Neve Shaanan pedestrian street – the Central Bus Station area’s main commercial street, comes to a peak in a deserted and shut down entrance ramp, surrounded with a 2 meter double fence. This meeting point, between the street and the CBS, could have been a significant street corner, and if it were Roman times, there may have been an obelisk to mark it. This was chosen as one of the main intervention spots for the Next Station.
Since the gate closed in the 90’s, the ramp was neglected, occupied by trash, criminal activities and occasional fires. In order to deal with the “situation”, a years-long discussion between the municipality and the CBS management, arguing if it’s a public or private area, concluded with the decision to fence this area and close it to the public.
This grey area, In the street but declared part of the privately owned station, posed a great opportunity to use the magic of creative placemaking in order to grow a space that is more inclusive for the community, a place to meet, interact and have meaningful positive experiences. The ramp, more than anything, symbolizes the dark and complex connections between the CBS, and the neighborhood around it.
(2 Pictures from 2012)
During the exhibition, we hosted 4 events of live music shows produced by the sweetest of local boys, Daniel Szus and Eyal Feder from TCM Festival. Music is a peculiar form of expression. On the one hand it is an elite art form, which can express both an artist’s feelings and passions, as well as voice complex ideological or political issues. On the other, the basic nature of the music and rhythm has a luring power, which brings people and communities together on a more basic level. The bus station area is an interesting annex of musical activity. It is home to the bustling independent music scene of Tel Aviv – indie, electronic, and experimental musicians live and create music here. It is also, as home to the city’s vast array of migrant communities, an intercultural center of many different sounds and rhythms, usually oblivious to the Israeli public.
Out of those reasons we choose to make the ramp home to “Grassroots”, a line of live music shows targeted at exposing and respecting local, independent and grassroots musicians from the different corners of the society in Israel. Together with TCM Festival, a group working to promote the independent music activity in the area, every other Friday the ramp comes alive with live shows by musicians from the neighborhood and other peripheries in a celebration of sound, rhythm and interaction. This creates a double effect – one the one hand it creates a vibrant place of togetherness for the neighborhood, where people can meet, enjoy the music, and be together. On the other, it attracts to the area people who don’t usually visit it from all over the, and starts to break their negative association with it. They enjoy the music, cruise through the shops of Neve Shaanan, eat and drink at local restaurants and mingle with the local population.
Surely this place has changed in the minds of some, neighbours or outsiders. who now have a memory of a live rap show or dancing to electronic music in the street.