I. »EN GARDE!« We are a political project.
We, the people associated under the name of »Faites votre jeu!«, occupied a former youth centre at Varrentrappstraße n°38 (Frankfurt) in August 2008. With the intent to create a non-commercial and collectively run centre, we protested against the repressive restructuring of urban spaces. In February 2009 we decided to move to Klapperfeldstraße n° 5 (here: »the Klapperfeld«), which had been offered to our initiative by the city officials as an alternative building, due to the enormous pressure we had made and the broad public support of our project. Shortly afterwards, the Klapperfeld had already attracted many people sharing our desire for counter-cultural spaces. Ever since, it has also become a popular draw for people who do not show any recognisable relation to the objectives of our project. If this has happened, it is partly our own fault, because until now we have not sufficiently defined our political self-image. Neither did we make our organisational structures transparent to an external perspective. This text is a result of our debate on this issue.
We are aware of the problem that the realization of »free spaces« and of »self-determination« can only remain incomplete under the conditions of the reigning power relations which penetrate all areas of social life. We are also conscious of the challenges that arise from our decision to intend to develop emancipative culture and politics in a building which was created for and served repression, disciplining and coercion. But still it is our claim to realize a maximum of autonomy on a solidarity basis at Klapperfeld. This claim includes not only a maximum of freedom from capitalist constraints and state power, but especially also a maximum of freedom from the discrimination of ideologies of inequality and their practices.
II. The Klapperfeld is an open space
We are not a closed group but open to everyone who is willing to participate in the construction and shaping of the available space in the way we have outlined it above.
It is for example possible to organise lectures, discussions, exhibitions, readings or film presentations. Non-public events, such as group meetings or workshops, are also envisageable. A long-term use of rooms by art producers however – e. g. as art studio or band practice room – is currently difficult, because all potential rooms are occupied at the moment.
You can submit your proposals to us in various ways: personally (e. g. on one of the bar evenings (Barabend)), via mail, via phone or preferably via e-mail.
As we receive many requests, we ask you to firstly send us a description of your project via mail. We will then answer you as soon as the plenum (see below) has been able to discuss whether your proposal is realisable at Klapperfeld and then we take it from there. Ideally, that should only take a few days, but sometimes it can also take two weeks or more. Our goals are many and we are not a service enterprise.
III. The Klapperfeld is no space of whatever-isms.
If you need just an exiting scenery for your next company outing, you always wanted to open a fancy fashion boutique in a cell, or you’d like to come up with the annual meeting of your fraternity or marksmen guild at Klapperfeld, please do not even write us. The time to discuss requests of projects which anyway make no sense at Klapperfeld is spent at the expense of the realisation of other projects and constrains us in our political debates.
Projects which will be realised here, should show some recognisable relation to our objectives. Therefore, proposals which have a commercial impetus, which perceive the Klapperfeld only as some exotic scenery or which are exclusive to some people (because they are too expensive or may bring some discrimination with them) are excluded right from the beginning. Please, consider also that the rooms are quite small and are therefore inappropriate for events which let expect a massive rush of people. Equally, the building is unfortunately unsuitable to accommodate passing artists or other guests. In general, the building can be used for bar evenings or other events with a party-like character – especially if the benefits are dedicated to some solidarity issue. At the same time, we believe that a place where people were tortured and which only a few years ago still served to deport migrants and refugees can not become a mere party location. In order to enable visitors to engage with the history of the place, the permanent exhibition in the cellar is intended to be open at every public event, even at bar evenings and parties. These kinds of events should never happen in a way which renders such an engagement impossible. It is difficult for us too to define the limits, but we can give you some helpful hints on how to organise such an evening so that it stays “controllable” – e. g. do not sell strong alcohol, plan a relatively early end for your event and impose some limit on the sound volume. Those who would like to organise a bar evening at Klapperfeld or something similar should keep these aspects in mind already while designing their concept. You might be able to imagine what kind of event we do not consider as appropriate for the place.
Besides, nobody gets paid to work here. Please do not expect any “service” from us and do not send any job applications. We generally do not want to create a service situation with “operators” at one side and “users” on the other.
IV. DO IT YOURSELF!
The Klapperfeld IS not, but it gets created every day. The development of this space is the – never completed – result of the multiple activities of those who use it and thus give life to it. The decisions on the various forms of its use are taken on the weekly plenum (Plenum) which is open to everyone who wants to participate. Some people participate regularly in the plenum, others are only sporadic visitors; there is neither a formal membership, nor an informal coercion to attend.
However, we do expect groups which continuously use the Klapperfeld to show up at the plenum in order to assure a constant reciprocal communication. Every person who is creating a project at the Klapperfeld has to come to the previous plenary session, so that s_he can be personally addressed with questions related to technical issues etc.
Where people interact hierarchies are created – also in our plenum. Our organisational structure intends to keep them at a minimum and to reduce them wherever it is possible. This includes to render them transparent and make them vulnerable. There are no “bosses”, not even for special scopes; the responsibilities always rotate. Independent working groups can emerge out of the plenum. Some of them do a continuous work – e. g. the ‘working group history’ (AK Geschichte), which engages with the past of the building – while others are only created temporarily in order to take care of a certain task.
There are also possibilities to get involved at Klapperfeld beyond the plenum and the various working groups. The free shop, where useful things can be brought to and taken from for free, always needs care. Besides, clean-up days and days of renovation happen on a regular basis and are announced on the black board in the ground floor.
Our organisational structure is a dynamic part of our political praxis and will never be fixed within in a statute or the like. Only one thing is sure: We shape our organisation according to our aims and needs, instead of forcing it into an institutionalised corset.
»Faites votre jeu!«, January 2010