Kat Austen is one of the founding members of the DIY Hack the Panke research group, founded in January 2018.
This group of artists and scientists are exploring the River Panke in Berlin using transdisciplinary methods, in collaboration with residents of the Wedding area and students at the Gustav-Freytag-Schule, Wedding.
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.
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.
For more information visit DIY Hack the Panke at Art Laboratory Berlin.