In January 2014, the Esso houses were demolished in Hamburg. The Esso Houses were a building complex in the Sankt-Pauli district between Spielbudenplatz, Taubenstraße and Kastanienallee. The 1960s prefabricated building comprised two eight-storey apartment buildings with 110 flats, a two-storey commercial block with a hotel, retail shops, clubs, underground garages and the Esso petrol station Reeperbahn. Like many others, an initiative fought for a long time to preserve the housing complex. The Hamburg artist and performer Sylvi Kretzschmar interviewed passers-by, former residents and activists of the Esso-Häuser initiative. She staged the resulting text material with the megaphone choir consisting of ten women. The piece/performance gave a voice to those who were displaced by the demolition and addresses public speaking as a form of political speech and protest. Kretzschmar works between choreography, (electronic) music and political activism. The MEGAFONCHOR is part of her artistic-scientific research as a fellow of the research training group »Assembly and Participation«.
For several years now, the art actions in the form of a choir with megaphones have repeatedly formed a temporary, poetic collective subject that forcefully amplifies political and choreographic movements.
For a long time, people fought for the preservation of the block in the form of demonstrations and sometimes prominent actions. Since its eviction and demolition in 2014, the area has been lying fallow (as of September 2021).