This raft transmits culture to the Documenta.

Four rowers pull “citizenship” through the Havel. dpa / summer

This ship is striking: as the backdrop to the sequel to the Hollywood movie “Waterworld.” Only Kevin Costner is missing. Building the roof of a former warehouse converted into a moving catamaran weighing 18 tons. Solar collectors power the Citizenship’s electric motor, eight old bikes drive a screw, and rowing clubs along the road want to pull the construction, built in the shape of a trimaran. Up to 13 people on board also depend on help from shore for supplies. Twenty artist groups prepared for cultural encounters at 55 stations. Because Citizenship is leaving Berlin this evening at 6 pm to attend the “Documenta” art exhibition (18 June – 25 September) in Kassel.

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An inverted gable roof is almost a ship. Although cultural projects have been developed under the roof for many years, the construction and spirit are ripe for art. “Citizenship” at the Berlin Center for Arts and Statistics takes the idea on a 55-day journey across rivers and canals with cultural events from place to place to Kassel.

The roof of the Moabit warehouse was reconstructed for the raft

“The document revolves around topics that transcend classical art forms,” says Matthias Einhoff during a “citizenship” driving test in Berlin. The 50-year-old makes up the artist group KUNStrePUBLIK alongside Philip Hurst (49) and Harry Sacks (47), who together founded the Center for Art and Urbanism ten years ago. The Berlin artists have worked together for many years with the Indonesian artist group Ruangrupa, which organizes the document as a team.

Ruangrupa asked the groups invited to Documenta to ask themselves what they have the most. The answer from Berlin: “We have one roof too much!” The rooftop of the center in a former warehouse of the cargo terminal on Siemens Street in Moabit was to make way for a planned expansion. For a year and a half, the concept was developed first, and then the “citizenship” building was developed. So far, 300 to 400 people have worked on the project. From about 220,000 euros for the project, 180,000 euros comes from the document’s budget.

The artist trio Philip Hurst (LR), Harry Sacks, and Matthias Einhoff saddled the attached bikes aboard the Citizenship. dpa / summer

Citizenship is designed to be sustainable in the sense of a document. Solar collectors feed the electric motor, and the technology was installed by Roland Gaber of the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology in Kassel with three electricians from Volkswagen.

A raft-like boat is also dependent on mechanics. Eight old bikes fixed to the wooden deck and driven with a bolt. The demand for extremely strong support is great. “We’re fully booked for the first three weeks,” Einhoff says. His eyes are fixed on the speedometer of the application. The bikes managed to hit 1.6 km/h during testing.

Quadruple adjusts the raft in motion

There is also support from the outside: rowing clubs along the road want to withdraw the construction, which is built in the shape of a trimeran. During a test drive, the towing device was tested with a quad boat from the Berlin Rowing Club.

Even a combination of electric motors and bicycles plus rowers may not be enough in places on the road where there is a lot of current. Einhoff calculates: “At ten kilometers per hour against the current, things narrow.” The word “Weser” is pronounced with due respect to “citizenship”. According to the route plan, 15-20 kilometers should be covered per day.

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Arc dull causes problems. During a test drive, the electric motor rips itself off the anchor. These maneuvering aids can be especially important in narrow river sections or narrow canals. The 18-ton “national” is rather slow. With a length of 16 meters, the construction is still in the sports boat sector, the width of six and a half meters is the “lock size”. Improvisation is not for federal waterways, highways under inland waterways.

The ship “Citizenship” of the “Waziqa” project was removed from the port with the help of the Tegelort rowing club. dpa / summer

For the first ten days of the trip, Julia Blauert was at the helm as captain. The 38-year-old brings relevant experience to the water art project. In 2014, as Artistic Director, she spent seven months sailing “Kojo” from Frankfurt through the Main and the Danube to the Black Sea. At stations such as Vienna, Budapest or Belgrade and at automatic stops, the steel boat has become the stage and exhibition space for many cultural projects.

20 groups of artists prepared for cultural encounters in 55 stations

Up to 13 people aboard the “nationality” also rely on help from shore along the way for supplies. The willingness to joint ventures and support seems great on the journey stops. “The mayors of the places we wrote were reacting with enthusiasm,” says Einhoff.

Twenty artist groups prepared for cultural encounters at 55 stations. They join Citizenship and meet interested people and local art groups. “Something new is emerging from our bubble meetings and local bubbles and will reinforce the boat’s commonality,” says Einhoff. It is about music with self-made instruments, made from materials that can be found on the trip.

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The art project flows through its journey. Citizenship will arrive in Kassel in the middle of the document period. There, visitors can then view the results of artistic discussion during excursions through Fulda – and participate in new projects.

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