzberg: Das ist nicht Bombay, das ist Berlin”

So they wrote.

And what can we answer? It is true. FreeCuvry has the aspect of a slum, maybe it is, but of course it’s very easy to write that it’s just a mountain of garbage lived by people who spend their day just  drinking and taking drug. It’s very easy to spend just half an hour to take some pictures and pretend to now how the life in Cuvry is going.

What is not easy is to open the eyes and realize that the world is changing and what happens in city like Bombay, or Nairobi, or other cities in Africa, Asia or South America is regarding not just a limited area around there but all the world, included Europe and Berlin.

I don’t pretend to know how the world is going, and I don’t want to say if urban events like FreeCuvry are more or less right, neither justifying them.

What I want to do is write my point of view, and I’m sure it has much more value than what someone who only spent either one hour or one day in Cuvry may have to say.

This is because my eyes are watching from inside for over a year.

So please just give me the possibility to bring you a little bit closer to the reality in FreeCuvry.

 

It’s clear to everybody that the main reason of the origin of places like FreeCuvry is that the majority of the people can not anymore pay a rent for a house, and the price of the rent is madly increasing in Berlin for the gentrification.

It’s also true that the majority of the people who live in FreeCuvry have  no job and live just collecting bottles, playing or asking for money in the street. But when I watch them and I go to work every morning, doing my fucking internship for 3€ a hour, I ask myself where this idea of happiness, beside an image of a nice apartment, a fix shitty job that give you an illusion of economic stability, comes from. I mean, are you sure this is the way to be happy? And are you sure this is your way to be happy or the society put it inside your brain to convince you it’s the best one?

There is a lot of ways to live, I just think people need to take a look around before give hasty judgments.

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Another topic.

The garbage in Cuvry…

The first time when Yuki and me came to FreeCuvry there was a mountain of garbage near the entrance of Schlesisches Straße, it was so much that we couldn’t explain how the habitants managed to create such a big mess. When the spring arrived and the snow was definitely gone ( last winter was really long, snowing until half april!) the habitants of Cuvry started to cleaning the camp and around their houses, putting all the garbage over the mountain, that grew and grew till get huge. I saw also lot of people from outside throwing stuff on the mountain. I remember, I had an argument with one polish guy for that, I couldn’t understand how they made so much garbage, and every kind of different stuff, from furnitures to clothes.

 

Now, after one year, I know it.

The garbage in FreeCuvry is not just the garbage of its habitants because you can be sure the people in Cuvry make much less garbage in their house than all the other people who live in normal apartments. This garbage comes mainly from the summer camping, cause in summer people come in Cuvry, put their tents and stay for the beautiful season, and after they go away, leaving all their shitty stuff there, and every summer it’s the same story.

Let’s take Tommaso as an example: he collected a huge quantity of stuff for all the summer, around our house and in the place where he should have built his house (thing that he’s never done), then when the winter arrived he just moved, without saying or bringing with him anything. So Lukas and other people from Cuvry had to clean Tommaso mess. It needed more than two weeks of work and two trucks to bring aways all that stuff.

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So people come, make shit and go away. And the shit stays in FreeCuvry.

This why the garbage.

And this is just a little gaze on the real FreeCuvry.

I continue to say, if you want and if you can just come to take a closer look.

I saw so many journalists coming, moving in the camp like it was a war camp and in a moment somebody could attempt on their life…funny image of wimp and stupid people who have no idea what FreeCuvry is. There is nothing to be afraid.

The only thing you need to be safe here is respect, if you respect the people, the place and yourself you are always welcome in FreeCuvry.

 

 

 

Welcome Winter!

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In FreeCuvry the winter is finally arrived.

With about -10 degrees and totally covered by snow, Cuvry appears white and silent, everything seems going slower, the camp is going to lethargy. The majority of the people who built the houses between this summer and this autumn haven’t yet every kind of stove inside, and the walls are still not enough isolated, full of gaps that allow the wind and the cold come in easy. So they make every day a big fire in the common kitchen, near the Schlesisches Straße entry, beside the library, and spend time there together. Some of them sleep there in the night, beside the big fire drum, cause in their house is too cold.

We remember that cold, when we started to build our home we slept since the beginning in Cuvry, our walls were just plastic sheets. We had no stove, and no space inside to be warm and relax, the only thing we could do that time to not feel the cold was working every day hard until we would have built four walls and a roof. But now a day we can feel the warm of our home.

We are always happy to receive visits, and although our home is not so big, we always try to make place for everybody.

Two weeks ago for example we where inside 8 people, very close each other 😉 Yuki cooked miso soup and rice for everybody, it was nice, we never thought we could be so many inside!

One friend who comes often to visit us is Sasha. Two days ago he brought some food for dinner and we invited also Lukas and Manu, who were that evening in the common kitchen around the fire. Yuki cooked also this time – actually he cooks always because he cooks much better than me:) – he made miso soup with his super special meat-balls, and rice of course, as a good Japanese.

Sasha is very nice person, he has always such many interesting stories to tell, he lived so many different and weird situation, he know a lot of funny things and he did a lot of strange jobs. So when he starts to speak, you know he will tell you something special, and you can just listen to him.

In any how we enjoy to be together our friends in our home, and we hope to receive always several visits.

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Tommaso’s style

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I will talk today about our house in the beginning of this autumn.

Last summer we were not in Berlin for a while, so we had to find somebody to leave the house to, because in FreeCuvry you can not leave your home empty otherwise it’s very probable that in a very short time it will be squatted/destroyed/burned/ransacked/all-you-can-imagine-it-is-possible/etc…

So we thought long who could be the right person to guard our home, and of course live there.

That spring one man came to FreeCuvry, he walked barefoot, drinking wine from crystal glass and courting beautiful girls. This man was Tommaso.

Tommaso is the most elegant man in FreeCuvry, his bohemian italian charm makes him a real latin lover. He visited us since he arrived in the camp and when he knew we had to move during the summer, he told us, “I will care about your house while you are not here”.

We were little bit in doubt, not because he is not a good person, he is honest and kind, but he has a special feature – like every character in FreeCuvry – that makes him totally unique: he collects every kind of stuff from the street.

You will think it’s not so special, just you should have seen his space in FreeCuvry. Every cm is full of stuff, and when I say “every-kind-of-stuff” I mean you can find a tomato over a toothbrush in a woman slip.

This was the only reason because we were not sure to leave him the house all the summer, but in the end he seemed the less-worst person, better finding your home full of stuff than not finding it at all.

And the summer went away.

When we came back to Cuvry Straße the house was still there…….just you needed time to find it under the mountain of things.

We needed more than one week to put all that stuff in Tommaso’s place and make the house free again, and you really can not image what we saw, the most weird combinations of things I have ever seen in my life, stuff everywhere, even under the soil!

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But our home is still there with just some little war wound.

Tommaso grazie.

Tommaso ありがとう.

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The first neighbor

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Today I want to speak about my favorite neighbor in FreeCuvry.

He is Adam.

In the beginning, just arrived in Cuvry, we started to build near the entrance of the river side, beside the long concrete wall and floor, rest of the basement of a previous building, but after three weeks of working some guys who make graffiti came and “very kindly” told us to build our house somewhere else because, if we had built there, they would have destroyed…so, without try to discuss with them (anyway it’s always useless talk with this kind of people), we have destroyed the structure we had built until then and we moved all our materials under the big chestnut tree, there we started to build our home, it’s there that it is still today, and it was there that we started our friendship with Adam.

He lived in one the houses in the center of the area, in the big Polish community. He has visited us since the beginning, watching us working everyday, seeing our house growing day by day. Every day, before going to work (collecting bottles around Berlin), he stopped by us just to say “good job” and asking for a cigaret. The majority of the time he was totally drunk…like the majority of the people who were living in FreeCuvry that time…
Little by little we noted a changing in him, he was drinking less and we were able to make with him more normal conversations. And when the winter was gone, in a day of April, he came to us with a tent and he told us he would have lived beside our house.

From that day he is our best neighbor. He built his wood house this autumn and, although sometime he is too drunk, he is one of the most honest men I’ve ever met. He asks us almost everyday for cigarettes and tobacco, but then he brings us something to eat, he cares and controls always our house, because FreeCuvry is a open area and everybody has to care about the safety.

For this Adam is the best neighbor you can have.

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