Meeting Paul Elsner at GEH8 (Gehstraber). I know where to go because Daniel gave me directions from the S train stop. Local knowledge. I go to STORE on Pulsnitzer but unfortunately it’s closed. CC would’ve rung ahead but sans my bag carrier I took a punt. From outside looking in it looks like its change over. There’s a cactus in the window.
I walk around Neustadt, mooching. A couple of bike shops. Back on the S train to try and find but don’t find so walk back to Neustadt across the old cobbled bridge which crosses the River Elbe.
I see a sign that says You Are Not The Target Audience. It’s a Cosmic Coincidence. I’ve been thinking about the phrase ‘target audience’. It’s a poster for an exhibition at Dresden Kunsthaus (http://kunsthausdresden.de/), its 4 Euros entry. I say I’ve got a meeting but I’ll be back later. Walking a new street, I see new things (galleries). There’s a sign on a door in German that may say ‘back in 10 minutes’. At Albertplatz I get the three train to somewhere beginning with W via Liststrabe.
I’ve never been to this place before. How will I know it? I think about it. It’s called GEH8, it must be no. 8. Well done! Max introduces himself. I don’t think about it and forget his name sofort. And I’ve just been reading a Derren Brown book, the bit about remembering names. He introduces me to Paul and I ask Max his name again and shake his hand again…
Paul shows me the newly renovated reception office kitchen bar café area and disabled toilet. All looks fit for purpose. We adjourn to the main space. The building was owned by DB, it’s a former train shed. Paul’s been there about ten years or so, first solo then he sub-let to other artists and now it’s a not-for-profit organisation. He runs the space but has only pulled a nominal, running wage for the last couple of years. We discuss the shared experience of attending meetings with people who are employed and are being paid to be at the meeting whereas the artist maybe losing their wage for the day because they’ve had to take “unpaid leave”. There’s bias built in to the system.
The City of Dresden are applying for City of Culture 2025, the same year as Preston. Before being an artist Paul studied architecture and worked for the city (town planning) for three years so he has some familiarity. We have a good old moan about the system, as if we’ve known each other for years rather than ten minutes. Our mutual concerns cross boundaries but, here’s the rub, at the same time we’re grateful, very, for what we’ve got (whilst it lasts) but just give us the building, none of this ninety nine year shenanigans. If Hawking is right it’s all over in a hundred!
The land surrounding GEH8 studios used to be green but The City of Dresden has bought the land off DB and is building two schools (2000 children) on it. However, as the new owners, they’ve designated GEH8 as cultural land which isn’t the same as ninety nine years but it’s better than the one month rolling contract they were previously on!
Supported by a bursary from a-n The Artist Information Company.
 CC had noticed a banner on the homepage of his computer saying Professor Hawking predicts human extinction in a hundred years.