Call it a social experiment in reciprocated altruism. The Givebox project reheats an old squatter idea: generous spirits can leave their belongings – from ready-to-smoke hookahs to ragged trousers – for others to collect and re-use, turning banged-together shacks in Mitte, Neukölln, Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg into kiosks of kitsch.
“It’s all about give and take – there’s no commercial use allowed,” says Anna-Zoe Schmidt, one of the organisers of the first Giveboxes in the garden of And Dots on Weserstraße. “It’s just about going back to basics and meeting people.”
While reactions seem to be generally positive, some residents have aired their concerns that the boxes will only succeed in attracting more tawdry elements to the neighbourhoods.
But there’s no denying the project’s appeal. Five boxes have been installed in under three weeks, and there are plans for another four before Christmas.
Exact locations and more info at www.givebox.net