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Sébastien Van Malleghem | The Last Shelter

The Last Shelter. Berlin, (2012 -2013)
Berlin is considered like one the hippest cities of Europe. It is renowned for its trendy nightlife, its underground sub culture, and its inexpensive bohemian way of life… I got lost in its streets, and I was emotionally touched by certain faces—those of people living out of the system.
People live in abandoned buildings and in the wasteland around the capital. I got to know the junkies that I met in the subway stations, the street artists, travelers and squatters. They choose to live freely. Many of them don’t receive help from the government, and they don’t pay rent. Often they don’t have access to electricity. Some left their homes because of “personal problems.” Others are drug addicts, drifters, or people just fed up with the system. This unlikely lifestyle is happening in the center of Europe, under everyone’s eyes. I started this project in October and November 2012 with a two-month artistic residency. I continued working on it in January 2013 with my own funds.

Berlin is steadily closing off all of the buildings (like the Tachelese or Kopi) and the land used as shelters by these people. Some are being sold off to foreign companies. As their space disappears, the texture of the city is changing, and it risks loosing its edgy urban culture. Berlin is one of the last places where this kind of population is able to survive. But now, they are being evicted.

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