Landhandel Bodenfrage [landgrabbing landownership]

barbara caveng Landhandel Bodenfrage © Simon Annand | 2018 UM-festival

A small magazine for “agricultural trade” in Gerswalde/ Uckermark, whose owner handed over her business to a successor in November 2018 after 22 years, was the catalyst for the intervention. The last original GDR products disappeared from the shelves, which still had witnessed to a country that was “negotiated” after the wall came down.

Landhandel Gerswalde©caveng
magazin for agricultural products at Gerswalde

The global land trade, the so-called ‘land grabbing’ or ‘large-scale land acquisitions’ raises the ‘soil question’: The failed utopia of socialist land reform, which wanted ground to be understood as common property, led to reprivatisation after the fall of the wall. As a result many residents left their country and sought for ground and soil elsewhere. To this day, not only tired urbanites and dandies feel hungry for the Arcadian landscape of Uckermark, the former fat and rich soil became victim of ‘land grabbing’. The earth is exhausted by extensive monoculture.
The bus stop in Fergitz still testifies to the lively past when people could reach their local destinations by bus: work, school, the store, friends….
Today, the bus stop is an unintended memorial to structural economic and ecological change with its well-known characteristics: emigration of the young, aging of those left behind, the sale of the land, unemployment, ….
The intervention ‘Landhandel Bodenfrage’ turned the bus stop into a place to linger and communicate over the weekend of the contemprorary art festival and invited residents and guests for a cup of Club Cola and a shovel of earth to grapple with social utopias.

Impressions of the intervention at the busstop at Fergitz | UM-Festival für contemporary art and music 2018 | Uckermark