About

Du bist am Zug is based on our vision of public space as a site of participation, individual expression, and creativity. We believe that public spaces are too much defined by city planners, property owners and consumption. Therefore, in April 2022, we started an experiment: “What would happen if people decide themselves, what they would like to see on public surfaces?” We accepted thereby each contribution – whether textual or visual – as long as it did not violate existing laws.

The submitted contributions will hang in Berlin on 1500 City Light Posters of Wall GmbH from July 26 until the end of August 2022. We do not know the exact locations, and count on the help of Berliners. If you are looking for your poster, follow us on the Social Media; if you find one of our posters in the city, please share it on Instagram, Facebook or/and Twitter with the location and the hashtag #dubistamzug so that others can find it, too!

The first part of our experiment is now complete. It confirmed our assumption that many people wish to share something personal with the public. The variety and quality of the contributions (to be seen in the gallery) is impressive. We already started to categorize the content to get an overview of what the central topics are. You can read more about that on the main page.

The second part of the project will collect the reactions to the contributions and to the project itself. We want to know what you think about the idea of Du bist am Zug! Should it happen again? Should the possibility of shaping the public space in this way maybe exist all the time? In many cities? Why? What did this action bring to the participants and the city? What can we change, what went well? Please use our contact form to share your thoughts!

Who we are

We are a research team that works with questions of citizen participation in urban public space. We strive to make the shared urban spaces as inclusive as possible. Our specific aspiration is to enable city residents to emblazon their city with their individual contributions, making the shared urban space more inclusive, colorful and multi-voiced.

Katya Assaf
Law Professor

Katya Assaf is a law professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Her current research focuses on politics behind the aesthetic design of urban spaces.

Tim Schnetgöke
Photographer

Tim Schnetgöke studied photography at the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. Tim is especially interested in non-commissioned art in public space.

Max Mundhenke
Communications Consultant
Max Mundhenke is a communications consultant and designs digital campaigns for business and culture clients. The former media studies student (University of Bielefeld) and book author is better known on social media under his pseudonym Tom Kraftwerk and was involved, among other things, in the internationally successful city marketing campaign of the city of Bielefeld (#Bielefeldmillion). He is the strategy advisor of the project.
Stefanie Menschner
Author, Copywriter and Poetry Slammer

Stefanie Menschner is an author, copywriter and poetry slammer. She majored in art history and cultural studies at FSU Jena (M.A.) and afterwards she worked as a freelance actress. With her cultural background, love for art, words and textual know-how she takes care of the content creation for #dubistamzug.

This project is a part of scientific research conducted at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Our goal is to discover what kind of contributions people might like to share if given the opportunity to express themselves in visible public spaces, and what kind of reactions these expressions might trigger. Our aspiration is advocating a legal right of city residents to shape and re-shape urban landscapes by adding their expressions into the shared visual environment. The results of Du bist am Zug will be used to evaluate the plausibility of such a right and outline the possible difficulties it may cause.

Du bist am Zug has been made possible due to the generous sponsorship of the Wall GmbH. Our cooperation partner for this project is the Berlin museum URBAN NATION.

What is freedom of expression?

In theory, all people have an equal right to the free expression. Yet, in practice, only a few individuals have the opportunity to express themselves publicly in a way that reaches an audience. The access to mass media is strongly associated with political and economic power. On the social media, one’s messages mostly reach one’s acquaintances and like-minded people. Museums and galleries exhibit only works of famous artists. Urban public spaces, where we all spend our time daily, offer the best opportunities to express oneself and to be heard. Yet, today these spaces are dominated by advertising, political messages, and commissioned art. An individual’s right to free speech thus remains a theoretical ideal. Du bist am Zug aspires to change this picture, offering every city resident a stage – a real chance to express him- or herself freely in urban public space. At the same time, the project gives all people in Berlin the opportunity to learn what their fellow residents wish to share with them. We hope that our project will start a new kind of social discourse – a genuinely inclusive and egalitarian exchange, free from commercial or political interests. We are thrilled to discover the how people in Berlin will react to posters of their fellow residents.

Who owns public spaces?

Theoretically, we all do, but what does this mean? Practically, this means that we all can access public spaces: we constantly use these spaces on our way to work, to meet friends, to shop or otherwise spend our time. We can admire a statue placed in a public part or ask ourselves what a piece of modern art placed on a plaza actually means.

We all play the passive role of consumers of our own city – we can use the city to commute, to shop, to work, but we cannot change or add anything to the public space we all theoretically own. While advertising and graffiti struggle over our attention, most city residents remain invisible.

Now imagine another city – a city whose public spaces carry messages of its residents, whose landscapes are created and recreated as an ever-changing collage of multiple voices. In this city, public spaces are genuinely public – visit them, and you’ll encounter the worlds of people who live in the city; leave your own contribution, and others will learn something about you, too.

Du bist am Zug is a first step in the direction of this imaginary city. It allows some space for free expression and creativity. Through this first experiment, we hope to demonstrate that public spaces may become interesting, colorful, funny, thought-provoking and touching if people are given the chance to design them with their expressions.
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