DIY Hack The Panke

The research group DIY Hack the Panke, founded in January 2018, consists of a group of artists and scientists promoting Citizen Science projects along the Panke River in north and central Berlin.

In the next few years the upper part of the Panke, in Berlin-Buch, will be re-wilded according to new EU standards, while the river's two points of entry into the Spree, currently underground, will be uncovered. DIY Hack the Panke is interested in these fluctuating areas and the effects of re-wilding, but our main area of focus is the Panke in Wedding and southern Pankow. This part of the river, known only a century ago as the 'Stinkpanke' because of pollution from nearby factories and tanneries, is now a popular urban green space sought after by local residents.

Through interdisciplinary practice, the group aims to explore the Panke River for living organisms and critically examine its complex history of human use. Members of DIY Hack the Panke plan public workshops on topics such as river flora, fauna and microbiology; plastic waste and other pollutants; and the impact of history, culture and technology on the present-day Panke. In addition to workshops, the public is also invited to take part in a walks and talks as well as public labs to rediscover their urban environment, as well as learn and take part in Citizen Science.

Beyond public participation in the research and connected events, results will eventually be returned to the public in the form of an online blog or website. A final publication in book form is also planned.

Upcoming topics of interest:

  • Microplastics in the Panke
  • What lives in the Panke: microflora and fauna and larger creatures
  • Watery ecologies, community coalescence and experiments with algae
  • Panke mud ecologies and Winogradsky columns
  • Traces of the industrial Panke in soil an water
  • A cultural and natural history of the Panke

Members of DIY Hack the Panke include:

Dr. Kat Austen (artist and chemist)

Mindaugas Gapševicius (artist)

Sarah Hermanutz (artist)

Dr. Daniel Lammel (microbiologist, FU Berlin)

Christian de Lutz (curator and artist, ALB)

Joana MacLean (microbiologist, GFZ, Potsdam)

Dr. India Mansour (biologist, FU Berlin)

Dr. Eliot Morrison (biochemist, FU Berlin and illustrator)

Fara Peluso (designer and artist)

Nenad Popov (media and sound artist)

Regine Rapp (art theorist and curator, ALB)


7/8 July, 2018

Workshop: (Un)Real Ecologies - Microplastics (with Kat Austen & Nana MacLean)

Photos courtesy Kat Austen

Plastic has pervaded water, soil and our bodies. It is the new icon of our time. During the (Un)Real Ecologies: Microplastics workshop we will explore the presence of microplastics in the Panke River, near Art Laboratory Berlin. How do organisms and microorganisms exist with and construct with these human-made materials? We will interrogate the water samples, to discover a new understanding of the reality of the Panke's ecosystem, with plastic present and wholly a part of it - a microcosm that allows us to ask: "what is nature?"
(More information)



Supporters of individual activities include:
Shared Habitats Project, organised by Institutio Media and funded by Nordic Culture Point; BioSignals, in cooperation with Pixelache, is supported by Nordisk Kultur Kontakt Culture and Art programme of the Nordic Council of Ministers
Please see individual project pages for more information.

Art Laboratory Berlin is grateful for the permanent support of: