With the Floating University, a sleeping beauty was awoken from its 50-year long sleep.
Even though a hundred gardeners took care of the brambles, the public did not yet know this paradise of concrete and mud. In April, an »offshore campus for cities in transformation« was opened. A university that adds a vital building block to existing, eponymous institutions: a laboratory in the real world.
On September 8 and 9, we invite everyone who has joined and considered the Floating University over the last five months to collectively imagine the future of the basin and to invent one for the Floating University.
Some thoughts on the development of the site as well as the continuation of the Floating University as a learning format already exist…
Since the rainwater retention basin was transferred together with the grounds of the airport to the city of Berlin, there have been plans to transform it. But the brambles around the Tempelhofer Feld were too dense. Despite all efforts, the basin has survived until today. A planned development was defeated by the Tempelhof law (THF-Gesetz) which interdicts any construction on the field, including an alternative wa- ter surface that would have replaced the public infrastructure of the rainwater retention basin. As a result, the planning of a much-needed sports area also failed, although currently still included in the land-use plan. Recently, there are even architects who suggest to cover the pool in order to gain land for the construction of urgently needed living space.
We expect to discover some of the city’s other urgent needs as part of the Floating Symposium. For example, areas for schools, environ- mental education and out-of-school learning venues, places where much-needed resources are being made available (such as water, knowledge and thinking spaces), or necessary spaces where artists can work, animals live and one’s soul opens.
How can we keep alive a place whose captivating charm offers indisputable potential for many future fantasies?
At the Floating Symposium we will gather these potentials and collect suggestions as to how an extended use of the rainwater retention basin – a longer opening for all – could look like.
The Floating University
The offshore institution, which builds upon the combined knowledge of 25 universities as a starting point for urban analysis, has become a meeting place and a laboratory for new strategies for action, within and against the transformation processes of the city. Over the course of the semester, the Floating University started a close symbiotic relationship with the rainwater retention basin, both taking and improving local resources. We will hopefully leave the place with visions for its future. And even more: we hope that the university will continue to float, to seek and find interesting places elsewhere and link a growing com- munity of urban practitioners.
The Floating University is not only a unique institution in a unique place, able to inspire thinking about new forms of collaboration, it also bears the responsibility of how to act for the future: Does it make sense to keep the institution in the place for another while to accompany the ongoing transformation processes
Collaborative work on places and about subjects beyond the frame of a discipline is suddenly easier at the Floating University. Why is this and how can we, in the hope for a transdisciplinary future, promote this development? Our search for new strategies of acquaintance, for the lexicon of a new common language and methods of cross-pollination is still in its infancy.
At the Floating Symposium we want to find out together what is missing. How can cooperations continue and become more intensive? How can we reach other areas of knowledge that can enrich our work on urban practice? What organizational and financial models could keep the Floating University alive?
The two days are structured in 45-minute working sessions. The sessions include workshops, table talks or walks, as well as more experimental formats such as »Deep Listening« and »Karaoke Contest«.
The sessions are visually documented and the results are published immediately. There are no classical lectures or panel discussions. During the breaks, there is time for informal exchanges between working groups over a drink and snacks. At the end of each day a performative discussion sums up the achievements of the working groups.
Some Floating Professors of the past Open Weeks, students and supporters will offer thematic working groups. In principle, however, every participant can create and lead a working group. Whether the working group takes place depends on the interest of the participants.
Would you like to attend the Floating Symposium and / or offer a working group? Then write to firstname.lastname@example.org
We are happy about each participant, who can be present on both days. As the number of participants is limited, we ask for registrations. 2–day ticket, including food: 20 € / 12€
The Floating Symposium will be held in cooperation with the ZKR – Center for Art and Public Space and the Hans Sauer Foundation.
September 8 – 9, 11 am – 8 pm