Take what you need—give what you can

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Arts of the Working Class, Utopia is not a Promise but a Joint Venture

Arts of the Working Class on distribution

Berlin’s cultural landscape thrives on wealth that has yet to be adequately redistributed. Affordable living space and studios, fair employee wages, equitable living conditions for freelancers, access to funding and subsidies—all of this is more available here than it is in other cities. Yet that same list is likely to illicit some disbelief as well. »How can they write such a thing; opportunities are only dwindling!« some might howl. Others could retort, »Those spoiled Berliners! What can you expect from a city full of artists!«

›Arts of the Working Class‹ (AWC), a multilingual street newspaper addressing poverty and wealth, art and society, exposes precisely these kinds of tensions and conflicts and makes the socio-political conditions visible. Take the current issue, for example, where an advertisement for Jeremy Shaw’s exhibition at the Julia Stoschek Collection shares a broadside with the City of Berlin’s tourism campaign; another features adverts for both the Paris Bar and Berliner Obdachlosenhilfe e.V., a local homeless aid organisation; while yet another has an advertisement placed by the Austrian Chamber of Labour along with an editorial by the newspaper’s publishers on ›Eurothanasia‹, the concept that gives the issue its title. Ira Koyhunkova and the artists’ collective HEKLER navigate the post-Soviet context as guest editors of the issue, while Jonas von Lenthe presents his collection of rejected flag sketches for the European Union. Matylda Krzykowski writes about curator Matt Fenton and how he stopped making decisions solely within his own cultural bubble. And Simon Fujiwara draws the Pink Panther in charcoal (i.e. with burnt trees) over collages of news images from the first phase of the coronavirus pandemic.

›Arts of the Working Class‹ tries not only to redistribute the attention that celebrities from the arts and other worlds enjoy, but also to help those in need. The street paper is also financed purely through advertisements—meaning its vendors on the street can keep 100% of the proceeds. Advertising rates vary according to the resources of the advertising galleries, cultural institutions, and companies. We offer partnerships to those who do not have the necessary funds. As publishers, we see our newspaper as an opportunity to give as many as possible the chance to take what they need and give what they can. Of course, such (re)distribution only works with the best possible transparency, openness on the part of those looking for equity, and help from those who can afford to give it.

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