After seven years, the SUPERMARKT team is now moving out of its location at Mehringplatz. Our temporary lease was not extended because the housing association seeks to upgrade Mehringplatz after years of renovation work and plans to convert the retail spaces into high-end stores and boutiques. So, the typical course of events in Berlin, and not surprising for us at all.
For now, we are renting a temporarily office space at the former SmartDE premises until the end of the year, and it’s located at Mehringplatz as well. This gives us some more time to find a place that fits to our future plans.
Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, our relationship to physical space has changed fundamentally, as you can read quite well in this article by Ela Kagel for the Berliner Gazette. “March 12, 2020 was the day when we started to postpone all planned events to an unspecified date due to the pandemic. That was a crossing into unknown territory for us,” it says, for instance. In the following two years, events were almost exclusively possible in the digital space only. We haven’t done a single big event in SUPERMARKT since the spring of 2020. Even MoneyLab Berlin, an international, three-day conference, was organized entirely via livestream last year.
The “new” events that we started to organise via streaming platforms were not that new to us at first. We had been working like this for years: digital, decentralized, always in calls half of our time. What was completely new, however, was the fact that the physical space, the being together, no longer existed. And that did make a difference: Over almost a decade, the people who came to SUPERMARKT had developed a code of conduct, rules for how we wanted to be and work with each other in the space. When communities move exclusively to digital platforms, the question arises as to whether you can simply take these social protocols with you. Can we assume that everything you’ve worked out in real space also applies in digital media? It was an exciting process for us to develop standards for online communities. Joint events such as “Tools for Reimagining Better Worls Through Collaboration” with the School Of Machines, Making & Making-Believe helped a lot in finding common ground with others.
We realized relatively quickly that digital events naturally also change the geographical reach and, above all, the accessibility. Whereas before 2020 it was mainly people from Berlin who were guests at our events, SUPERMARKT now became accessible to a worldwide audience. This was particularly noticeable for us at the Commons Economies Exchange event series we held last year together with the Istituto Procomum in Brazil.
SUPERMARKT, its people and visions have changed as a result of the pandemic. The communities and organizations we work with have changed. Our way of using the phyical space has changed. Thus, the move out of the Mehringplatz location is not a drama for us, but rather an opportunity for a new beginning.
As much as we liked the “SUPERMARKT Nr.2” (many of you only know the first incarnation in Wedding): It is now time to find a new place that is better adapted to the current changes. We are looking for affordable space that we can design and build together with others. Where there is space for a small livestreaming studio. Rooms that can be heated more efficiently and ventilated well. These are all ideas and wishes that we are taking with us on our search for a new home. Until then, we will continue to be at Mehringplatz, in our temporary project office. We will keep you up to date on how things will progress!