Ilja Clemens Melzer / For me the truth was never… (Berlin)
For Me The Truth Was Never… (2019-2021) by poet and theater critic Ilja Clemens Melzer
(sound piece, press orange SoundCloud arrow below to play)
BIO: Ilja Clemens Melzer (b. 1989 Elmshorn, Germany) is a Berlin-based writer and union activist. In 2010 he moved to Berlin to study German literature and theatre, and has since worked as a historical tour guide and theatre critic. Melzer is part of the poetry collective G13 and initiated the collective blog “Unruhe im Oberrang” to cover performances at the more than one hundred free theatres in Berlin—that were often not covered by media at all. As a historical tourist guide, Melzer has led groups into hidden buildings and squares.
Several times he was criticized by his boss for not following the program and talking too much about the history of exploitation, segregation, deportation, and genocide that has maintained its imprint in the city.
Observing Berlin’s social contradictions—as well as participating in the strong social movements responding to these contradictions—has developed him from a writer obsessed with artistic experiment, into an activist who fights for a city that belongs to its inhabitants.
After becoming a father in 2015, income worries led Melzer to join and bolster Berlin’s Free Workers Union (FAU) that has become prominent for defending the rights of precarious workers.
As the former FAU press secretary and a union consultant, Melzer has advocated on behalf of workers in the food industry, logistics, construction—as well as the cultural industries that contribute to twenty-five percent of Berlin’s economy. In 2020 Melzer began the independent media channel SystemRelevant TV to engage in dialogue with workers of different professions. He believes in bringing together union struggle, progressive media, and artistic experiment; and that Equal living and working conditions are the best foundation for artistic expression.