KISD _TH Köln | Design Research Project BA | Summer 2022

Chile Despertó – Spaces of Protest
Exhibition & Protest Lab at Ebertplatz, Cologne

What can civil society do when it finds itself caught up in an economic experiment? Benjamin Bräuer and Kjell Wistoff focus on the political protests in Chile in 2019/2020 and explore the digital and urban practices of collective resistance. Their protest lab at Ebertplatz was open from June 16 to 25, 2022.

“Chile Despertó” (“Chile has woken up") is one of the central protest cries directed against the neoliberal policies of the last 30 years. Behind the flare-up of protests in 2019 is more than just a fare increase: Upon closer examination, it becomes clear that the people’s anger is directed against the constitution stemming from the Pinochet dictatorship, which brought about the country’s social ills.

The exhibition of the same name at Ebertplatz is dedicated to the different forms of action of this protest and deals with communication, as well as physical action and the transformation of the street into a performative space. With the help of open source research and open interviews, as well as using audiovisual methods of design research, the protest strategies and formats of the “Primera Línea” are traced – those activists who have made it their task to protect the demonstrations and practice civil disobedience against police interventions. To what extent do their hybrid spaces of protest create new possibilities for the emergence of public spheres? What role do the online circulating images of their protest choreographies in street space play here?

In the protest lab curated by Justus Schomann at Ebertplatz, the transformation of public space into a political commons is visualized. The project works with investigative practices, whereby the material to be evaluated is first produced by bringing together anonymous video data and eyewitness accounts, and then translated into diagrams and experimental maps. Here, the question arises as to what other, counter-hegemonic perspectives can be gained through drawing analyses of open-source material.

Works by Benjamin Bräuer and Kjell Wistoff
Photographs by Maximilian Beck and Benjamin Bräuer
Curated by Justus Schomann with the support of Raphael Klug
Organized by Prof. Carolin Höfler with Mario Frank and Julian Hoffmann

Location: Gemeinde Köln, Ebertplatzpassage, Shop 7, 50668 Cologne
Vernissage: June 16, 2022, 6 p.m.
Opening hours: June 17 – June 25, 2022, daily 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Designers in Presence: Wed, June 22, 2022, 6 p.m.

An event of the “Open Universities” of the TH Köln and the University of Cologne, funded by the RheinEnergie Stiftung within the context of the focus topic “Society and Digital Transformation”.

Pictures: Maximilian Beck, Benjamin Bräuer, Kjell Wistoff and Mario Frank.

Video: Benjamin Bräuer and Kjell Wistoff