THINKING

LAUGH AND DO STORIES

“Dare to err and to dream. Deep meaning is often found in childish play.”

Friedrich Schiller

“Wiesbaden ties itself in knots”

Lampposts, flowerpots, bollards or the benches at bus stops – in fall 2011 all of them were decorated with brightly colored, hand-knitted or hand-crocheted things. Street art in knitted form in keeping with the “urban knitting” movement often has a very political background, but sometimes is initiated simply to make cities more beautiful.

Hans Reitz introduced the colorful knitted graffiti to downtown Wiesbaden with the objective of making the downtown area more appealing and more open-hearted. The knitting was done in schools, senior citizens’ homes and in the perfect day café.


YY Street – creating a social fiction

“How are we going to change the world for the good if we can’t succeed in changing just one street?” With the vision of making Wiesbaden’s Friedrichstraße into a place that brings people together while also raising awareness about and combating problems, circ launched a series of projects to establish a place of peace and encounter. “YY” stands for, “What can I do for You and You?” and the “street” as a space to play in offered the chance for other provocative activities.

 

Wool, Guards, Ben Wilson’s Idea

How do you stop children and young people from simply spitting chewing gum onto the street? How do you create awareness about not simply carelessly throwing cigarette butts away or using underpasses as garbage dump sites? In addition to knitting art, circ took on responsibility for cleaning up areas along Friedrichstraße and for brightly painted chewing gum much like artist Ben Wilson had done in London.

Since spring 2012 this has been providing evidence of a committed and joyful call to action in the spirit of “YY Street.” Chewing gum which had been carelessly spit out became a tiny canvas and the knitted objects became bearers of Christmas greetings, expressions of thanks and uplifting messages. The urban artworks were watched over by “guards” – small, brightly colored figures placed on street signs, in doorways and at construction site.


YY 24 – We’re refugees on the run

If we became refugees tomorrow, where would we go?

Another art action, this time in Wiesbaden’s Faulbrunnenplatz in spring 2013, provided an opportunity not only to thinking about “fleeing” but also to find a place of refuge. For 24 days two original UNHCR refugee tents, a portable toilet, café tables and chairs and a mobile catering truck provided sleeping and eating accommodation and an information center for all people in Wiesbaden – including homeless people who usually spend their time at the Faulbrunnenplatz city square.

Photos on the portable toilet drew attention to the poor hygienic conditions many people are faced with throughout the world – an not only at refugee camps. Visitors were invited to participate in adding artwork to a side wall facing the square. Discussions were held inside the refugee tents with schoolchildren.

At the end we were very moved by the experiences of the 24 days and nights: We could all become refugees – even by just escaping into work, alcohol or consumerism...