geheimagentur, Free Port Baakenhöft, 2017, Hamburg
The fate of the port of Hamburg is controlled by the Hamburg Port Authority (HPA). HPA has the power to make decisions about the port without democratic control from the citizens of Hamburg. While developments such as the cruise ship boom and the implementation of smart port logistics have a direct impact on the city and the daily lives of its inhabitants, HPA actively prevents civic engagement in the port.
To claim the right to the port for the people of Hamburg, geheimagentur founded Hamburg Port Hydrarchy, which gave itself the same mandate as HPA: to analyse and develop the potential of Hamburg port.
For this purpose, HPH met offshore artists in New York and micro sea traders in the port of Lagos. They participated in the protests against cruise ships in Venice and did research in the South China Sea. They presented their research in the performance Ports (2016), which took place on the MS Stubnitz, a former GDR shipping vessel turned culture centre docked in Hamburg. Here, geheimagentur also presented their workshop programme Access Points (2017) during the festival Theater der Welt, which worked towards developing the Heterotopian Zone Free Port Baakenhöft together with international guests. Free Port Baakenhöft was an alternative port, complete with jetty, port museum, African terminal, regatta and ship welcoming station. Visitors were invited to explore the potentials of an alternative port, make announcements at the ship welcoming station, build and test floating installations for the Battle of Baakenhöft and visit an archive of artistic and activist interventions in Hamburg port. The Baakenhöft area, also once referred to as the Afrikaterminal, is one of the darkest places in Hamburg’s colonial history: from here, troops were shipped to the colony of German South West Africa to participate in the Herero and Nama genocide. At his location, the African Terminal set out to collaborate with refugees from West Africa in building a cooperative of micro sea traders, collecting used household items and shipping them to West Africa to be traded.
Co-Researchers: Urs Blaser, Marcus Rediker, Ranjit Kandalgaonkar, Constance Hockaday, Anarche Berlin, Keller Easterling, Marco Baravalle, Moritz Frischkorn, Katharina Pelosi, members of the African Terminal: Abou, Daniel, Bakz, Essa, etcetera, Schaluppe Hamburg, Archipel Hamburg, etcetera.