Suffizient und Schön
Working at the Stechlin-Institut has sensitized us for our immediate surroundings, their history, and their inhabitants. This sparsely populated area and its people have been shaped strongly by industrialized agriculture. The more recent dismantling of relevant infrastructure has left wounds on people’s conceptions of themselves, wounds relating to the labour market, which up to now have hardly been addressed. Both, the resilience of soil and of people are damaged, and their competence for sustainability has been pushed into the private sphere where vegetables are still farmed sustainably, repair is practiced, and where „upcycling“ has remained a common practice by pure economical necessity.
On the other hand we also experience city dwellers who come to the Stechlin-Institut longing for the pastorally intact. They feel the need to avoid the pressure of urban spatial consolidation. But more fundamentally, here they look for ways out of the complete capitalization of life searching for possibilities of greater self-determination, freedom, and a sense of coherence in a unified whole.
What we want
We want to work together to make the Stechlin-Institut into place that is both, a biodiverse niche and a crystallization point of resistance. A field laboratory for digital and analogue hacks. Inside it will have a functional wood heating. Outside it practices permaculture. And we want to arrive and depart with an elegant mobility solution. We want to test communal work models. We want all this in order to write the immediate and the far future together.
The Stechlin-Institut is conceived to grow within the limitations of planetary sustainability. We understand enlightenment and modernity as a chance for sustainability. And, accordingly, we defend ourselves against attempts to monopolize the rural sphere by the likes of Nazi ideologies or business interests. We are not looking for an idyllic place, but we want to realize lasting economical life as social practice. We want soil revitalization and resource productivity and social participation instead of exploitation. We want to understand digitization culturally, using it as an opportunity to create a place where the quality of life is based on appreciation instead of value. We want to educate each other. We want to understand this place and see clearly what we are capable of doing in the current situation with our scarce means. For this place to be social, eco-sufficient, and beautiful.
A hybrid space is emerging. Between city and countryside. It isn’t only formed spatially by new conceptions of mobility and work, but also in terms of content as an option for another kind of life with sufficiency. It is high time to fill this hybrid space with civic content oriented towards coming up with sustainable and resilient solutions for urgent problems and to also put them into exemplary practice.
With the project LandÜber we aim at exploring the potentials of socio-ecological transformations in the rural sphere in relation to the metropolis, because the renewed densification of cities, the dwindling of undetermined kinds of space, and the economizing of public space leave the countryside in specific as a projection screen for the future.
With a team of fifteen people, we will approach ideas of sustainability of life, work, mobility, and health in this hybrid space during the course of 2019 and 2020. Our conceptions do not differentiate between rural and urban as much as they connect the potentials of both „worlds“, driven by the common good instead of profit. The project is sustainably social and ecological in its constitution. All workshops are directed at the cross sections of digitization, inclusion, the dialogue between city and countryside, and the democratic state of the rural surroundings. Their practical implementation will focus on collaborations with our local partner organizations.
LandÜber works for system innovations for sustainable development in the countryside in order to establish the social and cultural dimension more fully in the ecological discourse. Attempting to transfer highly dynamic transformation processes happening in the capital city into our region, the Stechlin-Institut takes the shape of a field lab to function as a hinge between the city and the countryside. We connect people from both contexts in this one-year long endeavour. At the end of the process lies a strategy for the future.
LandÜber Real-World Laboratories
The Stechlin-Institut – situated in the forest, 80km from Berlin – activates the social potential of artistic thinking. The Stechlin-Institut enables experiences in which curiosity, eco-sufficiency and society converge, in order to encourage participation with diverse perspectives.
Since 2015, the Stechlin-Institut has offered a place to non-proft organizations to focus on their work and simulataneously becom epart of a social organism. Up to date more than 70 NGOs and a variety of artists have made use of the offer. Starting 2020 with the Sustainability Experience Program, we want to open up the place to for-profit organizations as well.
We aim to invite companies also working or wanting to work on sustainability goals. For a stay of one or two days they experience our approach to eco-sufficiency directly and practically. Our artistic perspective poses the framework for new experiences, to trigger a reconsideration of the purpose of business, and to initiate an individual mindshift for a sustainable future. In the process we explore the following questions: how can we create lasting sustainable and resilient structures in the company? How can the company be guided safely through these disruptive times? What happens once growth is not the only measure of success? Which qualities are essential for the future? And if working hours increasingly become understood as living time, if numeric value added turns into values of appreciation, how do we adjust our compass?
Approach: the Sustainability Experience Program
We do not have THE solution, but we do have a very contemporary approach: through the methodology of artistic thinking, the process of transformation that lies ahead of us can be made comprehensible. Complex changes ask for a number of knowledges whose perspectives need to be combined creatively. The great transformation requires new narratives and experiments.
The Stechlin-Institut is an experiment of this kind. Awarded through various funders of sustainable development, among others the council for sustainable development of the federal government of Germany, this experiment lives through our artistic perspective. Every aspect comes from creative drive. On the way to a sufficient but also beautiful future. At the Stechlin-Institut we mediate the experience that reduction doesn’t have to be felt as a loss but that sufficiency can be a quality.
When everyone speaks of disruption, we highlight our capacity for chaotic circumstances which we have been training to qualify for many years and the skill of artists to switch perspecives. We make them available for the teams of companies through the experience on site at the Stechlin-Institut.
During the pilot phase, this program will be limited to ten participating companies in total. Through a subsidy of the ESF, the program can be booked at a reduced price. More information can be obtained at email@example.com.