Berlin. Bureau for Working on Unsolvable Problems.

28 Apr

I had the honour of being invited to speak on Everyday Consumer Culture in Schools: Meal Systems a few days ago. The dialogue forum took place at The Bureau for Working on Unsolvable Problems, which opened in December 2011 in the Kreuzberg neighbourhood, just around the corner from the Prinzessinnengärten (Princesses Gardens), an urban agriculture setup. The Bureau is part of something I will translate as The Thinkery (in German: Die Denkerei), as in a place for thinking professionals to produce their thinking (you know, bakers produce their baked goods in a bakery, brewers produce their brews in a brewery).

Bazon Brock, emeritus Professor of Aesthetics and Cultural Education at the Bergische University in Wuppertal, Germany, together with a profundity of professors, i.a. Peter Sloterdijk, are collectively responsible. Lest you think it’s a dry-‘ol-stick-place of some dusty greybeards, here’s Brock’s idea: The Thinkery/Bureau is a place for public discussion of complex problems (e.g. the Euro-crisis, final disposal of nuclear waste, pretty much all of sustainability’s Big Questions) through dialogue with politics, business and civil society. Brock, somewhere described as the enfant terrible of the German art scene, puts forward that what people will have in common in the future is not some illusion of a cultural identity but rather the confrontation with unsolvable problems. So if you ever despair at the problems in this world, now you know where to go.

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