For an entire year there was just one topic: the exhibition. But at the same time I discovered: I never observed myself as intensely as I did during that year. I don’t know what changed more: I myself or 2-3 Streets. Rainer Wanzelius

78 people move into apartments in three cities in the Ruhr region, write a book together and become part of the 2-3 Streets exhibition for a year. Those are the facts. Everything else was an incalculable experiment: How does this work out in concrete terms in everyday life? What is possible in reality? How do neighbours and residents in the district react? Are the residents on-site interested in the new, creative residents? What does change mean nowadays? Will anyone join in the writing? Will visitors come from the “better” parts of town and will the press be visable on these streets?

2-3 Streets is a year-long adventure for all the parties involved. As is the case with Jochen Gerz’s public artworks, a great number of people are involved. This concerns creativity that not only affects our awareness of life, our leisure and development as individuals, but also aims to promote public cooperation and interaction with one other. The individual discovers his intrinsic role as a producer and author. Social creativity is contagious.

A man sits on the steps in front of the church with his chess board and waits for opponents, a group heads off on a journey to Tunis, which for just a couple of hours is located on the 17th floor over the roofs of the Ruhr, a street bell calls to eat (“Already eaten today?”), a sitting room becomes a stage … strangers enter into conversation, Green and Yellow Pages come into being in Mülheim an der Ruhr and Dortmund, in Duisburg a Creative Directory grows. Many things continue in 2011. The giver of time makes a gift of time. The World Library remains open. People develop ideas. Ideas are followed by deeds. At times “invisible” in the apartments, at times affecting the district but nonetheless quiet and without any great spectacle.

Can creativity renew the streets? In Duisburg and Dortmund this commitment is being rewarded: the landlords have come to realise that creativity benefits their location. These tenants are being rewarded with a 30 % rent rebate. The development in Dortmund is especially interesting. New and old tenants are developing a model to jointly profit from this. They call this social enterprise. They want to continue to inject life into the streets in 2011 – and make a living from this.

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