Hello and bienvenue to my 6th newsletter!
since October: Marseille
The year is coming to an end and the days have become short. I’m especially aware of this since I spend most of the day outdoors. Long underwear and a hot water bottle get me through the day. The headlamp is my best friend and there is soup and tea.
Almost nine months ago I started this new way of life, this has done a lot. 2021 I was able to realize some exciting projects, at some point one job followed the next.
In the beginning, I still wanted to prove to myself (and others) that this lifestyle was a good idea – financially and personally. In the meantime, however, I feel the need to look at the last few months with a little distance to understand what was good and what I would like to do differently in the future. To do this, from December I’m consciously taking time to process experiences and encounters, to document projects and plan new ones, to revisit old work.
Kilometre reading (5. December) : 239 747 km
since the beginning (18. March): 8 768 km
since last newsletter (22. October): 158 km
Most listened music last month:
A windmill – totem for ‘Le Talus
A year ago (during the second lockdown) I built my first prototype of a simple wind generator. I was able to test it in Paris (Newsletter 3), before it fell victim to a thunderstorm.
Based on this initial experience, I proposed the construction of a wind turbine in Marseille – as always in the format of a chantier participatif (= collaborative construction). The place – an open area, connected to the community garden ‘Le Talus’ in Marseille. I not only worked there, but also ‘parked’ and lived there for a month.
The wind turbine consists of a wooden mast, a solid metal axle with simple braking mechanism for strong wind, a hoverboard wheel and three hand-carved rotor blades.
It is important to be accurate to the millimeter, the three rotor blades must be exactly identical in shape and weight. We accomplished this challenge within 4 days. The wind turbine is mounted at a height of 9 meters, where it charges a car battery with up to 200W. The stored energy is used for outdoor lighting and a charging station.
Pizza oven – made entirely of clay
Following the construction of the wind turbine, we started the construction of a pizza oven together with the workshop supervisors Julia and Simon, as well as with many volunteers. As a basis for this, I used the dimensions of the oven built in Paris, with the difference that this time no bricks were used. For this we made more than 500 small clay bricks. We worked exclusively with the earth on site. The clay bricks remain visible to the inside for an interesting visual effect. For the construction of the metal base and the roof we worked only with waste materials.
Bicycle trailer WOW – ConstructLab
After one month of residency in Marseille I didn’t want to leave yet. So it came in handy that my friend Alex called and asked if I could stay a little longer to work on a bicycle trailer together with the collective ContructLab. For this, ConstructLab was hosted for a month at the collaboratively managed space ‘La Déviation’ (= ‘The Detour’), in l’Estaque, Marseile’s 16th arrondissement. La Deviation offers spaces for multidisciplinary artistic works, residencies for artists, and functions according to an open door policy. Here, diverse people live together in collectively shared spaces plus privately used caravans.
So I moved in mid-October, and for two weeks I helped to build a polyvalent bicycle trailer with electric motor – the WOW (workshop on wheels). The group, consisting of Matilde, Adeline, Sophie, Patrick and Alex, had already worked on a first prototype during the summer and were now improving it based on the experience of a rather long bike trip.
I was happy to work on the team for a short time, learning more about DIY batteries and electric bike motors. For this part of the work, we were supported by Medi, who runs a workshop in Marseille for electrical upgrading of bicycles.
La Déviation – Collective space in L’Estaque
In order to sustainably secure the site and guarantee its collective use for the future, ‘La Déviation’ was purchased in the name of the owners’ association ‘Le Parpaing Libre’ (= engl. The Free Concrete Brick). This legal structure aims to prevent future sale of the property and is based on the model of the German ‘Mietshäuser Syndikat’ (= owners’ syndicate). The owners’ syndicate unites individuals who seek to purchase participatory, collective spaces in order to remove them from the system of private ownership and capitalist real estate speculation.
I find this model very interesting; the purchase of an open space (as opposed to temporary interim use) allows for a completely different approach to the community and neighborhood. It allows for long-term engagement while remaining independent of outside interests. The association that manages the finances reinvests all income generated, thus maintaining and developing the place. Click here to read more (french).
Here I stay now until Christmas – maybe longer. In December, I’m helping to finish a metal winter garden, for which I welded the balcony and the roof.
I believe that it is important to take time to get bored. One project after the other, always on the go, there is little time for new ideas and fascination. This is especially important for me, because the motivation to learn and try ‘new’ things drives me.
In this sense I hope for a boring and uneventful time, but keep you up to date if something happens.
Until next time,
Ways to support me
1. Share this newsletter with other people: http://eepurl.com/dq9o2D
2. You can support me financially so that I can afford repairs and travel expenses a little longer. On Tipee you can see what I can offer or trade you in return: https://de.tipeee.com/pleasure-in-scarcity/