Matthias Schamp



The original idea → 'Partly Flooded Gropiusstadt' will not be realised due to public sensitivity following the tsunami catastrophe in Asia.



Matthias Schamp

Matthias Schamp
(born in 1964)
lives in Bochum
Botanical Nature Trail of Karl-Marx-Strasse

With its multi-cultural air, Karl-Marx-Strasse is one of three main traffic veins in Berlin's Neukölln area. One would think that in such a distinctly urban environment - with the functional density characteristic of modern city life - that nature is nothing but a peripheral phenomenon. But it is worth looking closer, and when one does it is astonishing what complexity instantly confronts those who focus in on the detail. There are not only roadside trees and grass verges to explore, but weeds push their way through gaps and cracks, and lichens grow over brick walls. Potted plants sit around on window sills, while exotic types of fruit and vegetable display themselves in splendid configurations in front of green grocers.

A botanical nature trail of Karl-Marx-Strasse would have a shifting meaning due to its botanical, social and artistic dimensions.

The basis for the nature trail is an "expanded botany-principle". This includes keeping a constant check on the social implications of the given phenomena - including plastic flowers, camouflage clothing, botanical ornaments welded onto window grilles, floral fabric, or a dangling salad leaf on a burger sign.

The starting point for the botanical nature trail would be a shop open for approximately four weeks. This would fall in line with the league of unusual shops on Karl-Marx-Strasse. There, one stares through the window as if into the colourful magic world of an aquarium or a snow dome, and an alien feeling jumps into one's face. Unlike the general practice of shopkeepers, the purpose of the shop will not be too obvious despite professional window stickers and decorative potted weeds. This space will be an information office, base camp, laboratory, meeting point, workshop and shop, all in one. At this point the results of the research will be gathered and made public. For instance photographs and interviews will be displayed, and herb samples hung up to dry. This will also be the starting-point for excursions and where interventions in the public space will be planned. An information leaflet would also be made available, so that one could inspect the nature trail autonomously. Here experiments will also be carried out, and the "Be your own Karl-Marx-Strasse"-ointment blended.

The final results of the project will be presented in a brochure, which will serve as a guide after the duration of the project. After all, a botanical nature trail of Karl-Marx-Strasse does not only lead through the urban jungle of Neukölln, but is also a trail of thought. One walks it with one's consciousness.



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