OHA Osthang was a cultural collective formed following the „Darmstädter Architektur Sommer“, a summer school initiated by the international Musikinstitut Darmstadt and h_da, realized with Raumlabor Berlin, Collectif Etc., Atelier Bow Wow and more. Multiple wooden structures built during the festival formed a new interpretation of a town square on a formerly abandoned property next to the prominent Mathildenhöhe, an Art Nouveau center. After the summer school had ended, the OHA Osthang collective was formed. We took the responsibility of transforming it from a festival ground into a venue for cultural and social events (1).
Through the power of community, the formerly abandoned place was activated and turned into a young, experimental meeting place practicing the ideals of the Art Nouveau movement in a modern context. In a grassroots democracy collective, we took care of the place and the structures, built new objects and furniture and implemented a cultural program over the summers. My role in the collective was to overlook and coordinate the cultural calendar, organize the bar, design print and online media and coordinate with city officials. Part of my role (2) was also to make sure the cultural program was balanced and offered a broad spectrum of events around the topics of art, design, music, film, architecture and more for a broad audience. Our ideal event was something, that brought people from different social bubbles together to support an exchange in thought and promote respect and understanding for each other. Unfortunately, the OHA Osthang project was terminated because the Mathildenhöhe is in need of a visitor center as part of their application to become a UNESCO world heritage site.
(1) In an effort to build a community that identifies with the place we found it to be imperative to include the community into the process. The group was open for anyone to join and we focused on giving a platform for young artists and other local groups.
(2) During this intensive time volunteering for the community I learned how to work in a multidisciplinary team, how to coordinate volunteers and how to get the local community engaged in the process.
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