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Disco Parallax

I counted.

Twenty-eight seconds green
Two seconds yellow
Thirty-seven seconds red
One second yellow
And again
Twenty-eight seconds green

The traffic light turned one hundred this summer, on August 5. I learn this from the “Innovation” section of the Siemens website. Apparently, the first electric traffic light was put in operation in Cleveland, Ohio. Its control signals were operated by a police officer who sat in a little shack at the intersection and rang a bell each time the colors changed. The company installed its first traffic light in Berlin ten years later, in 1924, on Potsdamer Platz.

But at this moment I am staring at the traffic light at the intersection of Ohlauer Strasse and Reichenberger Strasse in Kreuzberg. I have been part of a blockade on this section of Ohlauer Strasse for a couple of hours. Now darkness slowly sets in. The blockade started a few days ago, when a former school that had been occupied by 250 refugee activists was evicted—with the help of 1700 armed police officers in riot gear. A group of forty activists refused to leave the building on Ohlauer Strasse and withdrew to the rooftop, threatening to jump if the police attempted to evict them by force.

Read the full article here.