The city as seen through the eyes of an investor
Meetng with the Munich based Italian Arturo Prisco (one of the main
investors at the inner city / historical center of Dresden)
The next morning we
visit the cloth merchant Arturo Prisco. Mr Prisco interests us because
he is one of a number of investors redesigning a block of empty
lots in the historical centre. The building he and his friends are
planning will include a 5 star hotel. 5 star hotels seem to be en
vogue these days. As a cloth merchant, says Mr Prisco, he is especially
responsible within his group of investors for the hotel's interior
design and for art. "I come from the luxury sector", he
says. The shopping mall in his building will have something for
everyone: downstairs typical local products for backpackers, like
cakes, gingerbread and wooden toys, upstairs there'll be elegance.
While his interpreter translates he organises chairs so we are
all comfortable. He is wearing soft beige trousers. He jokes, "I'll
just go to the back and flirt a bit while I'm waiting." I approach
him at some stage: "I'd like to ask you something?", I
say. He replies "I'm already married." He calls himself
a communicator. He says he knows nothing.
Lunch is served in a moderate tourist trap between "Prisco's
Arcade" and the Golden Rider. I ask how the food was. "Normal"
say the Bulgarians. Was it typical of the region? "Normal"
Paths to capitalism
Jan Wenzel & Anne König (artists, Leipzig): For We Know
Not What We See
image18 from the presentation)
|Jan Wenzel and Anne König present
us with the way capitalism sounds. We are shown Augustusplatz in Leipzig,
once scene of the protests of 1989 and one of modernism's wide empty
spaces, now beautified and made consumer friendly, a place where spontaneous
protest is no longer possible. Then I remember the quote from Klaus
Dieter Brinkmann: „The fences, posters and prohibition notices
carry on. The inner cities carry on. The suburbs carry on."
|and Svetla Kazalarska
(cultural scholar, Sofia / Rave fellow, Dresden):
A WYSIWYG - (whatyouseeis-whatyouget)-City: The Case of Sofia?
Svetla Kazalarska then
gives us an insight into the discussion about new uses for the Georgi
Dimitrow mausoleum in Sofia. Because I live on a street in Berlin
once named after Dimitrow, I feel a personal affinity to him. In
1991 when the communist station names on East Berlin's underground
were supposed to be replaced, the borough of Prenzlauer Berg refused
to rename the Dimitroff street and station Danziger Str. A compromise
was made and the station given the harmless name of Eberswalder
Strasse, which it still carries today. As for the mausoleum, it
seemed to offer perfect temperatures for a physics lab or a cheese
dairy. In the end it was demolished. The demolition was laborious.The
mausoleum had been built to withstand nuclear bombings. It is now
a popular venue for beer festivals. In Berlin, Dimitroffstrasse
is now called Danziger Strasse.
Paths to Capitalism
Prof. Dr. Rudi Schmidt (Institute of Sociology, Jena):
Capitalism on the Periphery –
The Case of Eastern Germany
Prof. Dr. Ivaylo Ditchev (cultural theory and history, European
studies, University of
Sofia / University of Paris-Nanterre): Primitive accumulation
moderated by Iara Boubnova (artist director Visual Seminar, Sofia)
Next on is Rudi Schmidt
from Jena. We learn how to differentiate between peripheral and
central capitalism. Professor Schmidt describes the past 15 years
in East Germany as double modernisation and complains about the
"fear, opportunism and cowardice" behind the constant
application of West German institutional models in East Germany:
"The conservative government was - well - conservative."
He adds, "West Germany has just as many sharks. It's been stripped
bare too" and "excellence is not egalitarian". He
demands "anti-defeatist politics". Rudi Schmidt and Andreas
Siekmann start to argue and, from now on, are often seen together.
Andreas is a will o' the wisp, says Mr. Schmidt.
Ivaylo Ditchev begins his lecture with "In my experience,
it is easier to talk than to listen". I remember that he said
it is wrong to believe that under the socialist regime, public space
was public. He believes physical space marks "boundaries for
capitalism" and says of Bulgaria that "Space has been
distributed. Now capitalism can begin."
We spend late evening on the terrace at Lingner Castle and enjoy
our glamourous lifestyle.
|10 p.m.: Barbecue