Events News Press
20 November, 2023 • Berlin

Black Friday: Not welcome - Berlin artists react to Amazon opening HQ in the city and call on employees to report wrongdoing

PRESS RELEASE / Monday 20 November 2023                                                                  ulysseseurope.eu

Click for the Peng! Ähmazon campaign

On Monday 20 November, a 3m x 5m billboard poster will be installed at the Holzmarkt in Berlin, a stone’s throw from the so-called Amazon Tower, which recently opened in the city.

Clearly visible from the S-Bahn, the poster will carry the sarcastic message “Welcome Amazon”, along with a link to a website with the URL ähmazon.de. When it goes live on Monday, the link and QR code will take you to the Peng! Kollectiv, with the invitation to provide information about any problems you have had, as an employee, or as a customer. This will be collated for passing onto the press at a later date.

The link will also include the opportunity sign a petition on campaign group Campact’s petition platform, WeAct. Thousands of people are already calling on the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action to stop the exploitation of Amazon parcel delivery workers and a global day of action by Amazon workers has been called to coincide with Black Friday on 24 November.

“Good neighbours thrive on shared values,” says Finja Fröhlich, Peng’s spokeswoman about the campaign, “and Amazon is not exactly known for being committed to our society and happy to pay taxes. And if there are problems with our neighbours, we ring the doorbell with a cake in our hand to help. That’s why there is now leaks.aehmazon.de, where employees can report grievances.”

According to the performance artist, incoming tips are being reviewed and passed onto journalists. They argue that the list of problems and that Amazon exploits, pollutes the climate, pays hardly any taxes, empties the shop windows in our city centres and builds a system of dependency and monopoly.

But regulation is now within reach: The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action has announced that it will amend the Postal Act, and a draft bill from the Federal Cabinet is expected to be available in the coming days. A key demand for Peng! Kollectiv is for the government to ban subcontractors in delivery services, following the example of the meat industry. In addition, works council work must no longer be made more difficult by the group splitting up its locations into individual companies.

They say that every member of the supply chain should be paid – including the neighbours who accept packages, and warehouses, who answer the door early and late to replenish stock. They demand compensation for all of those that work for Amazon for free every day!

The campaign is part of a cooperation between Rimini Protokoll, Peng! Kollectiv! and the Volksbühne at Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. On Thursday 23 November, the day before the Amazon worker Global Day of Action, Rimini Protokoll will premiere la danse d’amazon, which sees them transform one of the biggest corporations in the world transformed into a circus at the Cabuwazi Big Top in Marzahn. The collaborative project is part of ULYSSES European Odyssey, which involves 18 cities across Europe responding to James Joyce’s Ulysses. As well as funding through Creative Europe, Berlin’s Amazon project is also supported by, amongst others, the Schöpflin Foundation, the Guerrilla Foundation, and Campact.

For more information about the action on Monday, please contact Jean Peters at Peng! Kollectiv on +49 151 59168124, or [email protected].

For more information about Rimini Protokoll’s Amazon Circus and ULYSSES European Odyssey, contact Ben McKnight: [email protected].

Notes to editors

About ULYSSES European Odyssey

ULYSSES European Odyssey is a three-year, transnational and multi-disciplinary programme inspired by James Joyce’s landmark novel, which runs until June 2024. It includes public events, interventions and symposia in 18 cities in 16 countries: Athens, Berlin, Budapest, Cluj, Copenhagen, Derry-Donegal, Dublin, Eleusis, Istanbul, Leeuwarden, Lisbon, Lugo, Marseille, Oulu, Paris, Trieste, Vilnius and Zurich.

Highlighting the contemporary relevance of Joyce’s work, partners in each city are taking one episode of Ulysses to explore contemporary issues facing Europe, including citizenship and democracy; migration; youth; Europe’s ageing population; social media; food production and sustainability; education; religion and social co-existence; gender freedom; the environment; mental health; and neighbourhoods and community.

Cross-sector symposia in each city will result in chARTer 309, a new democratic exploration of the relationship between arts and society, to be published in 2024. 30 artist exchange residencies are also taking place, and 18 writers from different literary genres and each city have been commissioned to contribute to EUROPE-ULYSSES (working title), a new book also to be published next year.

ULYSSES European Odyssey was conceived and originated by Lead Artistic Partner ARTS OVER BORDERS (Ireland’s acclaimed presenting body for cross-border arts festivals). They have developed the project with Lead Partner Netherlands-based Brave New World Producties (established after Leeuwarden-Friesland European Capital of Culture 2018 with the aim of investing in young artists through international collaborations in non-traditional settings), working with partners in each of the 18 cities. ULYSSES European Odyssey is funded through an award from the European Commission’s Creative Europe Fund.

For further information, please visit the ULYSSES European Odyssey website, or email [email protected] [if email is missing please refresh the page].

ULYSSES European Partners: 

Arena Ensemble (PT)
Blaagaard Teater (DK)
Babes-Bolyai University, Faculty of Theatre and Film (RO)
Brave New World Producties (NL)
Budapest Brand nZrt (HU)
Commune di Trieste (IT)
Create.Act.Enjoy (RO)
Critical+Xwhy Agency (LT)
Fundación Uxío Novoneyra (ES)
gethan&myles and Collectif ildi ! eldi (FR)
Lumo Light Festival (FI)
Museo Joyce Trieste (IT)
Museum of Literature Ireland, MoLI (IE)
Noorderlicht (NL)
Rimini Protokoll (DE)
Teatrul National Lucian Blaga din Cluj-Napoca (RO)
Vilnius City Museum (LT)
Yalan Dünya Films Ltd. (TR)

Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland

Provinsje Fryslân