Berlin is the capital of Germany, the economic motor of Europe and a “land of opportunities”. The excellent quality of life and low cost of living tempt many young people to try their luck in the cosmopolitan capital. These tales of a bustling city that is less expensive than other European capitals hold attractive but empty promises. But the expectations of many of the young immigrants coming to Berlin are very different to the reality they experience on arrival. The growing immigration has lead to the saturation of the job market. In their search for employment and accommodation most young immigrants are forced to work several jobs to pay for rents that are rising exponentially. The worsening living conditions are affecting not only the recent arrivals, but also Berliners themselves.
These socioeconomic changes frame the project “At the beachfront”. This project ironically juxtaposes typical beach vacation scenes onto an urban setting, in response to the actual situation. Workers and students have small mounds of sand on which to enjoy their free time. They can relax until the sand is removed to fulfill its actual purpose in the construction or renovation of properties, which will continue to become more and more expensive. These photographs offer a model for an alternative appropriation of public spaces, fighting against the progressive deterioration of social conditions. We are using a language and typology that is characteristic for advertising, applying the same techniques that consumer society uses to seduce us. Our consumer society promises a well being which most young people cannot afford.
Text: Iván Cáceres Sánchez
Translation: Nadine Korek