Sonya Schönberger

Die Hansaplatz-Protokolle

The Hansaplatz-Protokolle (the Hansaplatz records) are a series of recorded conversations that engage deeply with the everyday realities and lives of the people who live near or use the Hansaplatz. The 25-50 interviews will be conducted as of February 2019 and will form the basis of a publication (names withheld) that will be presented at the Hansa Library and added to its book collection. Readings followed by moderated discussions will also be held at the Hansaplatz for the duration of project from September to November,

The conversations are being held against the background of growing social and spatial segregation in German cities, expedited by the growing precariousness of working and living conditions. The question of how to divide up social space is becoming increasingly critical. The Hansaplatz will be taken as a microcosm of this development for the purposes of the project.

The diverse mix of realities at Hansaplatz gives rise to tensions: Hansaviertel residents as either home owners or tenants, people from neighbouring districts, employees in the shops on the square, homeless people, junkies, tourists and theatregoers all use the square together or alongside one another. The people who spend their lives in this very particular place in the cityscape tell their life stories, talk about what is happening in their lives now and the issues that occupy them daily. Interviewees will be selected with the help of the local citizens association and library as well as by spending time in the area and communicating with people directly. Preferred locations for the readings are the kiosk, the flower shop, the shisha bar, the Hansa Library, the church and the open space of Hansaplatz itself. As narrative and place merge a multifaceted image of the disparate realities is revealed.

The square is a particularly connective element within the “green city of the future” – as the Hansaviertel was described in 1957. A social place is always coloured by the stories of those who use it. In this context it is an important sign for the residents and users of the Hansaplatz that their opinions are being collected and (re)presented. The conversations will give rise to a multi-perspectival image of the Hansaplatz in which those talking about their lives are taken seriously as experts of their own realities.