In first part of the work Nachbarn auf Zeit (Temporary Neighbours) a herd of 200 sheep make their way from the Siegessäule to Hansaplatz. In spring or early autumn the sheep will be herded by Knut Kucznik, one of the last migratory shepherds in Brandenburg, into the Tiergarten and then on to the Hansaviertel. Five of the sheep will then remain in the Hansaviertel for a month – as well as ca. 400 kg of raw wool shorn from the 200 sheep. A repurposed shipping container will be positioned near the library and used as a stall. It will also function as a storeroom for the raw and processed wool. Five local families have already volunteered to take care of the sheep. The sheep will be taken out to graze every morning and taken back into the stall in the evening. The 105 cm high mobile electric fence can be moved from one green area to the next as the sheep graze.
The Hansaviertel was built for the International Building Exhibition (IBA) in 1957 as “The City of Tomorrow” and is considered to be a classic example of modernist architecture and city planning. The original concept of shared spaces and public green areas, however, has not been adhered to. The present day has caught up with the city of tomorrow. Residents barely use the social green areas that were so integral to the IBA. Its proximity to the Tiergarten makes the Hansaplatz particularly popular among marginalized segments of society. The Hansaplatz has become a potential conflict zone and serves primarily as a transitional space, despite its outstanding qualities as a place for relaxation.
The sheep plays an important role in human history. It was the first animal to be domesticated and provides milk, meat and wool. Particularly in the global South the sheep represents self-sufficiency, wealth and old-age provision. In a religious context it is a symbol of peace. The presence of sheep has a calming effect on people.
Raw wool shorn from 200 sheep will be piled high in front of the library on Hansaplatz on the day the animals arrive. The archaic image of wool contrasts starkly with the modernist city of tomorrow and is an invitation to all segments of the population to come together to process the wool. As a material, wool insulates, filters acoustically, smells nice, lubricates, heals, warms and has therapeutic uses. This information will be shared during the “public processing” of the wool; several people have already expressed interest in participating. The aim is to make felt blankets inspired by the production of yurts. The work is communal work and will be carried out next to the library. The process, however, is more important here than the final product. All those involved in making the felt blankets will have a say in what happens to them.