A real alternative? The unique project in the middle of Bavaria as an example for another refugee politics, based on: Everybody is a human being. In 2012 people developed a hotel with an integrated asylum seeker in the centre of Augsburg, where each kind of travelers live and work together. It is my wish to connect other people with the Grandhotel Cosmopolis and to share my experiences through my photo book.
For three years I have photographed in the Grandhotel Cosmopolis - I have taken pictures of the daily routine, attitude to life and developments. With the pictures and interviews I would like to give you and everybody else the opportunity to get to know the project and to see, what‘s possible. In one hand the photo book should inspires and motivates, but on the other hand it could be a way to reflect through my perspective.
What is the Grandhotel Cosmopolis? How do we want to live? is a central question in the house and concentrates on recognizing everybody as a human being and gives room to learn how we, as individuals, can live and work together. The former home for elderly from the deaconry of Augsburg in the city centre got a new identy in 2012. One part of the house is now an accommodation for 50-60 asylum seekers. Here in the Grandhotel Cosmopolis they experience belonging, participation and a cultural life. Because in priority, it is a hotel and a house of artists with a café and a restaurant. With their personal design of the hotel rooms created many different artists an individual place for travellers. With the Grandhotel, they couldn‘t chance the conditions, but it can offer a better quality of life and a more pleasant way of living. The concept of the Grandhotel Cosmopolis demands to see the world as a common cause, to reduce barriers in our minds as well as in practical realization. All is connected. It is an open space and the people there have a vision, which they achieve.
Since February 2013 I have come into the Grandhotel many times, always several days or weeks I observed and got part of the hotel. Hoteliers and inhabitants, neighbors and experts told me their stories and opinions. They gave me access to their lives with my camera. I like to pass the pictures, experiences and statements through the book. It transfers my perspective like an essay with portraits. The book will be published bilingual in German and English. It comes as a hardcover with about 150 pages and has a size of 18x22cm (vertical).
What is the project goal and who is the project for?
How do we want to live? To be honest, I rarely asked me that question - before I came into the Grandhotel. I lived my life without thinking about, if I influence other people or even harm them - unconsciously and automatically.
Why do we react with distance to strangers or have negative thoughts, also develop fear sometimes?
My goal is to overcome the distance between me and other people, to get close and understand them, to tell our stories.
For many, the Grandhotel can be an inspiration - what happens, if we know the risk, but still live our lives and implement our goals? It is about being brave and just doing it.
With the photo book I want to achieve, that we get aware of our environment and what happens in our surroundings. Everybody carries responsibility, which we should recognize.
For me, the Grandhotel is a place to learn, as for many others there. I would be very happy, if you want to be part of that book project as well and to help me making the photo book real. With that I want to create another access to the Grandhotel Cosmopolis.
Why would you support this project?
Debates abound refugees experiences much publicity in the last years, but often we forget that it is about human beings. We all are humans, searching for community and a peaceful life.
If we support one another, we can succeed with great ideas and projects.
50% of profit, which comes from that book project, goes to the Grandhotel Cosmopolis with your help.
If you support the photo book, you help...
...yourself, to get to know the project with my few or to reflect. ...to make it possible, that many other people can have a book too. ...the Grandhotel, to spread the idea. ...can directly support the project itself ...help me, that my heart project becomes real
So I ask you for your help, so that we all can hold the photo book in our hands, till the festival of peace in Augsburg starts at the end of July.
How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded?
With 6500€ I can print a circulation of 300-500 photo books, the graphic designer gets paid and it‘s possible to send the regards to you (named after the hotel rooms). In this moment Astarte Posch is creating the photo book. The paying of her work and the print costs - to make the book real, are the main parts of the financing.
After reaching the finance goal, it allows me to give 50% of the profit to the Grandhotel Cosmopolis itself and to realize a higher circulation of photo book.
At the deadline of the crowd funding, we start printing the photo book, so that we all are able to hold it in our hands when the festival of peace starts at the end of July.
Maybe there even will be an exhibition of this work, together with the premiere of the photo book, during the festival of peace in the Grandhotel Cosmopolis. But that‘s something I cannot promise to 100%. In any case we will celebrate! That‘s for sure. Be there! Everybody is welcome to join!
Who are the people behind the project?
Ramona Gastl, Photo- and Filmjournalist. Like the Grandhotel Cosmopolis, I was born in Augsburg (1991). Since 2012 I have studied Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at Hochschule Hannover, so the Project Grandhotel Cosmopolis has been with me for my second semester. Some of my pictures about the Grandhotel were published in DIE ZEIT, together with an article of Julius Schophoff, in 2014. Parallel to this long-term project, I‘m regularly photographing or filming free projects. Among others they have been published online at Arte Future, have won the Medienpreis All Inklusiv of SoVD Niedersachsen, or currently are shown at the Lumix Festival for Young Photojournalism in Hannover.