(c) Elisa Georgi, 2022

Raising awareness and mobilizing to increase urban climate resilience through artistic interventions (reallabor)

2023 - 2025

The Center for Art and Urbanistics (ZK/U) in the former Moabit freight station is surrounded by a public park. Stadtgarten Moabit and ZK/U are a cross-generational cultural and action space, directly affected by the consequences of climate change. Long droughts, extreme heat and heavy rain events have a negative impact on the flora and fauna of the public spaces and lead to restrictions on art activities on and in the building. The upcoming expansion of ZK/U will be accompanied by the creation of new workshop spaces, as well as the creation of an urban stage on the roof terrace that will be visible from afar. As part of this further development, ZK/U would like to address its own climate impact through concrete, artistic interventions and prototypes, actively involve the users of the park and the building in the development and implementation, and sensitise them to the current and future challenges through a course of artistic prototypes for adaptation to climate change, test mobilising proposals for action, document them in a low-threshold manner and make them accessible to a broad public. 

In cooperation with  Berlin Senate for Culture, a neighbourhood partner, StadtManufaktur Berlin (Reallaborzentrum of the TU Berlin), the civic science project Hiveeyes and various local and national partners, artistic prototypes are being created for the concrete adaptation of ZK/U to extreme heat, drought and heavy rain: a tree becomes a symbol for innovative building cooling, self-constructed sensor sets created by media artists allow trees and bees to communicate about their condition and demand care by citizens. Sculptural water reservoirs raise awareness of drought, useful plants cool the building and nourish the building users, a continuous communication programme with performances, workshops, conferences, podcasts, an artistic ideas competition and a course of action promote a mutual exchange of knowledge between citizens and science. More information on the various actions can be found below.

The overall project aims to demonstrate model, cooperative and sustainable climate adaptation measures and to test their transferability to other existing institutions. The artistic works stimulate a critical debate and create awareness for upcoming challenges. The project communicates that the development of a citizen-centered climate adaptation competence leads to greater acceptance and active participation in the implementation of measures, in addition to socially positive effects. In cooperation with StadtManufaktur Berlin, the real-lab center of TU Berlin, parts of the concept are to be made regionally and internationally visible and available as transferable transformation knowledge. At the same time, the project sees itself as a laboratory and stage for artists working in the fields of 'climate justice', 'relational aesthetics' and 'public art'. The project benefits from the findings of the Klimakunstlabor 2021 and Klimakunstlabor 2022 at BauSchilderung and in the Moabiter Stadtgarten.

More information on BMUV and lead partner

Kunst am Baum (Art on the tree)

On the new roof terrace that is being built, a tree as a cooling sculpture will become a symbol for climate adaptation. It can be viewed by 200,000 people every day from the nearby Ringbahn line (regional and long-distance traffic).

Tree Aware

Tree Aware promotes interaction between trees and humans and provides an incentive for park visitors and ZK/U guests to sustainably care for urban nature. For this purpose, various trees are equipped with a sensor system (measuring soil and leaf moisture), which translates the current needs of the trees into creative short messages via AI (auditory and in text form via social media, app and ZK/U website). The plants thus enter into direct communication and transform the necessary adaptation measure into a playful, social interaction.

Green Curtain

To reduce solar radiation and heating of the interior spaces of the new floor of ZK/U, vertical, semi-autonomous and mobile plant modules will be installed on the south side of the building. The aim is to develop a prototype that meets the requirements of an effective mobile system and to conduct an accompanying investigation of the effects of such an innovative shading strategy from an ecological and economic point of view. The climbing plants (beans, hops, vines) will be harvested and processed at the end of summer.

Rainwater Sculpture

With the help of a prototypical art installation on the roof of ZK/U, also being a rainwater laboratory, we draw attention to the topic of sustainable rainwater management. At public events, experts, scientists, local companies and the local administration discuss the possibilities of an expanded rainwater management in the neighborhood.

Course of Action

The various sub-projects are combined in a visual-communicative course of action with interactive stations, which is intended to enable people to act and think in a climate-sensitive manner. It is a learning and experimentation platform offering incentives for reflection, awareness-building around the topic of climate change impacts and reciprocal learning. The conception and implementation is done in cooperation with the Natural Science and Cultural Education Network Moabit and the TU Berlin.

Funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) based on a resolution of the German Bundestag.