How would comixuri.ro fare if it added another floor with each new post? Hopefully not like one of those ‘unborn'(Kai Caemmerer) cities in China that where meant to host of all the migrant workers that failed to appear, or end up like those cherished blogs that one has completely forsaken (‘I was into that but not anymore’) finally acquiescing its ruined status as one yet another victim of social network centralization. No, we will not resort to some sort of rent-a-foreigner gig even if we will have to pay our users a pay-per-view minimum wage. Das Hochhaus teaches us otherwise.
Das Hochaus (The High-Rise) is a new webcomic, born out of infinite comic book serialization and the extraordinary stashing and stacking of architecture/living unit architectural bubbles, each relating to the floor underneath or above, each plagued by healthy love-hate doses of alienation, dry/black humor, social neglect, torpor, surveillance paranoia or couch patato syndrome. Instead of settling for the intimate prying view into the double life of a rich spoiled superhero (Batman) or drab Golden Age journalist (Superman), Das Hochhaus dwells into the dark and light corners of Germany’s urban (no superpowers) precariat, city-dwelling hetero & LGBT Berlin humanimal Zoo, and transforms a whole 102 floor block into a sprawling comic strip, cutting shamelessly into the S&M dorms, current politics, littered rooms, motley couple life, epidemic loneliness, prosumers, antifa friends, cantankerous pensioners, isolated Jehova’s Wittness full of Pizza Margherita kitchens, rampant veganism, playstation dramas in the space where we are all going to spend most of our life considering that soon 70% of human population will be metropolitan. Under the guise of a celebrated cartoonist, Katharina Greve packs the steady eye & hand of a drafts-woman architect that runs gamut of late capitalist fables without ever sacrificing gory details or critical edge, such as the mythic couple debating Europe Brexit debacle over Bundesliga vs Champions League. Das Hochhaus has yet to find an Romanian (or English!) language translation, even if we can somehow all relate to the interior scenes and life spent inside a modern architectural hypercube that’s been dividing and iterating ceaselessly like Serge Brussolo’s Vue en coupe d’une ville malade (1980). The foundations of the 102 episodes/floors have been laid on the 29 of September 2015 and the ceiling has been reached on the 5th of September 2017.
Das Hochhaus manages to push against the traditional deadlock of cover-to-cover comix in order to open up towards basement-to-ceiling contemporary (almost reality TV) modes of dwelling that will expand our insight into the daily circumstances of late capitalist European tenant life in a big European city as well as using architecture to pry open the rules of comic book universe (pace Scott McCloud). Although not following the same disastrous arc as G J Ballard’s 1975 High-Rise novel, Das Hochhaus is equally employed in recounting the labyrinthine implications of inhabiting a vertical beton hive. Although hit hard by rising rents, real estate speculation and air b n b encroachment, Berlin keeps its stand as one of most livable, refugee- welcoming and progressive cities in Europe. I’ll wager anytime that this new webcomic by Katharina Greve will set new standards for depicting a city and their inhabitants in a far more realistic and imaginative way than any city guide, tour or even a one of a kind cinematic experience (via say a ‘Berlin school movie’ which of course I would also recommend).
Berlin artist Katharina Greve 102 floor webcomic was awarded the Max & Moritz prize for the best German language comic book at the 17th International Comic-Salon in Erlangen.
Das Hochhaus was generously been recommended to me by tenant rights fighter and dear friend Julia Schulze