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Brooklyn Street Art

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Various & Gould Mask a Living Tree with Death

Posted on September 25, 2012

“What becomes of Berlin, if the various subcultures won’t find enough central places to develop anymore?”

That’s a question from Street Artists Various and Gould about their city, but of course it’s relevant in many.

Various & Gould. “Duali Tree” (photo © Just)

The artists who bring the creative tree of life to a dead neighborhood are often victims of the people whose primary interest is to capitalize on it; the money handlers and opportunists effectively killing the very thing that attracted life in the first place. By way of metaphor, Various and Gould mounted their personal installation on a tree in Görlitzer Park, Berlin to raise the question and continue the conversation that cultural observers have about the role of subcultures in greater society. Is there a social contract that exists which supports the subculture and values it’s contribution – and if we value it, should we make any effort to sustain it?

“Trees are symbols of vitality and growth. They supply oxygen and give shape to their surroundings. With our installation “DualiTree” we’d like to bring up the inseparable bond of life and death,” said Various as the two commented on the installation.  The pretty simple public project uses sailcloth, flexible tent poles, cardboard, loops, rope, and acrylic paint to project the face of death onto a living tree. The installation is in reaction to the various hotspots for subculture in Berlin that are now closing as more commercial interests have driven the prices of rent up in areas of the city where the average person would not have walked at night before these scenes evolved.

Various & Gould. “Duali Tree” (photo © Just)

Two days before their installation Berlin artist’s squat Tacheles was cleared after 22 years, which many say was THE symbol for the creative potential of Berlin (and a top tourist attraction. Similarly spaces like the community-garden project Prinzessinnengarten  (German for princesses-garden) is at risk and started a petition, and the 300 square foot Neurotitan art space is on a very insecure rental ground – even though it has hosted up to 12 shows a year and given opportunities to Street Artists like the young Brooklyn Street Art collective Faile in 2003  and the Just Seeds collective in 2012.  It is without question that vital spaces like these, which provide fertile soil for alternative culture -  urban art, comic art, illustration, painting, performances, book presentations, small concerts, and collaborations, are crucial engines to the greater creative economy.

Various & Gould. “Duali Tree” (photo © Just)

As they look at the new Duali tree today, still standing after two weeks, Gould re-iterates, “The alternative scene is an essential part of what makes Berlin so special and brings it’s veins to pulse.”

Various & Gould. “Duali Tree” (photo © Just)

Various & Gould. “Duali Tree” (photo © Various & Gould)

Various & Gould. “Duali Tree” (photo © Just)

Various & Gould. “Duali Tree” (photo © Just)

Various & Gould. “Duali Tree” (photo © Just)

Various & Gould. “Duali Tree” (photo © Various & Gould)

Noting the collaborative nature of this particular creative venture, V&G thanks the people who helped in their installation: Just, Frank, Lars, Robert, Julien, Stev, and Jonas.

To see more JUST photographs click here.