In the middle of Berlin, as the wall felt down, many empty buildings and wastelands along its former path were squatted. People with trucks and trailers arrived to settle down and live, eventually quite permanently, in their mobile homes. They set the space arranging it and its flexible structure to the changing needs of the inhabitants.
Relating with urban and natural, experimenting with political and social aspects, they oppose to gentrification processes involving Kreuzberg neighborhood. The community living in these informal settlements (called wagenplatz in German) claim the possibility and the will to live in public space, questioning the issue of inhabiting as usually considered. A community such as a “fallen apartment building”, as someone taking part in the projects said: fallen and transformed. Sort of islands between generic buildings.
The first time I came across a Wagenplatz, in Kreuzberg, it appeared to me as something quite surreal in the middle of the city: it was emerging in front of my eyes from between trees and plants, as a strange garden with strange architectures. Then, I got inside and little by little I got to know the place, the people living there, and the reasons of their choice.
Most of these pictures were taken in November 2012 in Wagenplatz Lohmühle, during an artist’s residency in GlogauAIR Berlin.
Francesca Cirilli (Viareggio, Italy, 1982) held a BA in Photography at IED-Torino and graduated in Contemporary History at Pisa University. She actually lives in Turin, where she joins her personal researches with the professional activity as freelance photographer for cultural and artistic events, portraits and architecture.
She also works as cinematographer for documentary film and video projects. Founder of the cultural association Fluxlab –integrated arts laboratory in Turin, she curates photography courses and projects; since January 2016 she is co-curator of JEST– space for photographic culture, a project promoting exhibitions, education and events around contemporary photography. (jestfotografia.net).
Her researches focus on landscape, on the organization and use of spaces and socio-economical and environmental issues. The issue of inhabiting and the relation between people and places are recurring themes in her work.